E86. How the Best in the World Teach Storytelling with Patti Sanchez
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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 powers.com 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 coffee.com 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 that people who tell them and why you should be doing it too. I'm your host, keynote speaker and storytelling coach Francisco first. My guest today is Patti Sanchez. Pat is the Chief Strategy Officer for Duarte, the largest communications firm in Silicon Valley, and a global leader in business and culture presentations. She has led transformative initiatives for brands including Cisco Ericsson, Hewlett Packard and Nike, and taught hundreds of leaders how to become more empathetic and effective communicators. Water has been on the forefront of communications for a long time. In much that is common sense today was made popular by them like the idea that you should make your audience the hero and that the best speeches follow a story structure. In her brand new book presenting virtually communicate and connect with online audiences. Patty has kept the tradition going. She was the first person to figure out that the secret to virtual presentations is to put a picture of Paul Rudd right next to your camera. And what happened a few weeks after her book came out People Magazine named Paul Rudd the sexiest man alive. Coincidence? I think not. Ladies and gentlemen Valley centres. Fatty Welcome to the show.
Patti Sanchez 2:12
That introduction was amazing. And yes, such persuasive power that Paul now has the crown,
Francisco Mahfuz 2:18
I must admit, I mean, it seems awful for me to say I love my own introduction. But I always make a point of trying to find something and I you know, the Polaroid thing is at the very end of your book, and I couldn't remember how to pronounce his surname. So just last night, I went on YouTube and I typed Paul Rudd there is an interview with him and CO bear which I think was three days ago and he walks in dressed like a prom queen with the sexiest man
Patti Sanchez 2:49
in the crown and Yeah, exactly. I see that news myself. I really did feel like it was my doing
Francisco Mahfuz 2:57
Yeah. But as soon as I saw that, I said Okay, finally I have my I have my introduction. So I have two main goals for for today and they come out of all the all the research for this episode, mostly because there are things that I couldn't really see in that research and I've read both of the books you author co authored, I listened to a tonne of podcasts and the two things that I didn't necessarily get there were one you getting into the weeds of storytelling of actual stories and how to tell them and not necessarily just stories as a structure and the other one and this one is going to sound a bit odd is I would like I also want to attempt to get what I feel is the real petty to come out and what I'm saying the reason I say that is because you didn't show there was a couple of hosts and it was about change and at some point the host said something like he was going to disagree with you or say something that you might disagree with in your answer to him was Come at me bro
Patti Sanchez 4:01
you want to fight today? Is that the real mean let's do it
Francisco Mahfuz 4:04
no no, I mean I don't mind those are funny every time I put out an episode that it's slightly more contagious my way and I usually had fun and I laugh throughout this episode tell me all you get you get a really really good scrap and I thought I was like dude we didn't notice anything maybe imagining things but I that that and a few things throughout the particularly the book you wrote not the one you co wrote with with Nancy which is illuminate was illuminating night change through speeches stories ceremonies and symbols but on the on the latest one about presenting virtually they're just bits here and there. Were clearly felt like okay, this is this is her covering for breaking through the the more sort of professional writing for the book and I have a feeling that's that's a fun Photoshop.
Patti Sanchez 4:54
Well, that's perceptive. And I think that's a challenge for any any human communicators in particular is to do is to discern your voice, and then to authentically communicate in that voice. And maybe part of what I struggle with is something perhaps other people struggle with, which is deciding how much of your true self to show. And that is directly relevant to the subject of storytelling, right, that we have a choice to make about whether we choose to tell stories at all, as as leaders as communicators, and if we do whether those stories really reveal something about us and about our struggles, and the more that they do, I think the more people feel connected to us. And yeah, it's been a journey of my own, in my professional development, and certainly in my time at Duarte to learn how to peel away those layers of artifice. And image fake image and to be my real self and to tell my actual stories.
Francisco Mahfuz 5:53
Yeah, it's it's a challenge that I think a lot of people once they get into more consistently writing, I guess we all go through that I remember when I saw I wrote a book on public speaking two, three years ago. And I remember the first few things I wrote were horrendous. And I'm reading it and thinking, Who is this person? Like? I, I don't speak like this. Why am I in no, and I had been writing in my own speeches for a very long time. So why when I'm writing for the page, and not for the year, do I sound like this really far more weird person. And it took me, it took me a while to get somewhere close to something I think sounds a bit more like me. So in your case, what I couldn't tell is how much of that was just the usual struggle away. Most writers have of you know, of getting them press their personality on the page. And how much was more of a deliberate style, because it's very similar. Most of the your last book is very similar in style to the one you co authored with Nancy wood. That's norm. I think, if you call three, it's harder for your own voice to come through so much. But I didn't know if you guys were just going for a sort of cleaner, more professional voice? Or if it just turned out that way.
Patti Sanchez 7:12
Yeah, well, it probably leaned in that direction, because I was Nancy's co writer, and my style is semi academic and cerebral when I write in long form. And to your point, that's not always the most accessible human kind of voice, but it is sort of my style. So I think I kind of dragged her in that direction, when we wrote, illuminate, and you still hear some of that voice in presenting virtually because it is my writing voice. But when I speak, it is it is different. And I think that is the uniqueness of the spoken word. And in fact, so when Nancy and I were writing illuminate, we got stuck pretty badly. About halfway through the writing, actually, we were done with a first draft of the manuscript, we sent it off to several publishers as a packaged book, which most of them don't love, it was kind of pretty much done. And one of the publishers, the one we ended up going with came back and said, it's good, but not great. And you need to change a lot of things. And I think that sent us both into a little bit of a crisis, you know, what, how do we make this better? And and I said, Well, why don't we just speak it aloud. Let's, let's talk through some case studies of leaders who have used these principles. And the key studies that are in illuminate now came from that couple day long exercise of us just verbalising our insights about how particular leaders lead in different situations. And that was profound to me, that speaking, changed the voice of the writing, but it also unlocked our ability to articulate ideas maybe that were struggled to put down on paper.
