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  • Writer's pictureFrancisco Mahfuz

E85. Telling Stories from the Inside Out with Michel Neray

Below is an AI-generated transcript and therefore it may contain errors.

Francisco Mahfuz 0:00

Hi everyone, Francisco here. Just before we get started, I wanted to share something I'm really excited about. I recently launched the story powers bootcamp, a course that teaches you everything you need to know about how to find craft and tell stories that work. But it's not just an online course, because you get personalised feedback from me for all the practical activities in three hours of life coaching to work through any challenges, or focus on specific projects. So it's like if you bought a cookbook, but the chef came along with it. So go to story and click on Course, all the information you need will be there. So please check it out. And if you love the show, and would like to support us, you can go to buy me a forward slash story powers. I drink about five coffees a day, so any support would be much appreciated. All right on with the show.

Welcome to the story powers podcast, the show about the power of stories, the people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco mahfuz. My guest today is Michelle array. Michelle is a professional speaker, consultant and founder of Mo Mondays. He has used his Inside Out storytelling approach helped over 1000 individuals become more effective and influential leaders. He also works with organisations who want to differentiate position and brand themselves more effectively. Michelle's mother survived Auschwitz and his father spent many years with a French Foreign Legion. So they clearly decided their son should also experience some struggle in life. And that's why Michelle had to make it through his school years with the added challenge of having a girl's name. I guess that probably didn't help, ladies and gentlemen, to show an array. Michelle, welcome to the show.

Michel Neray 1:52

Thank you for you know, thank you. That is the best introduction I've ever had. Thank you,

Francisco Mahfuz 1:59

well, credit where credit is due. And I usually try to do what I just did, which is fine. Something I'm using to open with. But the whole thing about you having a girl's name was in your own one of your own biographies.

Michel Neray 2:13

That's true, but no one's ever picked up on it and said, Oh, that's what I'm gonna mention in the bio. I said, so that is clever. Thank you. You see that that shows you've got a storytellers mind? Well,

Francisco Mahfuz 2:25

I appreciate that. And out. There's one. One other thing that I'm not gonna do that everyone else that speaks to you in a podcast seems to do, which is I am not going to name this the power of purposeful storytelling, because they seem to be they seem to be about five or six podcasts out there with you that have that name.

Michel Neray 2:45

Yes, true. That was what actually the name of one of my keynotes. But I've changed it. And I have but I haven't changed it everywhere on my website. So yeah, that's a whole other whole other story. I'm going I went from purposeful storytelling to Inside Out storytelling. So I'm, I'm in the middle of the transition phase. But we could talk about why if you're interested later,

Francisco Mahfuz 3:05

no, I am interest not necessarily in the name change we can get to that. But the one thing I want to get onto straight away because I mentioned in the intro, we are now talked about it. And I rather not leave that hanging is what the hell is inside out storytelling.

Michel Neray 3:20

Oh, okay. What the hell is inside out storyteller?

Francisco Mahfuz 3:23

Oh, no, no, sorry. Let me let me just add one more thing. I asked what the hell is it? Because what often happens is people have have this thing that they refer to on a regular basis. So in your case, maybe it was purposeful storytelling. And I was inside out storytelling. And I do a fair bit of research for this. So I must have listened to four or five different podcast episodes with you. I trolled through your website. And I'm not sure I could actually figure it out from the stuff that you were, maybe the conversations just didn't go there. But I'm like, I still I don't know what Inside Out sorry to have it.

Michel Neray 3:58

Either. That shows how brilliant I am as a marketer in a copywriter? Because it's got you intrigued, or it shows you how inept I am. Because you still don't get it or both,

Francisco Mahfuz 4:10

or both.

