Storytelling in the Workplace- Debunking the Myths

2023- Week 24- Audio Event- Jennifer Samuel-Chance

"Storytelling is the powerful bridge that connects the speaker, the audience, and the message, creating a trifecta of connection, persuasion, and influence."

--Jennifer Samuel-Chance, Storytelling Coach

I had the incredible opportunity to speak with Jennifer Samuel-Chance, a seasoned storytelling coach. Our conversation last Friday was nothing short of enlightening as we delved into the transformative power of storytelling in the workplace.

[Listen to our entire conversation about Storytelling in the Workplace here]

We talked about a variety of topics and answered some questions:

  1. How do I use storytelling in my work? Miss Jen Jen explains the concept of the "trifecta" in storytelling, which involves persuading and influencing the audience through the connection of story, speaker, and product/service. [Listen at 5:35]
  2. The importance of sharing small stories- She  talks about the belief that many people underestimate the significance of their own stories, thinking they are unimportant or lacking in substance and encourages them to recognize the value in seemingly ordinary stories and their potential impact on others.[Listen at 10:36]
  3. The importance of being relatable and effective when telling stories - Jennifer highlights the value of being likable, relatable, and authentic as a leader, especially in the nonprofit realm where people make decisions based on their emotional connection to the cause.  [Listen at 26:02]
  4.  How do you know the right amount of vulnerability to use in your stories? Jennifer shares why it is important to strike a balance between oversharing and vulnerability [Listen at 34:38]

[Listen to the full conversation here]

P.S.Learn why reframing your thinking and becoming self-aware about your beliefs around networking can help you build more authentic relationships. Listen to my latest podcast episode here.

P.P.S. Ready to be more visible as a leader? Join my next workshop focused on self-promotion. Register to secure your seat here.