Francisco Mahfuz 8:45
One thing I found for myself, and I have given this as advice to people that I work with, is that, you know, this was the most obvious thing ever, in a podcast about storytelling, where I said, the easiest way to innovate, find your voice, and make yourself more personable is to just, it's not just just our story, is remember to use stories as examples for everything that you are writing. And if some of those stories and they're being personal stories, then you're doing both things at the same time, you'll be more engaging, and as you're coming across more, like cute. And that, to me seemed a very deliberate choice that, you know, obviously, the illuminate is a book that is full of case studies and or stories we can say about all these leaders that have led movements and gone through change, which is the topic of the book. But what it doesn't have the only sort of personal story that it has is the whole last section, which is you know, Nancy's I think it's mostly through Nancy's voice narrating the change. Duarte has gone through. There is not much of a personal story that so to me, that sounded very clearly like a deliberate choice where neither you nor Nancy have any personal stories in there. Right?
Patti Sanchez 9:59
Yeah, I guess I think illuminate was really the story of other leaders. And they're the patterns in their movements, the movements that they created. And again, I'll come on somewhat more cerebral analysis of the structure of movements and the tools that you can use to move people through them. Presenting virtually does have more of my personal stories, which you saw, I think, and in part that was because my own experience in shifting to this medium led to some of my biggest aha was about what it takes to communicate differently. In this medium I was accustomed to presenting largely in person and on big stages. I mean, I've always worked with clients and colleagues who are in other places, but the virtual, of course, like everybody else became the only way that I communicated. And there were things that I struggled with. And so I chose to put those stories into presenting virtually because I think they were, I hope they're universal struggles. And I hope that the tips I share help real people deal with those situations.
Francisco Mahfuz 10:57
So this question that we are talking to some extent, which is that, you know, the personal story versus the business story, or the business case study, is one I touched on when I had Jeff Davenport on the show. And I wanted your take on that. Because my view, and again, we were talking about a book that as we as you said a couple of times that you ended up going with a more academic more Cerebro Cerebro cerebro. So worst, worst word to say cerebro? I can say it's gone. brainy. It's so that this question is one that I think a lot of people is not even a question. They wouldn't even understand why I'm asking you this things like what, what am I talking about personal stories in I think that most leaders start from that point of a story's a business story. If there is a story anywhere, it's going to be a business story. And I think we both know that that's not necessarily the case. And often the the personal one that you share is the one that is the most powerful one that people resonate with, where do you fall on this line of you helping someone to communicate better? How much would you try and pull them towards the direction of our sir, sharing personal stories? Are you quite happy if most of the stories are their own? But business stories?
Patti Sanchez 12:15
Well, it's a great question. So first, to sketch out how I think about story. I do think that it functions on multiple levels. And a simple way that I talk about it is there's the difference between story with a big S. And story with a little s and to me story with a big S, the capital S story is narrative. And that is business story. In many cases, that's really what illuminates about is about narrative crafting a narrative over time, that moves people to embrace a really big change. And that's what companies stories are is describing kind of this larger arc of where you're going over time. And that story has to be told to align people inside your organisation and outside your organisation with you and to persuade them to follow you on that path. Then there's the story with a little s, which in really simple terms is is the anecdote, it's it's the it's the tale, you tell, that maybe illustrates that narrative, but in a very tangible way. And I think that's something you were saying earlier, I have a story helps us improve our communication. And one way is that it adds specificity. It makes abstract concept tangible when you say so our strategy is to become a customer centred organisation. Let me tell you a story about a customer who were not serving well, those two things work hand in hand those two levels of story. And I think leaders need to tell both of those, particularly, you know, C suite people who are the ones who are evangelising the company strategy to stakeholders and customers and all of those people. But he also absolutely agree that personal story is a tool that leaders can really any person can use to communicate a concept in tangible ways, but also to create emotional connection with people in a way that the big s story won't do. Because it is abstract and cerebral. And the and the tangible, a little less story is personal and emotional.
Francisco Mahfuz 14:14
How much pushback do you still get if you get it? When you you're working with a company that you haven't worked with before? And you You tell them that they need to make stories, not the not the bigger story necessarily, or not this two story a structure, which I think anybody can buy fairly easily. I don't think anyone was going to ever push back against that. But the story as you know what most people understand, as a story says, Okay, you have the presentation, we need to stick a story in here. Do you still get any pushback from that?
Patti Sanchez 14:46
All the time, all the time, and most often from the most senior leaders I think, who have in their eyes the most to lose by getting vulnerable or appearing soft or, you know, squishy and weak in their communication. And so especially I am going to say, you know, male leaders, I think have a harder time telling personal stories than female leaders.
Francisco Mahfuz 15:11
Are you suggesting that men have a difficulty making themselves opening themselves emotionally to other people? Where would you possibly get an idea about it?
Patti Sanchez 15:27
I, you know, it just, it just occurred to me, it could be wrong. But I'm speaking from experience 30 plus years, right, counselling IT leaders and many of them male,
Francisco Mahfuz 15:37
I thought you're gonna say 30 plus years married to a Mexican.