Michel Neray 4:12

Or, or both. So I really am still I haven't, I haven't moved over everything. But if you go to the website inside out, which may be the one website you haven't gone to yet. That's where I think I do the best job of explaining it, it really comes down. It's not complicated. It really comes down to this, you know, as marketers, we have to do our own branding. And, you know, it's the shoemakers, children we're the hardest clients to have because we know ourselves so well, that we don't see what is most interesting to others. Right? And that's that's an important thing to do because, because that's what we market from that's how we brand ourselves. That's how we position ourselves. And the problem with me Most, either storytelling or keynote speaking or speaking training, or a communication workshops, is all of it is fairly technique based. If you do this, then people will feel that or, or will communicate that. And then this whatever this is his facial expression, or a gesture, or a step or or a message, it inevitably feels very contrived. And in fact, I think that's why a lot of speaker training has gotten a bad rap over the last 1020 years, because it doesn't feel authentic to the person who's doing it. It's like, oh, you're trying to make me into something that I don't want to be I don't feel right about it doesn't feel right. I don't like this. I'm just going to do this the way I want to do it. So there's a fundamental problem with Speaker training, performance training. Now, storytelling, which has become the great buzzword of the decade, doesn't matter that I've been doing it for 25 years now. But that's everybody's talking about storytelling. So that's the big disconnect. And when people go through my coaching and consulting and training, the comment that I get time and time again, is this feels very authentic, it's very not natural. To me, it's easier for me to do this. Because I understand how the whole first part of the process is you're digging out from me, what is inside me first. And if you do that, and of course, this is the key, I tell people, somebody pays you a compliment. Listen, well, you know, sometimes it takes many, many times of somebody saying the same thing over and over again, before you realise, oh, man, this is what it is. So what I realised is the greatest difference between what I do and what everybody else does is I go from the inside out. And if you go from the inside out in terms of sentiment, in terms of mission, in terms of heart, in terms of message, then everything else flows from that. So it's not like, oh, I want to make this gesture. It's, this is how I feel when I talk about this. Oh, and look, this is the gesture that I make. So everything comes from the inside out, especially the message.

Francisco Mahfuz 7:28

Okay, so so so hold on, there's a few things there that I understand. I completely agree with. Just the other day, I was talking to a good friend of mine, Kyoko who does speaker training, which what? That I also did some to some extent. And by the

Michel Neray 7:44

way that what you just did is the mark of a professional speaker well done.

Francisco Mahfuz 7:52

Yes, suddenly upon my own thoughts. So I just had this this conversations last argument with her where I have found over the years that the least amount of time you dedicate trying to train anyone on what's usually called delivery, the better off you tend to be. And one of the one of the exercises that I've done very recently in training I gave was, I did mention those things I talked about eye contact, I talked about, you know what you shouldn't do with your hands more than what you should do with your hands. And then when I got to the storytelling part of the training, I had people tell stories, and I asked the audience, then how much did you pay attention to those things like because before everybody seemed to be very good at spotting annoying hand gestures or ohms and ahhs and things of that nature. And I said when they were telling the story, how much did you notice that? And they're like, not at all. And I said, Did you not notice because they didn't do it? Or because you just you were in the story, and you couldn't pay attention? And they said, Why don't know. I was I was in the stories, I'm not sure. Which was the case. And I said to them, looking at it from the outside. It was both they naturally improved their delivery by telling a story. And you didn't seem to care. You leaned in you're paying attention. Who cares if there wasn't an eye in there somewhere? So So yeah, no, I, I completely get that part of it. Not trying to improve someone from the outside in with external techniques that don't affect content and don't affect how authentic the messages but apart from the physical things that a lot of people focus on. Can you just explain a little bit more? What's the difference of your approaches to other people's approaches or two things you decided on work when it comes to the content of it, because storytelling to my mind is almost by nature going to be inside out first? Before you can even worry about applying anything external but what's been your experience with that

Michel Neray 9:59

use? A that it should be inside out first, because you're already a believer of that you've seen the value of that. And by the way, that little illustration you just gave us about doing an exercise and asking people did you notice, that's a great example of what we're talking about. And it's not to say I don't want any of the listeners to think that delivery is not important, as you said, you know, especially the annoying things, but it definitely comes later. And you can improve on anything that the person is doing. Usually they're too restricted. And so you want to free them out, free them up to be more of who they are, to allow more of who have their inside out. I'll give you an example. So you asked me two questions. Let me answer both of them.

Francisco Mahfuz 10:48

I do this horrible thing where I asked three questions at a time, or I asked the question, and then I do a Tim Ferriss, I started talking and I go on for another five minutes, I need to rein myself in.

