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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…”
“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 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.
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.
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.