Patti Sanchez 15:42
Well, that is true, too. And he is very in touch with his emotional side, which, which is helpful. I have to do a lot of counselling on that front. But the, with the leaders that I work with, most of them males, white males, and people who come from a place of privilege, and I think are not interested in eroding that privilege anytime soon. And so I think they have a feeling that they have to appear strong and impervious, you know, perfect all the time. And personal stories, don't let you get away with that. Because we're all imperfect as humans, and anytime we tell a personal story, there is likely to be some kind of flaw, conflict failure involved in that experience, we tell the whole truth. And so it's it's a challenge, I think, for those leaders. And when I get that kind of pushback, I usually rely on feedback from their people, to show them that the way that they're communicating is missing some pieces that their employees, for instance, can't relate to them, there might be lack of trust or credibility in a certain area, or their employees are just fearful or struggling, because you're going through a hard time. And they need to know that you see them that you recognise that struggle and you empathise with it. And one really powerful way to do that is by telling a story of when you did that yourself when you felt those same feelings, or how you might be feeling that uncertainty yourself right now, especially in the midst of the kinds of changes we're going through in the world, the more leaders admit that they are experiencing those same challenges, the more their employees will feel like they can relate to them. And and I think trust them,
Francisco Mahfuz 17:19
what I think it's sometimes curious is that I didn't necessarily ask about vulnerable stories I just asked about stories. But your your answer went straight into making themselves appear weak or vulnerable or connecting emotionally or any of those things. Because I I think, I think obviously, that is super important than eventually they have to get there. But I find that even the the idea of stories, as examples, you know, I tend to just explain to people that are stories, just a real life example, to choose to make a point in, I find it very baffling that people struggle to jump on board with that one, because Because anytime anyone communicates in a way that is not very flat, that is usually as a little story or an anecdote, or at least an example, you might not have the sequence of events to make it into an actual story. And I don't know, I think people just have this mental barrier now that we we don't really understand what a story is. And then as soon as you say, you know, remember when Steve Jobs launched the the iCloud and he in he went on stage and he said this thing and this thing, this thing, and this was the result that okay, just told your story. Oh, that's what you mean, I didn't. That's not what I was thinking of?
Patti Sanchez 18:37
Yeah, well, I think what you're getting at is that there is a misunderstanding what story is and and so people might think what you're actually talking about is fiction, or fantastical stories. So I had a conversation with somebody else recently, who said, how do you deal with the fact that sometimes stories might not be true? How do you know that the story is true or not? And are you is are you ethically okay with people telling stories? Because that implies that it's fiction, we're not talking about fiction is that we're talking about an anecdote, an example just to illustrate a point. But I think that what people also struggle with is they think, when I said vulnerable, it doesn't necessarily mean that they have to talk about a time when they failed, but even just telling about an idea, from their own perspective, just saying anything revealing anything about themselves as a human is something that they resist to. I've had a lot of leaders say, well, it's not about me, I'm not going to talk at all about me, I'm only going to talk about the company. I'm going to talk about our customers. And somebody that I really admire said well, you know, a way to help them understand what's wrong with that is it's very selfish because others in their organisation, look up and admire look up to and admire that person and they want to learn from that, that leader and when you choose not to share anything of your experience, whether it's a failure or not. You're, you're cheating them, it's seen as somehow arrogant to take the take the time to tell a story about any experience you've had. I have
Francisco Mahfuz 20:09
tried reframing that and say to people that are particularly people that say they just want to talk about the facts, or they just want to talk about the data. I have. I have tried reframing that and saying that, what one I think it shouldn't take much for most people to realise now that if all you're giving people is data, then those presentations just they're just too boring to the job. But also that the story that particularly very small anecdotal style story, that is you actually just backing up what you're saying. Because if you don't, if you have two options, you either going to back it up with data, which event which is boring, and is not going to do the job. Or you back it up with a story because you're not doing either, you're just giving opinions or statements to your audience. But like, while you're saying that, but where can I see that that's actually happening. So I can show you one vivid piece of data point, which I'm calling it a story, or I can show you all these graphs, ideally, I will do one so you understand and connect with it. And then I review the audit to back everything up. But I have said this to people, I said, Listen, if you can't give me a story, or you won't give me a story, I'm wondering, don't you have one? Or do you really know what's happening? Are you hiring? If you're talking about customer issues, if you really understand what the customer issue is, you can give me at least an example, a theoretical example of what it looks like for the customer. And then I can see to then give me all the data. So you know, I've tried convincing people that way. And again, I think it's always just just once you get them into the the I'm giving an example because it makes it easy for everybody to understand. And not I'm telling a story for some other reason, then it's slightly easier. I found I fully
Patti Sanchez 22:00
agree with that. I think of stories as another kind of data. I mean, it's not quantitative as qualitative, but it is yet another piece of evidence that you can share, to back up your claim exactly, as you said, it has helped me convince more analytically minded, scientifically oriented individuals to share a story. They just call it an example. And a great way to get at it is ask how do you know that to be true? So this is your assertion? This is the data this is the pattern you're saying is in the data? How do you know that to be true? Can you give me an example. And I think what you just said is a perfect one right there sharing some data about a trend in the customer base who tell me an example of a customer and organisation that is actually grappling with that. Tell me more.
Francisco Mahfuz 22:48
Yeah, I found that also asking how did you originally understand that what was happening? And they go, Oh, I was doing this thing. And then it just naturally it goes into it. So the other thing about about stories is that in neither of the books, so eliminate, you mentioned stories, you mentioned some examples of stories, as you have the business cases there that are stories. But what you don't do in in any of the two books is I couldn't find anything as how, you know, how do you actually tell a story or what makes up the structure of a story apart from the big structure that you're talking about? Now, to me, there's two possible reasons why why you didn't do that. One is because because you think that that's just people don't need that much detail to be able to do it. And the other one is they do but that's what they hire you for.