Michel Neray 10:59

It's fine. It's fine. But let me so let me answer the first question, which is, how do you work on content? Content is everything. And everything does come from content? Most people? And no, I'm not going to say most people, everybody, everybody has a hard time clarifying their content. And that includes me, and I'll bet that includes you. Because we know what we think are in our heads. And so we connect a lot of the dots in our heads that aren't necessarily connected. That's just the way human beings work. So we've got to work extra hard on really being clear on what we mean. And I do that. That's the that's the the big part of what I do. Now, most people will say, Oh, well, I know my story. And I'll say, yeah, yeah, I bet you do. But they don't. I've gained a reputation in my courses and training, where people say, Michelle's gonna ask his favourite question, what's your point? What's your point? And if you can't articulate your point, in one or two sentences, if you feel you have to go on for four paragraphs, then I'm sorry, you don't know what your point is. It's not clear enough, or your big mistake, you know, this, if you're writing a newsletter, or I shouldn't say you, because I don't know if this is you, but me when I'm struggling, and I'm writing a blog or a newsletter, and it's just not coming together, which happens, usually, it's just, it's just, it's hard. It's not making sense or whatever. It's almost always because I'm trying to fit three points into one newsletter. And becoming aware of what those three points are, is the gateway to then clarifying what do I really want this newsletter about, or speech or story or whatever. So that's number one is clarifying the point, then, of course, as an advertising copywriter, I'll want to say it in a clever way or, you know, like a headline or a tagline or something like that. And I, I help people clarify, that'd be that brings in even extra layer of clarification to it, use parallel construction. And there are a whole bunch of techniques, but that's still on content. Now, let's go to your second question. Where is delivery important in every journey, in every journey, let me say that again, in every journey, there is a moment of insight, there is an epiphany, there is a learning that happens. And that is the learning that is the point of your story. That is the learning that we want to impart to our listeners. But rather than tell them what the learning is, we want them to discover that learning at the same time we discover it. In order to do that. We don't tell the story. We reenact the story. Big difference. We reenact the story. So first of all, I need to get people to reorient their thinking from telling the story to re experiencing and then reenacting the story. And then noticing where that moment of insight is. That's where acting technique comes in. And that's where delivery technique comes in.

Francisco Mahfuz 14:24

Let me jump in while while you think let me jump into previous

Michel Neray 14:27

Well, wait a minute. No,

Francisco Mahfuz 14:28

no, hold on, hold on, hold on. No, no, no,

Unknown Speaker 14:31

no. You don't do that.

Francisco Mahfuz 14:35

See your pause was too long.

Michel Neray 14:38

Pause was the pause it was because it made you think and that was the insight. That's an insight. You thought I was thinking I was thinking that's that's acting.

Francisco Mahfuz 14:50

All I was going to say was that you say that every journey has an insight, a moment of learning. You clearly have never gone on holidays with my family.

Michel Neray 15:00

While there are many moments of insight or whatever,

Francisco Mahfuz 15:04

let's go with that, let's go with that explanation that's about to run. Now, I was gonna say earlier is when you were talking about the point and how it's difficult sometimes when you write your newsletter, or blog post or post or whatever, it's something I've noticed a lot, not so much with my writing. But when I'm on helping people craft their stories, is I'm playing with this idea that whatever, when you know, the the end of your story, you know, should not the beginning because whatever change the character has changed, you're learning the character has gone through at the end, in need, there needs to be a moment is at the beginning or near the beginning, where the opposite of that or close to the opposite of that was taking place. And I find that the moment you start trying to do that, it becomes very obvious that either your story is not about what you think it is. Or you have more than one point there, because you're going, Okay, so I've now learned that doesn't matter what I feel for my partner, there is a time in place to express those feelings. And if I'm picking the wrong time or place, then the message is not going to get across properly. And you know, then then you go back to the beginning. And it's it might be that it's nothing to do with time and place. It's to do with, you know, you being on no distribution density in the way you communicate, that's fine. But that's a different point. They're not the same thing.

Michel Neray 16:24

And that's exactly right. So, so there are two things that we need to do to help you probably do this with the people that you coach, and certainly what I do, there are two things that we can do to clarify that. And the first thing is, you have to write out your story. And a lot of people are afraid to write. And I understand if they're not writers, they think they're not good writers, they're afraid to write, but I don't care who you are, you need to write it down. Because if you don't write it down, then you don't have it staring back at you in black and white, this awkward opening, or this opening that doesn't match the ending, as you said, or it takes me five paragraphs to do the setup, when really I only need one sentence, you only know those things when you write it down. So that's number one, write it down. Number two, sometimes you have to tell your story over and over and over again. Before the point of this story reveals itself to you. You know, I'm also a songwriter. And so I talked to a lot of songwriters. And if you watch, you know people, songwriters are notorious for saying I thought I was writing the song about X, but it's about y. And that only happened in the course of writing the song. Same thing with storytelling, you have to do it, you have to go through the process, you have to do it over and over again. Or sometimes you said sometimes I've been telling the same story for years. And then I realised oh my god, it's not what I thought it was about. And that's just part of the, that's magic. Really. That's, to me, that's a beautiful, it's frustrating. But it's a beautiful part of it. Because then then I learned something new from my own story.