Here’s the transcript of our conversation with Jennifer Samuel-Chance

NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an Ai tool.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:04
All right, Happy, Happy Friday. Happy to those of you listening live and happy to those of you that will be listening to the recording. I am so excited, so excited this Friday. With the guests that we have, I think it's going to be an incredible conversation, I think that we have an amazing topic. And I really just first off want to say I appreciate all of you that are listening and joining us live, you could be anywhere. But you're here with us today, on a Friday. And I really appreciate it. And I know that my guests appreciates it as well. So today we're gonna be talking about storytelling in the workplace. And we'll be talking about myths that hold us back from connecting, engaging and communicating. And you know, telling stories can be powerful, incredibly powerful, right? They can help you inspire, help you build rapport, help you align with others, and ultimately help you achieve whatever goals you want to achieve in your business or with your team. And so this week, we have the amazing Jennifer Samuel chance joining us. She's an amazing storyteller, and coach. And she's going to be talking about and unveiling the truth about storytelling in professional settings. Jennifer, can you please introduce yourself to those listening and those maybe catching the recording?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 1:25
I guess I will. So people know who or not is talking. So thank you very much for allowing me to be on your show. My name is Jennifer Samuel chance. I also go by Miss Jen, Jen. Because Jennifer Samuel chances are wonderful, but very long then to remember, originally from London, England, but I've been living in the United States, many, many, many, many, many decades. And I spend most of my time now, working in the world of storytelling, public speaking and coaching. And bottom line is this I work with reluctance leaders explain that in a minute, we'll look to leaders who whenever they step onstage live, they want to make sure they have audiences hanging on the edge of their seats. I say reluctance because there are many leaders, whether you work with an organisation, whether it's your own organisation, and this public speaking thing, you you rather not do it for whatever reason, you may delegate somebody else to do it, or you just don't want to do it, period. So my work, my evolution, as far as being a storytelling speech performance coach, is that I've seen time and time again, how organisations grow, when their leaders stand out, stand up front, and sometimes are the face of the organisation. So that's why I say reluctant because yes, I work with people that do other things, too. But my specialty is really working with those that really don't want to speak. But by time we finished with the process that allows you to be very competent, be very open with your communications and often leads to other opportunities. So that's what I did.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 3:04
I love that. Thank you. Thank you so much for for sharing that. Can I call you Jen? Jen, I love that.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 3:11
Call me Jen. Jen.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 3:13
Yes, I absolutely love that. And before we jump into some of the questions that I have, and I just want to make sure everyone listening, if any of you have any questions, anything you want to share, from your experience, feel free to raise your hand, I'd love to bring you on stage to be a part of this as well. Right, recognising that this is for you. I did want to share a quick, unscientific poll that I did on LinkedIn. And I will say I'm actually quite surprised at the results. Gen Gen. And so I asked, Do you know how to use storytelling in the workplace? 37% said, Yes. 17. And I'm quite surprised, because I feel like when I have conversations with my clients, the majority of them say no, they don't. But maybe this is this is public facing. But 17% said no. And 47% said, kind of. Are you surprised at the results of my unscientific poll?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 4:07
Well, no, not really. What a lot of people share with me is when you ask that question, they know the what they know why. They just don't know the how. So that's why I come in. So they know that they know that your storyteller they know they should speak, they know kind of what to do. Because if you have Google anywhere in your presence, you'll have more than enough information to kind of give you the basics, the framework etc. But where I come in is the how because you could read the best book on certain topics. But there's certain things that require certain touches that an independent person doesn't actually have to be me an objective view, a technique, a way of showing up so I'm not surprised at all. And there are people that probably do it much more than they actually realise. Then he knows a thing. They just think oh, I just tell stories. I just have conversations So I just do this. And my approach is basically we'll do it with intention. And if you have a certain goal or a certain aim in mind, then just be very cognizant as to how you use story. Your, your goal gets you to your goal much, much faster and ease.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 5:19
Yeah. So let's jump into let's talk a little bit about how, alright, so let's say it's one of these, you know, one of these leaders that maybe responded to this poll, and they said, kind of, I kind of know how to use storytelling, where would you recommend they start?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 5:35
Okay, so first question I would always ask is, what is your intent for using storytelling, because my wheelhouse, of course, is I've been a professional speaker for 24 years. So live events, even online events, virtual summits, and all that kind of stuff, too. Storytelling, of course, plays a great big part, because it provides context to whatever it is you're presenting. And I also say it's like a trifecta, which means the connection between you, your audience, and whatever it is subjects, story, service, whatever product, you're, you're attempting to persuade them and influence them to buy those three things, story, you and the product, that's the connection. So when you start, the first question I asked everybody I've ever worked with is what is your intent? Why do you want to use stories, and in many cases, I would probably say about 80% of them, the answers I get are regarding I have a speech coming up, I have a presentation, or I'm going to be leading some meetings with my team. So I happen to use stories in that in that field.
quite proficient as speakers, how to their peers, or perhaps mentors, or people outside of the comfort zone that they want to approach. They may not feel that they have enough information or knowledge or whatever it is to offer in those conversations. So that's why stories come up. Because you can use a story, a short metaphor and anecdote to connect to whoever it is you're connecting to. And again, that goes so much further than you sitting there trying to, you know, quotes, facts and figures. So there's many things it depends on what you intended for.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 7:29
Oh, I love that. And I actually love how you even brought up where maybe some leaders maybe especially reluctant leaders tend to start quoting facts, you know, quoting data, what what what stops people from actually sharing stories, and, you know, analogies and using metaphors to really connect

