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“The	  Secret	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  of	  a	  Storyteller”	  By	  Maarten	  Schäfer	  
I	  have	  this	  joke	  I	  use	  to	  make	  a	  las<ng	  impression	  when	  I	  first	  meet	  people.	  Instead	  of	 ...
A	  few	  years	  later	  it	  struck	  me:	  	  brand	  representa<ves	  have	  trouble	  telling	  their	  story	  for	 ...
Maarten	  Schäfer	  is	  Founder	  and	  Crea<ve	  Mind	  of	  CoolBrands	  He	  is	  storytelling	  Guru	  and	  is	  hel...
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The secret of a storyteller

I have this joke I use to make a lasting impression when I first meet people. Instead of saying “I have dyslexia”, I say “I have sex daily”. I say it with a totally straight face, which makes people unsure of what I just said.

“You have what?” they ask.

And with the same straight face I say, “I have dyslexia. You know: difficulties reading, a short attention span, mixing up words…”

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The secret of a storyteller

  1. 1. “The  Secret                of  a  Storyteller”  By  Maarten  Schäfer  
  2. 2. I  have  this  joke  I  use  to  make  a  las<ng  impression  when  I  first  meet  people.  Instead  of  saying  “I  have  dyslexia”,  I  say  “I  have  sex  daily”.    I  say  it  with  a  totally  straight  face,  which  makes  people  unsure  of  what  I  just  said.  “You  have  what?”  they  ask.    And  with  the  same  straight  face  I  say,  “I  have  dyslexia.    You  know:  difficul<es  reading,  a  short  aJen<on  span,  mixing  up  words…  ”Most  of  the  vic<ms  think  it’s  funny  and  do  not  forget  me  easily.  Having  a  short  aJen<on  span  is  not  always  a  disadvantage.  It  actually  helps  for  storytelling,  and  allows  me  to  get  straight  to  the  point  and  skip  all  the  superfluous  informa<on.  It  forces  me  to  talk  to  the  right  side  of  the  brain  in  emo<ons  or  images,  instead  of  feeding  the  leP  side  of  the  brain  with  informa<on.  In  2002  I  started  interviewing  brands  and  my  first  ques<on  was,  “So,  what’s  your  story?”  The  vast  majority  of  interviewees  started  giving  me  a  long  official  account  or  even  showing  me  PowerPoint  presenta<ons.  Which  for  me  with  my  short  aJen<on  span  was  of  course  hard  to  process.  
  3. 3. A  few  years  later  it  struck  me:    brand  representa<ves  have  trouble  telling  their  story  for  two  reasons.    One,  they  know  too  much.  They  want  to  show  you  all  aspects  of  the  brand  and  therefore  can’t  dis<nguish  between  want  to  be  complete  and  do  not  want  to  leave  anything  out.  Second,  they  aren’t  dyslexic.  They  assume  everybody  has  an  aJen<on  span  of  45  minutes  or  more,  so  they  keep  talking  and  think  the  informa<on  is  being  absorbed.  “Haven’t  they  ever  heard  of  informa<on  overload?”  I  asked  myself.  “People  don’t  want  more  informa<on,  they  want  your  story!”    And  besides,  most  people  have  a  genuine  distrust  of  top-­‐down  messages  and  corporate  jargon.  People  trust  informa<on  from  friends  and  family.  Something  like  70  or  80%  of  all  purchases  are  influenced  by  peer-­‐to-­‐peer  communica<on.In  2009,  I  decided  to  stop  interviewing  brands  and  go  into  third-­‐party  storytelling.  I  will  tell  the  story  for  the  brand.  The  tone  of  voice  is  horizontal,  like  in  peer-­‐to-­‐peer  communica<on.  The  story  is  wriJen  in  a  narra<ve  way  in  which  I  engineer  the  main  message.  The  stories  are  fun  to  read,  easy  to  understand  and  easy  to  transmit.Ready  for  word-­‐of-­‐mouth.  
  4. 4. Maarten  Schäfer  is  Founder  and  Crea<ve  Mind  of  CoolBrands  He  is  storytelling  Guru  and  is  helping  global  brands  communica<ng  their  message  by  means  of  ‘third  party  storytelling’    and  sharing  the  stories  with  a  network  of  25.000  opinion  leaders  worldwide.  More  stories  on:  h,p://maarten.coolbrands.org  h,p://aroundtheworldin80brands.com  Tags:  80  brands,  80  stories,  Around  the  world,  Around  the  world,  around  the  world  in  80  brands,  Ar<st,  Brands,  Cool,  CoolBrands,  CoolBrands  House,  Crea<ng  Talk  Value,  Crea<ve  Mind,  House,  Maarten,  Maarten  Schafer,  Schäfer,  Story  telling  Guru,  Storyteling  Guru,  storytelling,  Storytelling  Ar<st,  The  Secret  of  a  Storyteller,  third  part  storytelling.