Francisco Mahfuz 18:17

It's interesting the point about writing because I do write a lot of the stories that I share just because I'm doing on social media. So you're forced to to a great extent. But after a while, for years and years and years, I always wrote whatever speaking I did, or ever public speaking, I did. And once I got more and more into storytelling, I started finding myself, not ever writing the stories that I share a lot, either live or on a video, I found that what often happened with the writing was that, you know, the way I write is not the way I speak. And if I wrote early enough in the process, then the language would I because I ended up learning it from the page, then that caused problems with the language, how natural it was so so I find that now I will play around was the final line of my story. And then I play around with the first lines of my story. The rest I find I don't need to do that so much. So I don't really mind not writing them down. But it is true that one I've been doing this for a while. And because of the constraints of posting videos on social media, I'm always trying to get the stories down to one minute and a half or two minutes. So I naturally cut stuff when I know it's gone on for too long. But I have gotten out of the habit of writing them every time because I don't want I don't want the language to sound written.

Michel Neray 19:50

Do you enjoy to hear my my take on that by all means, I do a course called How to write for ears, not how to write for eyes. Now what you said is very true. If you write it and then memorise what you wrote, or you remember what you wrote, it's going to sound like it was written. And we don't want that. So I listen, as an advertising writer, I used to write radio scripts, I used to write TV scripts, TV commercials, scripts, I used to coach people in the studio, on how to deliver, and you have to learn how to write, to speak. And there's there's a, it's not a big shift, but there's a little shift you have to make. So I'll give you two examples. When we read. So we have to understand how people read, when we read, our eyes don't go from word to word, they don't, our eyes go, our eyes scan all over the place, we start with a word. And if we don't understand the sentence, by the time we get to the end of the sentence, our eyes go back to the beginning to remind ourselves of what was written there. And we do this all, unconsciously, we don't even know we're doing this, when we are listening to someone speak, we do not have the luxury of that. If we have to remember what the person said at the beginning of the sentence, we can't be listening to the rest of the sentence. So we cannot do that kind of double tasking or refreshing when we're listening than when we're reading. So that's one example. And the other example. So we need to keep that in mind. So when we speak, we need to speak in a much more linear way. Even things like where you put the adjective, or that or noun. And where we put those things has to be much simpler to make it easier for people to understand if you wait too long. If you put five adjectives before you get to the thing, they've forgotten all the adjectives or if you put the thing first, and then five adjectives, they're not going to remember what it refers to. So that's example one. Example two, is when we speak, especially conversationally, we speak in half sentences. We speak in explanations. We speak with bad grammar. There's a difference between bad grammar and class based grammar. So we need to be careful about that, unless we've got a brand that is, you know, we are, you know, the uneducated person. But even the educated person will speak in bad grammar, conversationally, we do this all the time.

Francisco Mahfuz 22:40

I've given you plenty of examples of that in this conversation.

Michel Neray 22:44

Well, both of us. In fact, what I just said, both of us, I would write that in to my script, both of us,

Francisco Mahfuz 22:53

there's nothing like editing your own editing yourself on a podcast to realise how much this is true that we speak in half sentences, most of the time, like, Oh, what was that? Like you start and then you just go into something completely different. And then you do it a few times, just like nobody cares, right? Does leave it in. In the beginning. I remember trying to polish that. But Well, the

Michel Neray 23:15

thing is you you want to achieve there's a right balance of Polish. If you over polish, then you sound like an academic speaking at a lectern, which we don't want. And if you don't polish at all, you sound like you know, somebody who's not educated at all. So there's the right balance. And once you understand what those things are, then you could write them into the script. And there's a famous story about he was the script writer on the TV show The West Wing on Sargon. I can't remember his name, so I'll take your word for it. He also directed Molly's game, right?

Francisco Mahfuz 23:54

Is that him? Yep. Yeah, I'm sorry.