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 7:50
themselves. And this is kind of a hard one because I realised, especially with leaders, leaders are amazing creatures, I am one, you will want more amazing creatures. And we usually have accomplished great things in life. Sometimes a lot of adversity, sometimes a lot of success, depending on sometimes your upbringing depends on your environment, sometimes on your culture. Sometimes it's praised when you share your stories of triumph, but not necessarily, you're getting rewarded when you share those stories of adversity, because it may be maybe absorbed, excuse me, observes as if it's a sign of weakness, if you messed up at one time, and you know, he was shining leader on top of this heap. And if you admit anything that you've done wrong, or a sign of weakness, it could be perceived as something bad. I will say though, I have noticed in the last, I would say 10 years or so that has changed tremendously. And especially with what the world has gone through in the last three to four years. What I find is people want real people to relate to. So when I've done workshops for leaders, per se, I asked them, and I'm just going to use the pandemic as an example. Many of them unfortunately, were organisations that didn't survive the pandemic. Business as well down some did. So I said, Okay, well, those of you that did survive, have you been showing up to your staff, and one particular person, he was from Italy, because there's sometimes and again, this is a very big generalisation. So don't write me a letter where they can't the culture of machismo and being strong and you know, tough is sometimes very prevalent, nothing wrong with that actually love it. But he felt a little uncertain about admitting any kind of weakness, the fact that he was scared of the uncertain future that his organisation had. So we talked through that, and ultimately, we worked a little bit on a story a small story of what he experience as he was going through the pandemic, and then what he did was actually brought on stories and maybe kind of a sharing session with his staff, to have them open up and share their fears. And that was such amazing glue that brought them together, that they kind of, you know, went together and says, Okay, we've been through this, we survived. Now, let's take all of this what we've learned, and go further. So, you know, again, people are sometimes scared. I will also say this, there's a lot of people that don't think they have any stories. Which is amazing until they find out. Yeah, they do. Because sometimes when you hear story, it's thought of in a an entertainment type of capacity, right? No. And, you know, you may have gone through amazing things, you know, you went through a tremendous adversity, there's a massive story that goes around it. So if you've gone through day to day, you've worked your butt off, literally to get to where you are. And there's nothing earth shattering. But it's just small events that have led up to success. People may feel that, you know, who's gonna want to hear that? That's not really important. And they say they don't have stories. I always say, this leaves us as a wonderful example. There are stories that you may think are so small, who's gonna want to pay attention to that? So I said, Okay. I give them an exercise where I say, I ask the question, did you get up out of bed this morning? And they're like, yes. Did you go to the bathroom? And maybe look at yourself in the mirror and go? They say, Did you brush your teeth? Yes. Okay. All righty. So you may think that series of actions that you took no big deal, it's a routine that you do every single day. But imagine, if you put that story, and probably you would lengthen the story to include some other stuff, too. But imagine you sharing that story in a business setting, or in an other organisational setting. And then maybe somebody that's paralysed from the neck down. Maybe they were in an accident, or had something else happen to them, where they would give anything on this planet, to be able to get up out of bed, to get up to go to the bathroom, to look in the mirror to go and then brush their teeth. So they're going to live vicariously through you. And I think our job as storytellers and leaders is to do the best thing we can to present those stories in a way that it's easy for the audiences to receive, we can't worry about what it's going to do to them, we can't worry about whether it's important enough, because that's not our job. And nine times out of 10 Usually the stories that we don't think are important, or sometimes the stories we don't even want to share are the stories most people build need to hear. They need to hear that kind of like my Italian leader, his staff needed to hear the fact that he also felt scared. So that's what I say, people, you know, we get into our heads, and we start, you know, just going to town. Oh, it's gonna do this, and we overthink this. Versus Okay, here's information, here is a situation that happened to us. Let's work it to see if it's gonna fit my intent for sharing the story.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 13:27
Wow. Well, thank you for sharing that and for sharing some of those specific examples as well. And so what I hear, you know, at least with that, first, that first leader, that fear of being judged, right, not wanting to be vulnerable, with the second one, sort of like, oh, fear of, you know, this story isn't impactful enough, not big enough, that doesn't maybe have that hero journey. What other tips do leaders tend to believe that hold them back from from being able to start to share stories that keep them from engaging and being able to communicate as well?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 14:00
You've got to be perfect, hey. They may feel they may look and listen to a professional speaker or somebody that's had training, and think, Well, I'm not as good as them. So I don't know if I can go out there. And you know what their fears may be valid. However, if they're trainable, then all of those fears in some way or another can be addressed and they can learn the skills. I would say, Great speaking is a learned skill. There are some people that come by naturally. They have the gift of gab, they can talk your ear off, they really can and it's easy for them, they don't feel nervous, they can just go off from rattle stuff off. I will also say this, I have actually several clients that are like that. Sometimes the challenge though, is that they have too much to say too much. And it's not necessarily organised. So imagine In the audience, sometimes it may be like you're drinking from a firehose, and all this information knowledge coming out to you like what she said. And you can, and truly listen to what the person was saying. So you don't have to have the gift of gab, you can learn that stuff. And if you tend to be more on the introverted side, which means you know, the information you choose to keep it short and sweet, your stories may be short and sweet, then that's great. I will say that, then you learn how to expand. And I say you learn, you learn, you will discover etc, I have a huge framework that I've developed over all of these years, to help people really chunk and break everything down to its bite sized pieces. So that you know, okay, I need to ramp up this particular story and provide more details this particular way. And then you go ahead and do that. And then you practice and then all of a sudden, you're giving, I would say, holding court by giving amazing stories, that people are just like, oh my gosh, I see so good. He's so good. And they have no idea. You know, how you've been doing? I would say it's like a swamp on water. And, you know, when you look at the swan on top of the water, it's just gliding. You know, without a care in the world. Nobody knows how hard that is what is really paddling underneath, right? Speak, speaking is the same way.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 16:28
I love that. Absolutely. Love it. I love it. So that myths of you know, worried of being judged, you know, with of not, you know, not being vulnerable, wanting to come across as strong myth of my story. Isn't story enough? You know, speakers are born not made

