JamBerry Ltd

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Ways to Design Stories For Business and Presentations (part 3)

 This is the third in a series of posts about designing stories for business and presentations. Stories are so important because, done well, they evoke emotion. And as John Medina explains in Brian Rules:

"When the brain detects emotion the amygdala release dopamine into the system - aids memory and information processing. "
1.                  Create a picture association. People relate to pictures in very different ways to words. Pictures can be absorbed and read at very different levels. There has been a lot of study to look at people's eye movements in relation to pictures and which elements of a picture they go to first.  

2.                  Create a word association. If the important part of a story is to get people to remember particular points then using certain key words that evoke an emotion each time they are used can be very powerful. If for example you have 3 key concepts that you need to get across, can they be reduced to simple words or phrases and how can you build a story around them?

3.                  Start at the end. A trick often used by Hollywood. By starting at the end and then going back to provide an explanation of how the characters got there.

4.                  When, Where, What, Who, Why, How? Ask these questions and fill in the gaps. Goes well with no. 5

5.                  Use Mind Maps. If you haven't used Mind Maps before then learn how to do so. They are great for creating ideas and then finding the links.

6.                  List of characters, emotions, place, time. This is another way to find different elements of a story.

7.                  Look at storylines of films/books/TV and substitute different elements. Most stories have already been written. Whether it is in great classics or soaps, stories remerge, reworked and with new names but often the same outcomes.

8.                  Create a journey. Most stories are about journeys from A to C via B. They are journeys of discovery about self, about others, about power and frailty, about selfishness and selflessness. It is the settings that change.

If you would like help finding your stories, get in touch.

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Creating Your Own Stories for Business and Presentations (Part 2)

Looking to create stories for your business? Stories are so powerful as they combine emotion, action, heros and villains and can really bring your business and presentations to life.

To start with you need to ask yourself a series of questions.

             What is the goal of your story? What do you want to happen as a result of telling your story?

             What’s in it for the audience? Why should they be interested? Why is it important that they listen?

             How much do they already know? If an audience is new to an area, how can you make your story simple enough to introduce them to a brad concept when they don't have the detail?

             What do you want your audience to spontaneously recall? What do you want people to walk away with?

o   That the lemon was orange? (ie not what they first thought.)

o   That the product is fun? (ie: it makes them smile when they think about it.)

o   An image of the bright red balloon? (ie. a specific picture.)

o  It made me sad, but happy? (ie. a specific emotion)

o A shocking fact (one that is difficult to shift from your mind)

             Where is the best place to use your story in the presentation?

o   The beginning - to capture attention and make sure that they have got the gist.

o   The middle - to recapture attention.

o   The end - to leave them with an emotional feeling to remember.

People's attention span is short. So using stories at strategic points cannot only be used to create contrast,  evoke emotion, explain difficult topics well, but it can also bring people's attention back to your narrative. Have fun with them!

Monday 5 December 2011

Using Stories in Business (Part 1)

Using Stories in Business

I recently watched a comedian strutting his stuff on stage and was struck by his ability to tell a simple story and have the audience respond with gales of laughter. What was it he was doing that was so successful? After all he was only telling a story about buying Christmas presents with his wife. The trials and tribulations, the misunderstandings, the ultimate denouement and the punchline. The story itself was very simple and ordinary but what he was doing was very clever. He was tapping into other people's perceptions and experiences and turning them on their head. Like most great comedy, it was taking the ordinary, making it extraordinary and evoking emotion along the way.

For centuries we have used stories to pass on information. But in much of modern business life we have forgotten how to use them effectively. This is particularly true when it comes to presentations. We all know that there are millions of presentations made every day, the majority of them less than riveting. So what can you do to stand out from the crowd and make you presentations really memorable?

 Stories Stick

But why are stories so powerful? The impact of stories lies in the fact that they provoke emotion which is known to be a major influencer in maintaining interest and memory retention.

The brain processes meaning before detail. So starting your presentation with a story so that people get the gist of what you are going to say and then going into the detail improves both concentration and understanding.

It provides a series of hooks on which to hang further explanation. So you can refer back to the story and say "so when the comedian said....the audience rocked with laughter!"

By adding relevant stories at suitable intervals throughout the presentation it is possible to introduce new ideas and spark new interest and re-engage through emotion at a point when the attention might be flagging.

So next time you create a presentation, try starting with a relevant story. It doesn't have to be funny unless you are confident that you can make people laugh. If you can't immediately think of one, pinch a story line from somewhere else such as a movie or a fairy tale. Just make sure you create a relevant link.

Want to find out more about creating stories for presentations or training? We provide story telling coaching to help you find your own stories.  

Tuesday 1 November 2011

Stress - The 7 C's

Stress - The 7 C's

In time for National Stress Awareness Day, here are the 7 C's behind Stress and what you can do about them.
Stressor No. 1 - Poor COMMUNICATION

       Poor communication leads to misunderstanding, missed opportunities, bad feeling. 
       Assertive communication helps deal with these. Learning  good communication skills can help you at work and at home.