Michel Neray 23:56

And in the movie, The Molly's game he wrote, I think it was in that movie. He said, he wanted her to say, um, and he put four M's in like, Hmm, and she didn't. And he got annoyed with her said, read the script, said I got the script that says that, yeah, but you just didn't read the script. So a very intentional way of writing down to the point of how many M's you put, how many, you know, and how long the pause is, and we're how an oil should be. So those are two examples. I'll give you a third example. There's an exercise that I do which is it's like the stupidest simplest exercise. If you do this with your people, you're going to have to say yes, I learned this from Michelle Nuray. It's a stupid simplest. So let's say we have give me a phrase, a moral or a proverb that you go by, or that you you like that I

Francisco Mahfuz 24:58

go by, done is better than perfect,

Michel Neray 25:01

great Done is better than perfect. So let's say that's the point of your story. And you're going to end with that or something like that. Okay? Most again, most people, they think they never because they never write it down. And they don't practice this, and they're not experts, they only have one way of saying it Done is better than perfect. That's the only way they know how to say it. And that's the way they think everybody says it. But I do an exercise with them. And I say, okay, repeat that phrase, as many times as there are words in the phrase, and each time, put the pause in a different place, and make sure the pause is long enough to make your audience feel uncomfortable, like you did. So in general, our pauses are not long enough. Second, we always put the pause in the same place Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect. Done is better than perfect.

Francisco Mahfuz 26:04

I'm not wishing I have given you the sentence, there are more things between heaven and earth, then suppose is always philosophy. You get the idea, I get the idea.

Michel Neray 26:16

And it's it's an extremely powerful exercise because it shakes people's brains say, Oh, I never realised I could say it like this. And if I put the pause in the unexpected place,

Francisco Mahfuz 26:28

so do something else I wanted to I wanted to ask you, which has to do with structure. Right? So this is a conversation I had with I have had this now with a lot of guests. And my thinking on this has shifted a fair bit from the My very early days doing this and teaching people this. And the question is essentially, when you are, you know, you're doing your approach, you'll get a story out of someone in the point of the story is clear, you know, you've helped them figure it out what needs to be in that story. So that point is clear. How much effort do you put in, if any, with structure? And let me just preamble that by saying that, I found that out though, it makes a tonne of sense teaching people what the story the structure of a story should be. I find it very rare that teaching that you know, you get the structure and then you go back to the story and add, like I've said to them, you know, you missing, we don't have enough before, like there was not enough context in there first understand the rest. I've said, you know, you you you're after was rushed. I didn't I don't actually know what happened. And I think that story needed it. But it's not common that the structure, I find is super helpful. When you when someone has the story. What has been I mean, is that something you you put effort or emphasis on or not really

Michel Neray 27:55

well, I think you raise an extremely good point because I do a whole workshop on story structure. And you are absolutely correct. People love that workshop, because it makes it simple. But then they then you put pen to paper proverbial pen to paper, as I don't know what I'm doing anymore. Really hard. So I think it's important, you know, first of all, can I can I tell you a pet peeve? The hero's journey?

Francisco Mahfuz 28:22

Yes, I had. I had Jeff Davenport on the show a few weeks ago, and he used to be one of the coaches of Duarte for many years. And I had the whole thing with him about, you know, I have a bone to pick with you, Jeff, you people have spread this around the world. And this is not held in to be in to be all credit credit to him. His answer was, we don't really teach it that way. Like no one is going to clients and going let's fit all these things. It's like we're picking individual things and going okay, what let's talk about the return the return home, or let's put a bit more effort on the ordinary world and

Michel Neray 28:58

whatever. So it basically is doing what you do. Like it needs more.

Francisco Mahfuz 29:02

I mean, I don't use but I found it interesting because they he actually uses the terminology. So although he's not teaching the hero's journey as a structure to be followed, he sinks he'd seemed to me he thinks in terms of the hero's journey, whereas I don't at all, and I know plenty of storytellers that are fantastic storytellers on their own. And they like one hero's journey. Which one about like, Get out of here with their hero's journey?

Michel Neray 29:32

Oh, yeah, like there are 17 steps and some models of that you're not going to put 17 steps and in a four minute story, that's ridiculous. Anyway, thank you for letting me get that out. Hero's Journey. biggest, biggest mistake or biggest misconception in storytelling world.

