This is the final episode in the Get Connected–Stay Connected series, and Dr. Misner is doing it without a guest.
There are some great places to tell stories on BNI Connect.
When you edit your profile, under My Bio, you’ll find several topics like “My burning desire is to” and “Something that no one knows about me,” and “My keys to success.” There are a lot of places to tell your story in writing.
Here is Dr. Misner’s formula for storytelling. The most important suggestion is: re-live a story, don’t re-tell a story. The more you can engage in the emotion of the situation, the more impact it will have. Here are four points to remember.
- A story is a fact
- Wrapped in an emotion.
- It compels us to take action.
- It transforms us in some way.
For some good examples of stories, look at BNISuccessNet.com and look at “My BNI Story” and “I’m Connected.”
On BNI Connect itself, there’s a group called “Why BNI” which includes some great stories from BNI members.
The best place to find stories is your own experiences.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of BNI Podcast Episode 372 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast brought to you by the NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, CA. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you?
I am doing great, Priscilla, and this is the last month in the Get Connected, Stay Connected series. We have been doing this now for 12 months and this one is Tell a Story. IT kind of wraps up everything that we have covered in previous months. Things like building your visibility, engaging in network communication, get to know your referral source, thank you for closed business, inviting visitors, promoting fellow members, joining a group, starting a group, thanking referral sources. These are just some of the ones that we have talking about. This is the twelfth month and it is about telling stories.
And I love telling stories so they asked me to do this one, and that is what I am going to do today. There are a couple of places where you can do this. I am going to talk about telling stories in kind of a general term. Right on BNI Connect, there are some great places that you can actually tell stories.
In BNI Connect, when you edit your profile, go to the My Bio icon, which is right underneath your name. It looks like a little sheet of paper, Bio. Click on that. See My Bio. There are lots of places where you can actually put some stories in there, like “My burning desire is to…” and then you can fill that in. “Something that no one know about me” or “My keys to success”.
Of course, there are a couple of places to do commercials where you can talk about your business. Your TOPS profile, your ideal referral, your top product- so there are a lot of places where you can tell a story and write in.
What I want to talk about is from the perspective, a little broader because a lot of people do storytelling live in person. They talk to people about their experience in BNI. That is really what we are talking about here, is that storytelling is about sharing your experiences. If you get to be really good at that, you substantially improve your chances of getting referrals and closing sales because people don’t want just the facts. They want a little bit of the story behind it, something that motivates people that really gets people’s interest.
So I have a few suggestions on storytelling. The first, I think, is a real important one. It is relive a story, don’t retell a story. So if you have had an amazing experience or you know a member who has had an amazing experience and you are going to share that with someone else, you want to share part of your BNI experience with someone else, relive the story, don’t retell the story.
If anyone has ever seen me speak, I think they would acknowledge that I tend to relive the story not just retell it. The more you can really engage in the emotion of the situation, the more impact that it has when you are talking to someone else. The first recommendation is to relive a story. Don’t retell a story.
Now, I am going to give you what I think is the perfect formula for a good story.
Okay, it is four points. If you want to tell a really good story, you first relive it, but here are four points to remember to continue to relive that good story. One is, a story is a fact or a series of facts, so give a little bit of information. That is number one.
Number two, it’s wrapped in an emotion. It might be something that impressed you. It might be something that, you know, tugs on your heartstrings. It’s a fact wrapped in an emotion.
Number three and four are really important. Number three is that it compels us to take action, or compels someone else to take action. It is that fact wrapped in an emotion that makes people go, I can do that or I want to do that.
Number four wraps it altogether in a nice bow, and that is it transforms us in some way so that the story in some way transforms someone. By compelling them to take action, it transforms them in some way.
Last week, we talked about BNI changing the way the world does business. Part of the discussion that we had with Jacob- I really think that changing the way the world does business is all about helping people to take action and that that action transforms them.
That is what storytelling is all about. If you can give an example to someone about how something really worked or someone’s experience, it makes them want to do it, too. And by them wanting to do it too, it changes their life. It changes their business. To me, that is a great formula for storytelling.
Some of you may be thinking, “Well, okay, that all sounds good, but give me some examples.”
I am going to refer the listeners to a few places that they can go to to get some good examples of stories. The first is BNISuccessNet.com. If you want some really good examples of BNI stories, you have to go to BNISuccessNet.com. There are two places there that you just consistently see great BNI stories.
As a matter of fact, when I did a presentation at a big BNI conference a couple years ago, I went to this first one. Actually, I went to both of these and I got some amazing stories that BNI members shared. These are members in their own words sharing their stories.
“So the two sections are “My BNI Story”- go to BNISuccessNet.com and go to “My BNI Story”. And the second one is “I’m Connected”. Now, the beauty of “I’m Connected” is that it fits perfectly with the theme of this podcast, which is in the Get Connected, Stay Connected series. This is the storytelling piece of it. Well, that is exactly what happens in the “I’m Connected” part of our newsletter. These are some amazing stories from BNI members all around the world on how BNI Connect has helped them in business in some way or another.