Patti Sanchez 23:42
Well, there's a third reason, which is the actual reason and that's because it's already been said better than I could have said it in Nancy's book Resonate. So eliminate came after resume presenting virtually came after illuminate and resonate and I cite resonate as a source and presenting virtually give a nod to the master. She explained beautifully, the hero's journey, and the three act story structure and then how to apply it to persuasive speeches and presentations in resonate. There's no need for me to retread doubt. And it would be disingenuous for me to claim that I that I'm the one who described it when she really discovered it and did it better than anyone could. Yeah,
Francisco Mahfuz 24:20
I got into that a bit with Jeff. I think I actually started the conversation with him by saying I thought I maybe had a bone to pick with him in the bonus about was about the hero's journey because this is one of the most common things I hear when I talk to people about storytelling is how they consider the hero's journey the worst. The worst way you can possibly teach anyone how to tell a story is bringing the hero's journey and because the main the main I think the main concept most people have and I mostly share that too is that I think for most people understanding what a story is and then finding the stories is is the bulk of the heavy lifting first story not for speech right speech. You're gonna need more. But just like if I if, if I just said to someone, I just want you to tell me a story, like any story about anything they first need to know said what I'm looking for, and then they just need to find one. And if I ask a few questions, they'll probably find it. And then you'll probably be able to just tell it. And I find, at least in my experience, and quite a number of people that I've spoken to about this, they tend to find that it's because you know, writing fiction, if I if you're gonna tell me when you join, like the story of you joining water, you know, you remember how it was, and I don't think at any point you necessarily go and then apply the hero's journey structure to that story, you're just gonna tell me the way you would tell me and maybe it's not the best story you ever tell? Because you haven't time crafted it. But it just never goes into that level of complexity, I think is what is essentially the complaint is that if you tell people it does they go, What am I doing with all the steps?
Patti Sanchez 25:53
Yeah, I wouldn't advocate that the hero's journey is a formula to use when writing a story for business communication. And that wasn't her intent and resonate anyway. Because then she simplified it down to the three act structure, which applies to all forms of stories in a very simple way. But I don't even think that's the way to discover a story. So I agree, um, you're, you're trying to catch a butterfly with, you know, something ridiculously large and difficult. That's how that's how my brain is working today. Not just within.
Francisco Mahfuz 26:28
It's very early, they're
Patti Sanchez 26:29
fatter. It's overkill, right? If with a fish net with a dragnet, right, when one of those giant ocean drag nets, you know, that you catch millions of tonnes of fish with and you just want a butterfly, okay, wow, that was the worst possible analogy I could have tried to use. But anyway, it's it's overkill so that the hero's journey is not a tool that you should use when you're interviewing a leader to try and uncover a story, especially because it's likely to make them really squirm. Not only is it long and complicated, but it goes into the deep psychological experiences that that the hero goes through on the course of that adventure. And most people aren't even aware of that level of psychic trauma in a work experience, let alone their lives
Francisco Mahfuz 27:18
of theirs, the subterranean river of emotions, as I believe you've got it.
Patti Sanchez 27:23
Right, exactly at my inmost cave. In the moment, when I raged against the darkness, you know, I mean, if we're even aware that we're having those experiences, we don't want to talk about them in our in polite company. So that's not a tool to use when you're trying to draw stories out at people and, and even, you know, the three act structure is is a crutch, you can fall back on when you're crafting the story, just making sure that it's got the main components to it. But that isn't the tool I would use to interview somebody, right? Like, as we were talking about earlier, you got to start simply, and with really big stretchy questions that give you a lot of room to to explore in, like, tell me how you got the idea to start this company? What was going on in your life at that time? And how did you realise that this was a problem that needed solving? Alright, tell me now about the moment when you finally got funding, and you realise that you could bring on some people to help you How did you decide who to bring with you and you know, I would unpack stages of their experience with this business to listen for nuggets that could be expanded into stories and what they may not actually realise is that whole process that they went through the past five or 10 years starting up this company actually probably does follow the hero's journey, but I'm gonna tell them that because they don't want therapy.
Francisco Mahfuz 28:45
I've seen I've seen someone I think it was John Zimmer was a speaker coach had done the podcast a while back and I think what he talked about was that he liked using the hero's journey as the stages as prompts so instead of thinking of it as a structure he just thought talk to people about you know, it was there a time where you you left your sort of normal life and when to do something different or you know, when there was a big change in your life was there someone like a mentor that helped you along the way or do you remember a time after you've you had been away for a while you had been doing a different job and then you went back to something you were doing before and you're kind of you know, you were a different person than when the beginning so he just uses those to get you the guy Yeah, no, no after uni I went back home and that type of that type so very sectional use of of those elements, instead of just thinking of it as a whole thing that you're going to do. Yeah, and
Patti Sanchez 29:43
similarly so we have a workshop based on illuminate and the in that workshop, we do some story mining and outlining and sharing. And we use a simple structure for the story recall exercise that follows the three act structure of a story and and so So in the beginning, one of the prompts is, think about a time when you decided to do something new, you felt called to do something. That's that's kind of the beginning of a journey. And that's the hero's journey. But just simply, when was a time when you felt called to do something significant? Or when were you sort of pushed to do something that felt like a really big stretch for you, maybe you were promoted, or put into a new situation by your boss or someone else? Tell us about that. Then there were stories about those middles of of experiences that you've had in your life, like when you ran into conflict with somebody? Did you ever have a nemesis? What was that conflict about? Or when you when you encountered sort of the biggest challenge that you've ever faced in your life? How did you overcome it to help you do that? And then there were stories about endings? I mean, what's what's what you consider the biggest success in your career? How did that come to be? What is the biggest failure you've ever experienced? What lesson did you take away from that, and those are jumping off points again, for personal stories. Now, there's another quick thing I want to say when we're talking about stories and that they don't always have to be about you and your own experiences. The way that I think about that there are three types of stories that are perspectives you can tell a story from theirs is stories, which are about me and my personal experiences. There are ways stories, which are about a group of people, it's our community, it's my team, it's the business. And there are they stories, they stories or stories about others, whether it's your customers, your competitors, you know, the the nemesis in the market that you're trying to beat, or it could be stories about people in another time. This is when we look back on history, and we say, you know, the Greeks, you know, we can learn this from them. Or we tell stories about football teams or other sports teams, and how they try off against all odds. So those are all choices that you have, it doesn't always have to be about you.