Francisco Mahfuz 29:51

I find that even with myself like even with like the structure I teach is very basic. It's before but so after and even That's like sometimes I write the whole story and I go, Okay, how do I fit this structure on this story, and I can't always do it, I tend to start so close to the end of the story that, you know, there's like half a line, that would be the before. And I was like, but that's not really like I can that that just doesn't work for that store. In some stories, you can easily do that. But I find that the personal ones particularly the small ones, that are what I traffic in mostly any type of structure try to impose on it just feels you know shoehorned. Well, okay,

Michel Neray 30:33

so you gave me a lot to comment on. First of all, what you said is brilliant, the best advice I ever got about how to answer the question, where do I start the story, the only one answer that makes sense is as close to the end as you can. Second story structure is important to know, not because you want to follow the journey, but because you want to identify the elements that you need in your story. That's why you still need to study and teach story structure. And once you know, okay, there's a setup, there's a triggering event, there's a downward fall, there's a turning point, there's an upward climb, there's a climax, which is a test of success. And then there's what the French called the denouement, right, the aftermath. And that's where in marketing terms, that's where the benefits are. And not only that, but I get to live each day as if it's a blessing, blob, whatever, you need to know what those are, you need to know one other thing. And this, I also got, I thought, I thought I made this up. And I was talking to a script writer about it. And she said, Oh, yeah, we do that all the time. It's called the inside story that I thought I was brilliant. I'm not. But anyway, there's the outside story, the action. And there's the inside story, which is your personal transformation, Every story needs to have both. But I can't tell you it's 5050 3070 or 9010. It that depends on the story, and what it feels like. But you need to understand that you're actually telling, always telling two stories at the same time, you're telling a human transformation story, that's the universal aspect. That's what makes people go to a play of Hamlet, and say, Ah, I understand what greed does to people. But I was never a prince in a kingdom, you know, where I was being backstabbed by my own family kind of thing. So there's the in so that's the inside story. And then the outside story is the action. What happened? And so you need to know you're always telling two stories at the same time. And story structure shows the L the components of the story. And then I've got this right here, you know, I'm showing you all my tricks, right? This

Francisco Mahfuz 32:53

is exactly my evil plan is I had someone asked me the other day, like why would you have you know, the competition on your show and then promoted on social media wherever it is? And this is an answer I've given before I said in MBA costs something like $73,000 On average, whereas mine costs me about 50 bucks a month, which is the cost of the you know, squad cast in tiny bit of extra stuff that I spend on the podcast, and I get to interview the competition to some extent, but also the anyone that does anything I like, on the subject, I get to have them on and pick their brains for an hour. Paul Zak is not giving an hour of his time for free to anyone unless it's a podcast. And I think that's probably true of you and many other people.

Michel Neray 33:43

Yeah, yeah. I quote Paul Zak, too. So what I get people to do it. Remember, I talked about the components of the story. And then I'll get them to write each component on a different index card and write it old style longhand, because on a computer, everything shows up as a grey block. And you need to be able to identify the discrete pieces. So I like these. And sometimes it'll take both sides for a component, sometimes it'll take less than that. But then what I'll do is once you have these, you can lay all of them out in front of you on your desk on a table or on the floor on the on the wall, put, you know, sticky tacks, and then you can move them around. And then you could say, oh, I need more of this, or I need more of that. Or there's a gap here, or it needs a bridge. Most times you don't need a bridge. We'll talk about bridges in a minute. But then you could continue, I get people to name every index card, and then you put all the names on one card.

Francisco Mahfuz 34:52

What they're naming is a section of the story or particular elements of the story, like the character or the inciting incident and

Michel Neray 34:59

whatever will trigger your memory for what's on it. So sometimes it's the first three words, sometimes it's, you know, bedroom scene, or sometimes it's a bridge, because it happened that the bridge, you know, or it's whatever triggers your memory, you name it. And then you put them all on one index card. And they're like, not this one. Now, this these here, what's this? 145 minutes

Francisco Mahfuz 35:24

for anyone who's listening to this, Michelle was, has been playing around with these cards, and raising them. And on the camera, you can see them. If I ever published the whole video of this, you'll see it otherwise, trust me, that's what he was doing. Let's get us out of the weeds slightly. Because there's something else you've been doing for a long time. I know, this is something you're really passionate about. And I want to talk about it for sure. Which is more Mondays. Now, as I understand it, you get tired of going to networking events and other speaker events and where people are pretending to be more successful than they are. And then through months and months of of market research, you found a gap in the market found a name that perfectly fit that gap. And you named it mo Monday's that was exactly how it happened, wasn't it? Oh,

Michel Neray 36:12

like? Absolutely no.