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 16:44
up. Yeah, definitely can be made. That I shouldn't say that. That sounds. Yeah. No, I don't mean to say made. I just mean to say again, it is a skill that can be learned story is one of the most powerful vehicles you can use. It is not the end all and be all. Because there are times when you're giving speeches, presentations, that you need more than story. So, again, it goes back to my original answer. I gave a couple of questions. Let's go as in what is your intent for sharing the story. There are times when it may behove you to go ahead and share a story to break the ice, right or to again provide commonality. Which means the end goal isn't to have a speech that sells or influences. So again, you have to just ask the question first, why am I telling you the story? I don't know about you and you I'm gonna ask you this question. Do you not know people that have stories that that is their favourite story, their favourite. And no matter what the situation is, they're gonna tell that same story again, and again.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 17:53
Oh, definitely. Definitely. And even in my personal life, I have some friends who like to tell specific stories. Yes.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 18:03
So I have no problem with that at all. However, if you are listening to this in any way, shape, or form and you're guilty of that, just ask me.
Oh, what did you

Akua Nyame-Mensah 19:05
Okay, great. Perfect. Think Yeah, I was just asking sort of, sort of, we were, I think talking at that point about stories. And I was saying, Yes, I have friends who share some of the same stories over and I don't think I heard your response, but I'm pretty sure the rest of the audience did. Okay. So, once again, just wanna remind everyone who is listening live, if you have a question for Jen, Jen, you are more than welcome to raise your hand and join us on stage. Also, if you have any experience you'd like to share. I would love to welcome you on stage as well. So just feel free to raise your hands and we'll bring you up here. Agenda. Jennifer, I think you maybe said there was maybe a question you wanted to ask me. I'm not sure if that's where we ended

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 19:58
up just to ask your ex Faris with stories because I know that you've had an amazing journey to where you are right now. So have you, if you had to do the poll that you gave to others, where would you fall?

