biggest weapon in storytelling

#34: The biggest weapon in storytelling

In this podcast, I will converse with Fred Wauters about storytelling, vulnerabilities, and managing your energy. But who is Fred?

Fred has been working as a content Guru and (copy)writer for the last 15 years. He’s also been a journalist, a high school teacher, a Krav Maga instructor, and a professional musician. But Fred mostly focuses on producing content, which includes storytelling. He shared with me that storytelling has been around for as long as humans exist, but that somehow, over the last couple of decades, we have lost our way in it. With more and more complex and rational models being invented and used, we rationalize our decisions and sometimes forget to take into account our feelings and emotions.

This starts to become a problem because if you really want to reach and move someone in a certain way, you need to talk to their limbic and reptilian brain, which is responsible for emotion and not ration. But why? Why can’t we just persuade our colleagues, clients, or friends with pure logic?

The one ingredient that storytelling has over persuading someone rationally, is vulnerability. Because people can often relate more to other people’s flaws than to their strengths. By sharing a personal story and showing your vulnerabilities, people will relate and be open to the message you are trying to give.

“Okay, okay, I get it. Using your emotions is important, but I find it hard to apply these concepts in my own stories… I can’t just craft a story around a message I’m trying to send, can I?”

For all of you out there who are struggling with this, or want to learn more tips about crafting a story, read these three tips Fred gave me to improve your storytelling!

1- Be truthful

To tell a good story, it is important to be authentic and honest. This is because it is very hard to recreate or transfer feelings if you have not felt that way in a particular situation. You can also tell a story about someone who is close to you if the lesson in the story is great for your particular audience.

2- Be personal but don’t brag

It can be a difficult task to make a story about yourself, without making it about yourself. What I mean by that, is that you can share personal things in your story, but don’t brag about your accomplishments. Your story should be relatable and you need to be likable for people to be open to receiving your message. And this leads me to my next point, which is:

3- Be vulnerable

People often pretend that they are super and that they have got no problems. They think that showing weakness will lead to pity and will result in people thinking that they cannot perform the way they used to anymore. But if you show your weaknesses and not necessarily your strengths, your audience will empathize with you and be open to hearing what you have to say. Pretending can be hard and will cost you a lot of energy in the end, so don’t be afraid to be vulnerable!

Vulnerability and managing energy

Fred also shared with me that, unfortunately, he has been diagnosed with cancer. We talked about how he deals with this major vulnerability and how important it has become for him to manage his time and energy to be successful in his career and fight off the disease at the same time. The three tips Fred gave us are directly linked to his core values. 

At first, he was hesitant of telling his clients, but how could he lie and keep a straight face about something so impactful and fundamental? Maintaining appearances also takes a lot of energy, which he sometimes simply doesn’t have. He decided to be honest about it and told his partners and clients about his disease. He also has a blog in which he talks about the challenges of coping with cancer. Most of his clients were very supportive and understanding. Now that all cards were on the table, he could still deliver good results, while also being able to rest when he had chemotherapy. Fred says opening up about his cancer and showing his vulnerability was one of the best decisions he made in his life.

Another thing that is important while dealing with stress or illness, is managing your energy. Sometimes, when you get feedback on a report or text you made, you can feel stressed or tired. And when you feel that way, it becomes easy to take the feedback personally and become mad about it. If that happens, try to walk away and set another time to receive the feedback. Because the feedback usually isn’t really about you, but about something you have done. And if you have the energy to accept that, you can get back to work, learn new skills, and improve older ones.

If you want to find Fred, be sure to check his websites below. Also, check out the podcast if you enjoyed reading this and subscribe if you want more 😊. See you later!

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