Francisco Mahfuz 36:17

Yes, I, I am aware of the vagaries of ending up with a name that wasn't necessarily what you what you expected. But I don't know is the name of more Mondays, which was originally motivational Monday's and the domain name wasn't available the moment it was, that's not really what I want to talk about. I want to talk about a few things of how you've how you run it, and how what you found people get out of it. Because actually should I should just say before anything else that no Mondays is a Monday event where they're at now is a essentially a storytelling event with a whole bunch of other stuff that happens like live music and other things. One thing I don't know, because I don't I'm sure I heard you talk about was, how is it your approach when it comes to the speakers? Because I think from from some of the things I've read, I believe that you help them to some to one or another. What I wanted to know was how much and how. So someone wants to tell a story. Do they have to addition to tell the story? Do they have to tell you the story? How does that work? And then how much do you help them actually tell the story?

Michel Neray 37:25

So the short answer to your question is, I don't help them enough. Most people think they are good enough. And they know their story. And they don't want help and they don't want to pay for it. But when the stories are great, they're great. They are great. So now that we're beginning to come out of lockdown, and we're looking at relaunching Mondays, you know, we had like 16 cities across North America, doing more Mondays every month, and it was incredibly fulfilling for people empowering for people. But yeah, I didn't want to say but but it came out of my mouth before before I meant to, you know, as we're looking at relaunching it, I like if you were to do it more Mondays in Barcelona, I would have a lot more confidence that you would be able to find the people and help them. It may be the people who are on your stage are the ones who have already gone through your course. But that's not the way I did it. Honestly, the quality was variable. When they were great. They were great.

Francisco Mahfuz 38:33

I the only experience I have with that comes from listening to one of my favourite storytellers. And the person I quote on this podcast more often than anyone who's Matthew Dix was essentially the king of the math is one the math stories Lam 54 times, and he runs his own math like event called SpeakUp. In my understanding is that when the moth I know that you have to apply, and you have to send them an outline of your story, and that you have to tell them an outline of the story and send it to them if you want to apply. And I think on his show, he makes people apply in a similar way. And I think it's part of the DDoS search. That's like sure if we like your story, and we invite you to to speak, we will coach you. I don't unless I think it's you know, very experienced storytellers. I think they make it a condition because they they're trying to curate the quality of the show. And I think because it's been doing for a while when it's popular enough, there was no shortage of people applying.

Michel Neray 39:33

Yeah, it's amazing, isn't it? It's amazing. I had a year's backlog of applications. So we did ask people to apply, but we didn't ask them to submit a video. And maybe that was you know, that's one of the things that we're looking at moving forward.

Francisco Mahfuz 39:50

There's a couple of things I heard you talk about that I wanted to explore just before we we run out of time and I have to run out of here, but one of them is he said something that I thought was very interesting. In I think the line was, if you can't find the funny in your stories, then you're not past it. I'm all for the, you know, share scars, not scabs approach.

Unknown Speaker 40:12

Oh, I love that. I like that. Yeah, I like that it's

Michel Neray 40:15

a great line share that share the scars. Not this

Francisco Mahfuz 40:19

is all mine is a great one as well, but I hadn't. I mean, I'm quite happy to find the fun in my stories, because most of them are embarrassing, ridiculous things. But I hadn't seen anyone else put it that way. So is it your belief? Or has it been your experience with more Mondays that once you've been once you pass the story enough, then you most likely should be able to find something funny with it? Oh,

Michel Neray 40:44

absolutely. Absolutely. I'll tell you a very quick story. I won't tell you the whole story. But you already mentioned in my bio that my mother was a victim of the Holocaust. She spent the year in Auschwitz or almost a year in Auschwitz. She was part of the three day Death March, at the end of the war, the allies were moving in the Germans knew they had to evacuate the camps. And they send people on a trek through the mountains of Poland in December of 1944, like cold the mountains of you know, she had a threadbare cloth around her she had one shoe she was barefoot and the other, you know, horrific, horrific. And my mother, thankfully lived till she was 87. And she had a blood disorder that was going to get her and we knew it was going to be it was terminal. And I was listening to the radio one day. And I, the person on the radio was saying, you know, before your parents really die, ask them questions, and not the big, big life questions. Ask them the stupid simple questions like what was the funniest thing that ever happened to you? So, you know, after spending day after day after day with my mother in the hospital, and I have I'm gonna try this. So I said, Ruth, I called her Ruth, that what's the funniest thing that ever happened to you? And she gets up in her bed. And she said, well in a French accent, because my mother was French. And she said, Well, we were at the camps. And she saw the look on my face. Like, I asked you for a funny story, you're gonna tell me something about Auschwitz? And she says, yes, yes, we were at the camps. And she proceeds to tell me this story of how, you know, she got beaten, big, literally beaten, and she looks up and she sees the Capitol with a with a bandage over one eye, and pointing her tone showing her truncheon editor and threatening her. And