Francisco Mahfuz 31:56
While you were saying about sports teams. I I remember something I was chatting with, with Jeff, because we talked about the whole, you know, true, not true. Can you know, should you be telling fictional stories? I was I think it was talking to him about Bible stories. And it's easy to think that we shouldn't you know, this criticism you mentioned earlier, oh, but you know, it's not true, right. But I think no one would ever have a problem with us quoting something about the Greeks that we have no idea if it was true or not, or a fable, or, or a movie, if all you were trying to do is illustrate that idea that you're talking about, you're not trying to prove it with the story. You're just trying to get people to get a better feeling for what it looked like.
Patti Sanchez 32:41
Yeah, to frame it. Right. So this is like that. It's it's analogies and metaphors we can draw from those other sources of story that are true. I totally agree.
Francisco Mahfuz 32:52
I have someone I had on the show called Kelly Swanson, who is a storytelling speaker has been she's been on for a long time. And she's gone. She's gonna step further. She has a whole village of people that are fictional. And she tells stories about him. So she's just building and building the stories from these people. And she uses that on her keynotes normally. And she's always sort of going back and forth about like, you know, do I do I how many times I have to say that this is or indicate that this is like I made this people up, right just starts talking about the Mr. Whatever, the baker, and like, she's not giving any historical context that I don't remember the name of the city, there's the villages, but it doesn't mean sounds like maybe it could be in America somewhere. Because no one ever asked me has this really happening? Is it like a story about a baker? Right? It's about a baker, and you know, he loses his wife, whatever. Like it doesn't doesn't matter. Like you're 100% get what she was trying to do with the example. Nobody's trying to go if that person didn't really exist, and the whole thing you're talking about is bogus. It's just like, it was just to illustrate the point like no, she says, no one has ever asked her Is this true or not? Because I don't think we really care. Well, we
Patti Sanchez 34:00
do the same thing with personas, right? marketers do this a lot or developers when we develop fictional stories about people who are representative of our target audience, and that's okay. I think the question of whether it needs to be true or not relates to the level of certainty that people need, that what you're trying to teach them with this story is is reliable that this this is a proven thing, right. So I think a lot of times those personas are also used in teaching management principles. There are great management books that are fables, Who Moved My Cheese, and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team and there are other books that use false narratives to teach because they're, like you said, trying to teach a general principle but if I were trying to determine fruitless, high certainty that my team is dysfunctional, I would want to be sure that the five situations or the archetypes are what It is you're telling me your problems in a team are backed by data that's reliable that that actually is a real phenomenon. And that I can discern correctly that my people are, you know, actually dysfunctional or not dysfunctional or whatever, or using psychometrics or any engrams to, you know, type my team, I need some real evidence behind that before I can feel confident that I'm not going to make a mistake. But yeah, if you're trying to just illustrate a point, this is we're talking about innovation. And there were you know, there's there's sort of like Bob and the stick in the mud and are Sally the go getter. And these are the two mindsets that people can bring to innovation? Which one are you going to be Bob or Sally, that's that's a quick way to illustrate a concept. And I know you're not saying I'm Sally and ANOVA.
Francisco Mahfuz 35:45
Yes, I don't I mean, let me ask about stuff that you actually said. So, in the presenting virtually book, you you mentioned, at some point that there are three ways to story in a presentation, one of them is a discrete moment where you just tell the story, I think that's the most basic one. And then you have a couple of ones that I just wanted to talk a bit about. So the second one was, when you break a story into break into into scenes, and don't tell it all in one go, and the other one was using a story as a recurring theme in the presentation. Well, an example
Patti Sanchez 36:17
of that is how we've crafted our communication of Duarte around our vision. And so we a couple years ago, we announced to our team that we have this big grand ambition to transform millions of people around the world. And we call it our moonshot. And in that vision talk, we talked about a little anecdote of Kennedy, John F. Kennedy, and his, you know, we choose the moon speech in that moment in time and why it's significant to America. And is that's an example of using a story to kind of communicate an ambition, or connect to something you're trying to move people to do. And then what we could have done and we actually have done in other talk, since is take will actually the Apollo 13. Now So following on that theme of going to the moon, everybody's seeing the movie, Apollo 13 is fantastic. You know, there's sort of the the beginning of the mission, and everybody's excited. And we can talk about that in the beginning of a talk and then outline our strategy about how we're going to get there and then we're, then we need to address it, there might be some obstacles we've run into along the way. And Does everybody remember what happened with Apollo 13. And that mission, they had to abort their attempt to land on the moon and instead, figure out how they were going to innovate away to fix the craft and bring the astronauts home safely. So that's an example of how you might take components of the same story, the Apollo 13 mission and use little scenes, from that larger story at different points in a talk is, is our ambition is how we're gonna overcome challenges just like they did. And then the third example is really more metaphorically. So this idea of going to the moon has become a rallying cry at Duarte, and it is threaded throughout the vision talks. It's threaded throughout our quarterly updates. And it has become this metaphor, that gives us a shorthand way to talk about don't forget why we're doing this, because we have this ambition, and it's all worth it. So that's that's what I need.