Some of them are truly, truly remarkable stories about referrals that they got from all around the world or business that they got from all around the world. Just some incredible stories there. So “My BNI Story” at BNISuccessNet.com and “I’m Connected”- two great places for storytelling.
On BNI Connect itself, there is a group. The group is called “Why BNI?” It is a group that I run, so go log in to BNI Connect, look for the group “Why BNI?” and you will see that there are often great stories there from members of BNI and oftentimes, people who share stories there, I often have them go publish them on SuccessNet. On the BNI Connect group, “Why BNI?” you can see some great stories there as well.
Lastly, going back to SuccessNet.com, articles. There are oftentimes article written by members and directors with some great stories.
So one last thought, and then if you have any questions for me, Priscilla, I would love to take them. One last thought- first and foremost, the best place to find stories are your experiences. Take a look at some of these stories that I have talked about. Think about the formula I have given you. Relive the story, don’t retell it. 1Facts, wrapped in an emotion, compels people to take action and transforms them in some way.
Look at some of these stories that others have shared and then think about your experiences because, really, your own story is often one of the best stories to share because it is very personal to you. I share a lot of stories from members that are really, really good, but oftentimes, the stories that happened to me personally are the most compelling.
Give some thought to that. Jot it down. Write it up. Share it here on the podcast. As a matter of fact, I love that idea. If you have a great story from BNI, something amazing that happened to you, post it here on the podcast. I have mentioned this here before, but I read ever message that gets posted here on BNI.
So that is all of the material I have for today, Priscilla. Any thoughts?
Yeah, I have a question for you. So I have heard you give speeches, and you give wonderful stories, really funny, engaging stories. You do relive them. They seem almost like they just happened when you tell them. My question is when did you become a good storyteller and how did you become a good storyteller?
Well, you know, I did have speech classes in high school and in college. Those classes kind of gave me the technical skills in doing presentations. But the truth is the thing that is more important than those technical skills is the practice. Practice, practice, practice. And preparation. You know, prepare when you are telling a story.
What I do- okay, I am talking about a keynote presentation, so this is way more than what the average member needs to do. When I do a keynote, I usually put about 30-50 hours into preparing a one hour keynote presentation.
Clearly, you don’t have to do that kind of preparation, but you need to prepare. You need to practice your story. Practice on a few people. You know, try it out a few times. It’s amazing how the story can evolve in the way you tell it. I am not saying change the story, but changing the way you tell it, the timing, is really important. That means you need to tell it a few times, so practice is really important.
And practice speaking. Now, in BNI you have a great opportunity to speak every week so that helps, but the more comfortable you get with speaking and the more you practice different stories, the better you become at it.
Does that answer your question?
Yeah, although my question was a little more personal, directed to you but it was was about when did you become a great storyteller? You did talk about college, but did you always have an interest in telling stories when you were younger?
No, it would, in a way, go back to my answer. It went to practicing. I think I was forced to practice when I took high school speech and college speech. I was pretty much forced to do it because you have to regularly stand up and talk and you have to hone that skill. So by being in that environment- and I enjoyed speaking. So I am probably a repressed stand up comic because I love to tell humorous stories. I did that a lot in school. Through the practice, I think I became a better storyteller.
It really does take practice for me. I don’t think anyone is a born storyteller. You might have certain skills, but you really have to hone it and practice it. I can tell you when I really started to hone it was 1982. I had a management consulting business. It was a year or two before I started BNI. Actually, it would be ’83. I did the rubber chicken circuit for about two years. I went to every Rotary, Lions and Kawanas club in southern California that I possibly could. I think I spoke at about 110 groups in a period of about two years.
If you want to become a good presenter and storyteller, do 110 presentations in two years.
Yeah, I bet.
Actually, it was the same presentation 110 times. You really hone your skill. So that is my answer. Practice, practice, practice and preparation. Have some strategies and implement them and adjust. When I do a keynote presentation, it changes over the year so that it may start off with certain material and over time, I actually usually edit it back, edit it down because I expand the stories a little bit.
I have probably given you way more information than you wanted.
No, absolutely not. I love all of it, so that is great.
Well, thank you and thanks, everyone, for being part of the Get Connected, Stay Connected series. Just so you know, this whole series was developed by John Meyer and his team, a US National Director, to help increase engagement with BNI Connect, and it has been really successful. Engagement in BNI Connect has gone up dramatically over the last year and I am absolutely certain that this Get Connected Stay Connected series has helped in doing that.
I invite you all again to get on to BNI Connect and join my “Why BNI?” group or the “From the Founder” group and get connected with me. I look forward to seeing your posts here on the podcast and seeing you on BNI Connect.
Okay. You are so welcome. Thank you, Dr. Misner. Well, I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been to you NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice, and we hope you will join us next week for another exciting episode of The Official BNI Podcast.