Unknown Speaker 42:48

she says, I don't know if I'm dreaming or having a nightmare. That is the funniest thing ever.

Michel Neray 42:56

If my mother could tell a funny story about Auschwitz, everybody can find the funny in their story. Finding the funny in your story, not only is an indication that you are past it, she'd been past it, she passed. And I'll tell you a story about my dad in a second, if we have time, faster. But anyway, if my mother could tell a story about our shirts, not only does it signal to me that she's past her own experience, but it gives the audience hope that something is bad as that could happen to you. But you will get out of it. And ultimately, we are all merchants of hope.

Francisco Mahfuz 43:39

Let me lead into what I think is going to be the story about your father by asking you something that I just thought while you were talking, which was so that the original question was, you know, if you can't find the funny news stories, is that because you're not past it yet. But then the follow up to me is, if you haven't found the funny in your story yet, is that because you haven't told it?

Michel Neray 44:01

Ha ha, oh, that is so smart. I think you need to tell your story over and over and over again until you're sick of it. And then you find the funny, but you can't just come out there and so that you're you're you're very right.

Francisco Mahfuz 44:14

That's what happened to you. I mean, I'm oversimplifying here, but in essence, whereas your mother share the whole bunch of stuff of the horrible things she went through my understanding from hearing somewhere else is that your father not only didn't share the stuff he went through in the foreign Legion, but she fed you and your brother, I fed her brother a line that was meant to suggest that he never went through anything particularly exciting or terrible, right?

Michel Neray 44:39

He was very, I did not realise this, but it was very clear that he was suffering from PTSD his entire life, never spoke about it. And my dad passed away when he was 65. You know, by young by most standards. My mom lived she was until she was 87. My mom shared her Story, wrote a book. My dad never said a word about it. I know that's an oversimplification. But I can't help but draw the conclusion that sharing your story not only helps other people but is for your own survival. And if you share your story enough, and you can find the funny in it, you can have a joyous life.

Francisco Mahfuz 45:19

Right? I have a feeling. If we had more time, we could keep going for a fair bit. But I think that's as perfect a point as any to finish it. And I do very much hope that with lockdown and all the stuff we're going through ending that you you can resume more Monday's with the with the 16 locations that you had. It's something I very much hope I know that there was a club here in Barcelona that that had something like Mondays, I have no idea what has survived or not lockdown with some of those things are still difficult to to attend, even though we are past most of it here in Spain. But yeah, no, I have heard you talk about how you think you can achieve or help world peace through people sharing their stories. And it's part of the drum that I keep banging on that apart from all the great business advantages you can have from from sharing your stories. I don't know that many people that share stories on a regular basis, that don't seem to be better off for it.

Michel Neray 46:19

That's that's a good point. Yeah. You know, storytelling is not that complicated. You just need to do it.

Francisco Mahfuz 46:26

Alright, so if anyone wants to find out more about your stuff you mentioned inside out Is that the best place to find you or you want them going to as well.

Michel Neray 46:36

They got inside out They'll find the jumping off point to as well.

Francisco Mahfuz 46:42

Perfect. Oh, I'll put all that stuff on on the show notes. Anyway, once again, thanks for coming out and sharing some of your tricks. I'll try. I'll try not to use them for evil. And if I do use them, I will credit credit you appropriately.

Michel Neray 46:58

Use them for good use them for good. Thank you. Thank you, Francisco. This I really enjoyed this. Alright, everyone.

Francisco Mahfuz 47:04

Thanks for tuning in. Take care of yourselves. And until next time.

I hope you enjoy the show. And if you did, I'd love for you to subscribe and leave us a review or a rating on the Apple podcasts app. It's very easy. You open the app and find this show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tap. I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find this. And if you'd like to get in touch or find out more about what I do, reach out to me on LinkedIn or visit my website story

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