Francisco Mahfuz 38:13
So are you trying to trying to get the the giraffes to the moon to or have the giraffes have been displaced by imagery?
Patti Sanchez 38:22
Yeah, there's been some pretty cute imagery of giraffes with little bubbles on their heads. Because yeah, there's definitely no oxygen or leaves for them to eat.
Francisco Mahfuz 38:30
Yeah, well, for anyone who thought thinks I completely lost my marbles just now. This is only illuminate I believe, right? Where where you talk about how one team leader at some point gave it like gave a draft and other employee years like, you know, well done, sort of present and then that became the thing that people got when they did a good job. He was giving the giraffe was the sort of the shortcut sentence and then Nancy change that to JIRA formations
Patti Sanchez 38:59
event. You nailed it. That's exactly what it is. So whenever we want to appreciate one of our colleagues, that Duarte we give them a giraffe formation and in the language of illuminate that's a symbol, but it's a symbol and the story behind it. And it's a story about our values and how we like to appreciate people.
Francisco Mahfuz 39:15
Yeah, I think they I don't remember if I seen it, I've seen a couple of people talk about a symbol out of a story. And it's something that it's probably very underused. And I think that because there are some stories that I've been told that not only I remember the sorrento remembered from the rest of my life. But I but I also remember sort of the line that came out of the story. It became a thing on its own. And there was this one, there was this one from Paul Smith was a storytelling speaker. So he went with his father on a secretary day and he went with his father to company lunch. And it this was in the 1970s or something. So this diner, there was only two meals for the day two choices. It was either it was either a club sandwich quiche. Alright, so there's all this executives and they have their female secretaries there. And then all the guys that are in the club sandwich or the the women or the quiche, and then they get to his father, his father says, Can I can I get like half a club sandwich and half occasion? Never have occasion. I'm kind of curious. And then all the guys started reading him was like, What are you and this was around the time in the US where there was a book called Real men don't eat quiche, and donate teeth. Yeah, it had just come out have become so they started giving him a real hard time. And he just starts escalating. And Paul was a kid, and he's just next to his dad is getting kind of embarrassed for his dad. And then the dad calls the waiter back, the waitress back and says, Listen, I'm sorry, can I change my order, and other guys started acting like, ah, we broke him. And he says, I'm not doing the club sandwich anymore. Just bring me a quiche. And then the guy's like, what's happening here. And then they bring him the key sheets, the quiche. And that became to Paul like a symbol of like, you know, just don't, don't go don't go with the crowd. Don't do what other people are telling you to do, just because they're telling you to do. And he says that in his house as he grew up. It's the quiche became that. So every time his father would think he was he was going down that path. He would say Poe eats the quiche,
Patti Sanchez 41:14
I love it. Well, that's great. Well, I think it's what you described is that symbols fall out of stories, they fall out, or they can be identified through story. And there they become mnemonic devices, little things that we see or hear or say or do that remind us of that story remind us of the lesson of that story. And they're especially powerful in business communication, because they can also align us around those things like the giraffe door, too, is just a shorthand way of knowing, remembering that we like to appreciate each other. And there are all kinds of symbols that might exist inside of business. A logo is a symbol, that kinds of means we send around the emoji that we use that Duarte we also we make heart symbols with our hands. But the other symbol that's really potent in our culture is applause. There are different kinds of symbols, there is things that you shows things that you say or hear like sounds. And applause is a sound that goes naturally with the business that we're in, you know, when a presentation goes really well, you want to hear a pause. And so we make a point of applauding each other. But we also had to do that in a different way in the virtual world. So now we do the ASL sign for applause when we're in virtual meetings together, but it's still a way for us to give speakers their their appreciation.
Francisco Mahfuz 42:34
And do you have any any strong opinion, when it comes to? How much I mean that nothing is a problem you ever have with executives, but you might have yourself is how much? How many stories could should you have in a presentation? Or how long should they be? Did you ever find yourself with with an abundance of stories in trying to like maybe I should get down here? There's just too many? Because I do I do have that issue. But I'm trying to balance my content I because you know, because often I'm talking about storytelling, and I'm trying to convince people about so it's like, I need to have a lot of stories. And then I think one of the last keynotes I did I counted that I had a story, even though you know, sometimes just like a three line story. But I had a story every six minutes. And I was looking at like it doesn't have enough stories and like counters like I've got 12 stories in a kitchen that keynote. I think I'm okay.
Patti Sanchez 43:27
That's a lie. That's yeah, that is it's practically an anthology of stories, but people would expect that at you, right? As a storyteller, I'm not a fan of hard and fast rules. I live in the grey, and I prefer it that way. So I always say, it depends what are you trying to communicate? And how, what kind of story first will help you communicate that point? And then that will tell me do I need to tell that story? That kind of story more than once, like, maybe I'm trying to I'm speaking about dei and the challenges our organisation has with being inclusive. And maybe I want to tell a couple of stories about people from different backgrounds, different perspectives who haven't felt welcomed in our organisation, you know, I'm speaking hypothetically. But that might be a good reason to tell multiple stories, because you want to represent multiple perspectives, people, different segments in your audience who need to feel heard, understood, acknowledged, sometimes it's just one story. So I think of a keynote that I helped a CEO of a big technology company, right? So the vision talk for his leadership team, and he was supposed to speak for something like 40 minutes, and he told his handlers, if I feel like going for 60, I'm going to go for 60. If I feel like going for 90, I'm going to go for 90 And he's like, Oh my god, please no,
Francisco Mahfuz 44:42
always the sign of a terrible speaker is who knows, could be 40 minutes could be two hours.