Stressor No. 2 - Lack of CAPABILITY
       If you have not been trained to do a job then is it fair to expect you to do it well?
       Give yourself the best possible chance to do well by getting the best possible training for the job in hand.
Stressor No. 3 - Too little CAPACITY
·        Not having enough capacity to deal with day-today issues can lead to a sense of overwhelm which can be overpowering and cause you to want to give up or walk away.
·        This may be a case of needing to review your work life balance or getting yourself organised.
·         It may be the case that you need to learn how to say "No."
·        Make sure you review where you are in your life, the things you want to keep and the things you want to walk away from. Now work out a plan to do just that.
Stressor No. 4 - Loss of CONTROL
       People get stressed about a situation because they feel out of control.
       Different people react in different ways to loss of control and will use different strategies to  get back to a level of acceptable control for them .
       Learning how you react to loss of control and the strategies that you use, can help you to understand what you might do differently.
Stressor No. 5 - Dealing with CHANGE
       Many people don’t like change and get very stressed as a result.
       The first steps to dealing with change is to accept it is inevitable and then deal with the consequences rather than the fact itself.
       Learn to embrace change so it doesn’t scare you as much.
Stressor No. 6 - Resolving CONFLICT
For those of us who don’t like conflict, it can be a major source of stress. Learning to deal with it can be a major benefit. There are many ways of dealing with conflict, dependent on your situation. Here are a few:
1.       Don't take the bait.
2.       Consider the underlying causes. Is it obvious why someone is upset?
3.       Pause before you react. This will give you thinking time.
4.       Check your own behaviour. Is it part of the problem?
5.       Listen.
6.       Acknowledge that they may be correct in part of their concern.
7.       Be willing to negotiate if appropriate.
8.       Remain assertive.
9.       Stay in adult.
10.    Look for warning and danger signs.
11.    Check your distances.
12.    Avoid competing.
13.    Think Win/Win.
14.    Be prepared to deal with emotion and anger.
15.    Be aware, be alert.
16.    Know your legal position.
Stressor No. 7 - Dealing with a CRISIS
       We all have to deal with crisis from time to time, whether it is personal or at work. Knowing how you are likely to react will help you plan on how to deal with things in the future.
       Crises can hit us at anytime. Illness, a death in the family, divorce, bad debt. Unfortunately they are all too common. And can really knock you for six when they happen.
       If you are dealing with a crisis, make sure that you have the support mechanisms in place to help you as much as possible,. This might include medical and legal professionals, friends and family, a coach or counsellor.
Want to find out more about how you can manage stress more effectively? Here are some useful links:
De-Stress You- Kindle Version
Useful Guides from Pansophix including:  A Useful Guide to De-Stress You,  A Useful Guide to Resolving Conflict, A Useful Guide to Create a New You - by Berry Winter
For Stress Coaching -

For a variety of online products -

Tuesday 19 July 2011

Managing Conflict - CUDSA

When you are in a conflict situation, in the heat of the moment it can sometimes be difficult to remember what to do. There are a number of acronyms that may help you to remember. The first is:


Confront the behaviour

Understand each other's position

Define the problem

Search for a solution

Confront the behaviour

Concentrate on the behaviour not the person. Ask then to modify their behaviour so that you can talk about the issue.
I feel uncomfortable when you say xxx. Please can we discuss this calmly so that we can get to the problem.
Understand each other's position

Take the time to understand the other's position. Is it a real issue, or is it based on misunderstanding? Have you got all of the information, or only part of the story? Respect their position and ask them to respect yours.
Please tell me slowly what you think the issue is. Please then listen to my reply.
Define the problem

Get into the detail, but try not to react by becoming defensive, sulking, aggressive or other negative behaviour. Repeat back to the other party, your understanding of their side of the story. Stay in adult.
I understand that you feel ..., and that you have an issue with ..., and that the reason behind this is ... Is this correct?
My position is ...
Search for a solution

This involves cooperation. Search for a win-win solution wherever possible. The best solution is one where each party feels that they have gained at least part of their point if not all.
I suggest that I will agree to ... if you are happy to give me ... This way we both gain something positive.

Get an agreement - even if it is an agreement to differ. Make sure any agreement is stated clearly and unambiguously. If necessary, write it down.
In these (...) circumstances, I agree to ... and you agree to ... If things substantially change then we will review this agreement.

Monday 20 June 2011

Top 10: Ways to Lead by Example

Good leaders must lead by example. Through their actions, which are aligned with what they say, they become a person others want to follow. When leaders say one thing but do another, they erode trust, a critical element of productive leadership. Here are 10 of the dozens of ways to lead by example.

1. Take responsibility. Blame costs you your credibility, keeps team members on the defensive and ultimately sabotages real growth.

2. Be truthful. Inaccurate representation affects everyone. Show that honesty really IS the best policy.

3. Be courageous. Walk through fire (a crisis) first. Take calculated risks that demonstrate commitment to a larger purpose.

4. Acknowledge failure. It makes it OK for your team to do the same and defines failure as part of the process of becoming extraordinary.

5. Be persistent. Try, try again. Go over, under or around any hurdles to show that obstacles don’t define your company or team.

6. Create solutions. Don’t dwell on problems; instead be the first to offer solutions and then ask your team for more.

7. Listen. Ask questions. Seek to understand. You’ll receive valuable insights and set a tone that encourages healthy dialogue.
8. Delegate liberally. Encourage an atmosphere in which people can focus on their core strengths.

9. Take care of yourself. Exercise, don’t overwork, take a break. A balanced team, mentally and physically, is a successful team. Model it, encourage it, support it! 

10. Roll up your sleeves. Like Alexander the Great leading his men into battle, you’ll inspire greatness in your company.

 Find out more about how to lead your team and deal with difficult behaviour. Visit Dealing with Difficult Behaviour

Tuesday 29 March 2011

Build a successful team - interview

Trying to put together a team? Want to understand the process and what happens when you start to create a new team. David Mellor interviews Berry Winter about building teams and teambuilding. Team building should be more than just having a fun day out. In the interview we review the Tuckman model of forming, storming, norming and preforming. Below is an MP3 recoding of the interview.

Check out the Team Building Interview with Berry Winter

Monday 28 March 2011

Ever wondered what a Johari window was?

The Johari window is named after Joseph Luft and Harry Ingham. It is a model of human interaction, leadership and influence and how and what we choose to reveal about ourselves.

Check out the video.