#42: Great Leaders Tell Great Stories with Robert Mattson

Robert founded INTRIGUE (formerly ITM Speakers) based on the idea that communication started with intrigue and ended with impact. He guides the company using lessons learned from decades as a high-tech marketing executive at companies such as ADP, Ceridian and SmashFly Technologies, and skills he's developed as an actor, playwright, programmer, electrical engineer, photographer, videographer, and musician. Robert has been on stage at national and international events as well as being published by such wide-ranging places as the Java Developer's Journal, The Compensation Handbook, and Concord Theatricals.

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. Tell the whole story. Rather than simply present the facts, be sure to take your followers on a journey. Appeal to their need for relevance, relatability, and reassurance.
  2. Practice makes persuasive. You’ve likely seen a smooth and polished storyteller before. What you didn’t see is the number of hours and cringey attempts they put into honing those skills. Make a similar investment in your own storytelling.
  3. Make it stick. The benefits of a great story last long after the telling is done. The emotional shift you create can help those around you get over their obstacles and warm up to change.

From the Source

“Storytelling is the way that our minds absorb and store information.”

"It's actually putting information into a format that the brain will naturally absorb and remember, and using all of the different elements of storytelling to hit all the levers in the brain. So not only remember and store this, but store it in a place where you are going to call upon it early. It's basically putting it at the top of the stack.​”

“Leadership is sales. You're just selling an idea, not a product.”

“It's showing your passion because how do you expect people to be passionate about something unless you can convey your passion in it? And if you are stuck in this whole features, facts, function world of ‘I'm going hit all the logical triggers’, but you don't transmit the passion to people, they're not going to be able to apply their passion to the project in which you need them to buy into.“

“The funny thing is this: tell an authentic story, even if it isn't yours as long as it resonates with you. You could share that story and say, ‘I heard this from my friend yesterday’, but if it means something to you, your authenticity will go through that story just as effectively—I should say, nearly as effectively—as a story of your own.“

“A lot of people are afraid that they can't tell a story. Well, it's a skill like any other, it can be taught. It can be learned. It can be practiced. Oh God, please practice! It's one of those things where people have to practice.”

“if you know the structure and you know how to do an effective story, you can actually. Overcome the bad habits or not be afraid of the good ones. and there's a balance between detail and brevity, and you have to have enough detail to make the story interesting and real. But you need to know when to edit yourself and cut it off to the point where it's not going to get too long.”

“Can, can I just talk about PowerPoint for one second? It's the great crutch, the necessary evil, and the villain of many stories. It can be an effective thing, and it's good to have visuals. Visuals are very powerful. The thing is that when I talked about editing yourself, that's the biggest thing that when I work with companies, and I take a look at their standard decks and I get to say: ‘Who owns the narrative on this slide? Do you own the narrative, or is it a pick your own adventure for the person looking at it? Because if it's a pick your own adventure, what you're doing is saying, please ignore me.’“

“In the beginning, you have to prove that you're worth listening to really quickly. You've got about 30 seconds to get people interested and to prove that you're worth listening to. Don't waste the time on, ‘Hey, this is my company, and this is where we're founded, and how many employees we have.’ No one cares. You haven't earned the right for them to care. So how are you going to open with some intrigue, something interesting that you're going to teach them?“

“You don't want to win the hour you're with someone. You want to win the five minutes after you leave. They're still remembering you.”

“Metaphor takes people out of their world, takes them away from their core objections and gets them starting to agree with you.” “We don't have to just be in sales to think we need to tell better stories. If you're a leader, you need to invest in learning how to tell great stories.”

“Let's take it from a pure leader perspective. You are putting forth a policy change, or maybe you're acquiring a company or maybe you're changing direction of your company. People are going to be looking at that after you're done, and they go back to their desk, and they're thinking, ‘okay, do I buy into this?’ And you could give 'em all the logic you want, but they're going to be relying on what feels right.“

“When it gets down to shifting the mindset of your employees or your partners or your investors, don't be afraid of using the same tools of storytelling that you would in a sales process because again, you are pitching ideas, and you want to get them leaning a certain way.“

Connect with Robert

Website: http://www.intrigue.cc

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mattsonr/

“Stories from the Silver Screen” Reference

The Anatomy of Story by John Truby: https://amzn.to/4660A5J