Patti Sanchez 44:47
Exactly. It's a roll of the dice. But their counsel to me was make sure he stays under 45 minutes, please. And so we did a lot of work together ahead of time to craft his talk. But anyway, I really wanted him to tell a story that would help people Understand this, this vision, and how he plans to get the organisation to it is very ambitious. And what I discovered in the course that the conversations with him over like three working sessions was that there was this really amazing story about his personal experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro that he did for charity, and he sort of swept it on the rug, it was not really a big deal. But I pressed him on to tell me more about why he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro. And what he learned in doing that it was a very difficult climb. And, and that it became clear that that would be a great metaphor for explaining this very ambitious vision that the company was undertaking. And so he ultimately used the story I wanted him to use, we laid out a strategy. And then there was one moment in that keynote when he said, it's a lot like climbing a mountain. And climbing a mountain is really difficult. And I've done it, let me tell you briefly about my experience doing that. And what I learned in doing that was that I can't get there alone. We had Sherpas, who carried my bags and gave me pain medication, we got to the top and they scrambled ahead of us and set up the camp. And that's what we need to be for each other. We all need to be service to each other as we try this attempt this really difficult climb. And so that was one story. It was probably 10 minutes long. But it encapsulated the whole strategy, but also made it very tangible to people and gave them a sense of emotional support, because he understood how hard it was going to be and that we all need to work together to do it. So anyway, one story can be really profound. And he did get a standing ovation,
Francisco Mahfuz 46:30
there's something quite ironic about what you just said, because almost every time you talk to any storytelling coach or speaker, coach, and we are talking about this idea that most people think they don't have stories, and then you have to dig it out of them. And you always, always, always hear people say is like, you know, everybody got in their head that our stories like I climbed Everest
Patti Sanchez 46:57
is yeah, it's in danger of becoming a trope. But it's it's something we talk about for a reason. And then illuminate as you recall, there's this shape, right, if the journey of change in this stage is dreamlike fight, climb arrive. Because doing difficult things feels like a struggle equivalent to climbing or ascending a very difficult slope.
Francisco Mahfuz 47:19
I would do that I'll talk briefly about illuminate and those stages. But I just wanted to ask you about two more things about stories and presentations. And then and then I'll get to that. So the first one is, is you said, you know, one story, maybe more stories? Did you ever think there's going to be a reason in the presentation of any reasonable length to have no stories? Oh, it
Patti Sanchez 47:37
happens all the time. And not necessarily because I advise it, but because like we talked about the very beginning leaders aren't all comfortable doing it. So this is where Duarte counsels that there are other ways you can use story principles to make that presentation. Interesting, which is what the sparkline is about that Nancy wrote about and resonate. You use the principle of contrast, which creates dramatic tension by juxtaposing what is against what could be and so you're you're borrowing some of the interesting qualities of a story without actually telling a story. Yeah,
Francisco Mahfuz 48:11
I, I that that one comes up a lot. There's a lot of people that that love the idea of story. Elements, I think, is that the term a lot of people use is story elements or story structure, or other than story. I've become a bit of a blowhard on that which is like, just have a story. You can have all the other things too, but just have a story that
Patti Sanchez 48:33
Well, you may not have time for a to write maybe it's a five or 10 minute long talk and and you also don't want to be that guy who everybody goes. Oh, I can. He's about to tell a story. The story weirdo. Yes, story, weirdo.
Francisco Mahfuz 48:47
But the story. Also, you also have to do the voice. You say I have a story for you. I was always that is a great star is never great. It's really fun. It's not fun,
Patti Sanchez 48:59
but a little Baray. And yeah, again, already. Weird,
Francisco Mahfuz 49:03
right? So that in the last one is this something I got from Kyndra Hall, perhaps the biggest keynote, Keynote start attending keynote speaker at the moment, or it was before COVID At least. And she said something which I like it because it's a play on the whole show. Don't tell. She says that when it comes to giving presentations, when you are telling the story tell don't show. So it was just against this idea of having slides, for example, that illustrate a part of your story because this is what she believes in. I think she's right, that when you tell your story, you want to play a movie in people's minds with your story. The moment you're in that movie is going to be about them. Usually. Now if I talk about my childhood, you're thinking of your child more likely in our mind. If I go and put a picture of my my street I grew up in it makes it a lot harder for you to remember the street you grew up in because you're now competing with the image you're seeing there. So if if you have a story In a keynote, would you illustrate it with images? Or you do like Kyndra doesn't just tell it you can
Patti Sanchez 50:06
or you can, it's not always necessary? I? It depends. Yeah, it depends. Well, we, we have an event that we host internally at Duarte called Speak up where a handful of employees get up on stage and tell stories. And many times they're personal, but everybody's presentation is different. And some of us are presented with no slides at all. Some of us have use slides, the principle I would use is it kind of goes back to specificity, that idea of how do you make something really tangible with a story very specific, and especially if it's a story where credibility matters, then showing an actual image of the actual house of the actual garage, that HP was started, if you feel at Packard, that that's meaningful and useful to use that actual image, but you don't need to use images all the way through that just use it to establish the credibility or this or the origin of view of the business and then tell the story from there. I think what she's getting at too, is ultimately what you want to do is transport your audience to that place. And the more you use images that don't match what's in their memory, or what don't match their own experience, the more difficult it's going to break the spell.
Francisco Mahfuz 51:13
Right. So so on the on the stages of that you guys describe illuminate. So there are five stages of anything. We're talking about movements, you're talking about any change projects, and the stages are dream, leap, fight, climb, arrive, and then read dream. But that's kind of like a continuation. So as soon as I started understanding what those meant, the first thing I I thought about was that I have small children, is that the fight stage? Do I ever arrive? When they leave, when they leave I arrive?
Patti Sanchez 51:47
Well, it's a fair question I arrive is a is a construct. And we never really arrive until we ultimately die, right? But when you're trying to manage a change effort, you need to manufacture moments that Mark milestones, whether that's the starting moment, we this is our kickoff, our launch party, the middle rally, where we get everybody back together and get their, you know, get their energy up again. And that because they're tired or worn out, and the ending moment where we celebrate, or we mourn. So we may not be done, the business hasn't shut down, we haven't achieved our goal. But we need to acknowledge that that particular season has come to an end. And we're about to move into a new season. And the reason you need to mark that ending is because you have to give people a moment, to feel feel their feelings about what they just went through and to tell the stories about it. And so with your kids, you know, every day is is an arrival. And you know, in my life, every morning is a dream. And every evening is arrival. And I could choose to be intentional about how I welcome you know, the start of a new thing. And the let go of the end of something.
Francisco Mahfuz 53:00
Well, I had some of my university friends here last night, we had been together or in the same place for, I don't know, 10 years, 15 years. I think I got home at three in the morning, and I was woken up by my kids at six. My morning was definitely not a dream.
Patti Sanchez 53:19
redrum you'd like to do it over right?
Francisco Mahfuz 53:23
Yes, yes. Yes. So the only question I have and this will be the last one is if you're called in at the beginning of a change process, then I can I can clearly see how you can envision the stages and you can plan what goes here what goes I mean, to some extent, but you can say okay, we're going to kick off this way. And then we'll see how we play out as things go on. But is it? Does it also happen that you're called into an organisation? And then you have to identify where they are? And then work backwards from there? Yeah,
Patti Sanchez 53:55
absolutely. And it starts by gauging talking to people engaging the sentiment, the mood of people in the organisation, and you know, how far along they are in their adoption of the idea or whatever. And sometimes you've got people in different stages. Some people are far along their incline, they've already executed and are seeing success on the chain strategy. And some other people are all the way back and dream because they never understood it. It wasn't made clear how they were supposed to execute on it. And so you need to start at the beginning. So it can be complicated, but it begins with listening.
Francisco Mahfuz 54:28
Yeah, I found that in a way maybe this is not new, because because you've guys been doing this for a while, but I I find that of all the all the issues I occasionally have with the hero's journey that might be to me the most uncontestable way of using hero's journey in businesses because I find it very I mean I'm sure you can find different structures for for a change initiative or or a process that a company is going through But but it's almost impossible to find any way to describe those stages that they're not going to have. Most of those things are described that I mean, he there's going to be, you know, there's going to be a dream and a leap of some kind, we're going to call it a line chair kickoff, but but they're essentially there. Even if you put them together, there's going to be a fight somewhere. And then, you know, the rising, the rising action or the climb, and you hope that you arrive one way or the other. You might, you might be dead on arrival, but you're arriving or the other. So I, to me is one of the it was one of those things again, this, I guess, this is why it's the monomyth. And it goes back forever. When you see them go? Well, this makes complete sense. This doesn't feel like a theory seven has say, you know, says you know, you've uncovered it, you would have invented it?
Patti Sanchez 55:52
No, absolutely. It was more like an archaeological dig. And there's something underneath all of this. And what is that underlying structure? Yeah. And I think it's, it's, it feels true, because it is also what we experienced on our lives. We've all gone through this and whether you want to call it the hero's journey or not, it is it is what you're living.
Francisco Mahfuz 56:11
Yeah, I I hear noises coming from the other side of my door. I think the fight stage is different. It On that note, your new book presenting virtually has been out now for just a few weeks. Right? Yeah. And I guess that can be found anywhere. Books are found, correct? Yes. And for anyone so the so the two books have mentioned we talked about presented virtually a lot today. We talked about illuminate ignite change the speeches, stories, ceremonies and symbols, which is still out there. And that one has been around for a while. Five years, right?
Patti Sanchez 56:44
Yeah. And so yeah, so both are available on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble and all of those places
Francisco Mahfuz 56:49
in the world. And we did mention briefly, Nancy has a very famous book, which was resonate. And if anyone wants to see more of anything Europe to should they go to Duarte, should you do they find you and I think you send people to LinkedIn, right?
Patti Sanchez 57:03
Yes, yes, I connect with people who reach out to me on LinkedIn. So you can find me on there as Patty Sanchez,
Francisco Mahfuz 57:08
you do their ministry?
Patti Sanchez 57:11
Yes, most people. Is this a test? No, you
Francisco Mahfuz 57:15
connected with me? I do. Thank you. It is proof. You know, because a lot of people say that, and then you send them a message. And that is just radio silence. You did I send you a message in a day or two, a day or two later, you came back to me?
Patti Sanchez 57:29
And here we are. Yes. And there's more information on duarte.com. Do you ar t.com about everything that we do? And a little bit about me too.
Francisco Mahfuz 57:37
Okay, perfect. Well, thank you very much for your time, Patti. This has been a pleasure. Thank you so much. Alright, everyone. 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 the show and scroll down a little and when you see the stars tab. I'd really appreciate it and it does help other people find us. 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 powers.com