Akua Nyame-Mensah 20:09
Great question, I would say kind of, I think. And that's simply because I fall into that camp of leaders who feel like they don't have any good stories to tell. I feel like maybe because I now we're sort of in this online space. And a lot of the individuals you see in the online space, especially those who are more of the course creator space, they tend to have this zero to hero story. And I don't really have that I don't have a rags to riches story, I don't have a zero to hero story. And so there's definitely been situations where I feel like hmm, I'm talking about, you know, how I grew up, the things I had access to the resources I had access to, even before starting my coaching consulting practice doesn't seem like it fits. Because a lot of the stories tend to be these incredible stories of overcoming challenges. Not to say, I haven't overcome any challenges, I just feel like, you know, and I always, this is something I tell my clients like, oh, comparison, you know, as a thief of joy, you shouldn't compare, but it's hard not, oh, it's hard not. And so I would say kind of on there are certain situations where I feel very comfortable sharing. Of course, when I do one on one coaching, I'm not typically short, you know, sharing stories, because that's not usually the best space to do that. And the modality doesn't really call for you sharing your personal stories, but with my facilitation and workshops, sometimes I feel comfortable sharing, usually I try and create the psychological safety. So the actual participant share that I think I'm pretty good at inviting them to share their stories that add to the conversation.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 21:48
Right? Okay. Oh, great, Miss kinda, you're in that kind of bucket. I invite you to continue not to compare yourself to the zero to hero story. Because my experience has been through interacting with 1000s of people throughout the years, this probably 80 to 90% of people I need, do not have a zero to hero story. What they have is hard struggle, what they have is adversity, that for whatever reason, they decided to overcome. And it's the little journeys, the little victories that build and build and build that gets you to where you are today. And that in itself is incredibly motivational, inspirational. So sometimes there's a throwback, and don't get me wrong, the zero to hero story is actually phenomenal. But I think there's sometimes a throwback of motivational speaker label that was around kind of in the 50s 60s 70s 80s, where you had to go out and motivate and there was a, you know, the story. And that's not to draw, and nothing wrong with that, again, great. But as people live and things go on, and again, especially in the last couple of years, where people have just had their lives, world's turned upside down, yes, and survived and survived. I think, for some, like I said before, they don't want to seem vulnerable. They don't want to feel like they had to struggle or the fact that sometimes even struggling now, still. But they have the facade, especially if you're a leader, the facade where everybody sees the everything fine, everything wonderful. Then behind, behind closed doors, you're still going through the struggles. So I was in might lead to wherever appropriate. Again, take a look. Share some of those insights because I was loving it when I hear a story or I give a story or my clients give stories. And especially in I'll I will celebrate one of my clients that actually gave a major presentation yesterday in Boston, is Vera. And he was very random to pull out. But she gave as she was she's came from the world of being. She's extremely intelligent, brilliant, and had basically no stories whatsoever. So we've been working for quite some time. And she gave a wonderful presentation speech yesterday in the Boston area. And people came to her about her stories. And she was shocked. I mean, even though she knew it as you've done it before, but it's like it was the stories that actually connected her to an audience, which was that totally random. They were totally strangers. But it was the stories that made her seem human and that's what audiences need. They need human people. That's nice of your hero, but sometimes when your hero people can't relate to you, and I've worked with some leaders and actually professional speakers where they like being Heroes, you know, really makes them feel good and they like to be admired. And I think wrong with that. But you get a deeper connection, I believe when people can say, Oh, I went through that, well, me too. Definitely, you know how I feel. Therefore, I'm going to listen and open up to you, more leader, because you're a human being. And you're not beings, you know, some leader, some person that's, I wouldn't say fake, but trying to put on a persona that is designed to build me up with substance, the substance is the little stories that go in between.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 25:36
Yes, oh, I love that. And I think that's actually a great segue to something that we spoke about when trying to design this conversation. So we spoke about public speaking as a way to be the face of your company. And you mentioned that it can have a domino effect on your organisation, can you speak to some of the things that come out of taking the time to really hone this skill and leverage it within the workplace and maybe even out?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 26:02
Right, so many leaders, you're busy being busy, at your genius, whether it's organisation, some people that have a wonderful engaging personalities, and they do that. And the speaking sometimes an offshoot, sometimes I've met leaders who don't think is really that important. They have their marketing and sales team do that kind of stuff, or PR people, media staff do that. However, I still don't ever forget the effect that Steve Jobs had on Apple. And he was a very unique, iconic individual, but he was the face, on and off, but he was the face of the organisation. And that prompted a culture is promoted a culture that to this day, I'm looking at my iPad right now. I know people that do have an eye, something, if you haven't eyes, something, you're part of a family. And you sometimes have a certain philosophy that goes with what the company stands for. So it just brings it ties everybody into to what you are. And many people will either go with services go with products, to some extent, maybe it's exactly what the product or the service is about. And it satisfies their needs, but also to they do business with you, they interact with you because they like you. Or they like the organisation of what it stands for. So the clearer you make that, the more obvious you make that by being the face by learning to enhance your skills, so that whenever you go out and you represent the organisation, people will say, Oh, I like her. She called I like her. What does she do? Again? What's the organisation? What's the product, or especially if you work in the nonprofit realm, that's huge, because a lot of people make their decisions whether or not to support the cause, due to how they feel about it, right. So so if you manage to be eloquent, if you manage to be likeable, relatable, then that's half the battle more than half the battle, as far as getting some more of the organisation. So it's very, very important that you realise how important the face your face is. And more and more, I'm working with thought leaders that are doing exactly that, because they realise you are the face. And then we also learn in the in the journey to is yes, you may be the main face, but allows you if you're sharing your experience and stories, encourage your staff and your I would say, constituents, your shareholders, your stakeholders to do the same. Because we want people that are real, that we do business with that we learned from that will that lead us and that will lead to and being authentic, real vulnerable. That's where it's happening. I'm sorry, it is. Yeah. Yeah, things have changed. Like I said, the old management styles being autocratic, and you being the leader and telling people want to do and that's, you know, that's been morphing and changing over the years to servant leadership and to other different types of modalities when it comes to leaders. So when you learn to be relatable, doesn't necessarily mean that you're out there sharing and confessing. No, don't do that. You still have the boundaries. While you are a leader to make sure that you don't share too much information, but share just enough. And that's the key because sometimes people don't know where the fine line is. Yes, by the overshare Are you under share, and that's where you can benefit from the from the Association of being somebody that is objective. And I'm not saying that to toot my own horn. It's not about it's not about me whether Have you practice in front of your family or other people? Now, here's what I do recommend, though. Be very careful. Sometimes, if you're a leader, you may share your stuff with your inner circle. You got to be careful, I'm just gonna be honest with you that sometimes they may not tell you the truth. Because if your skills are not where they need to be, or I had leaders come to me, and there was a speech that they gave, and it didn't quite turn out the way they wanted it to. But when they stepped off stage, you know, this test, oh, it was great. It was wonderful. It was great. And they're like I wasn't, wasn't great. And it had nothing to do with comparison, it really wasn't great. But because your inner circle may be afraid of jeopardising that position. And I'm gonna tell you, it sucked. It was bad. It just doesn't. It was good. It was. Okay. So that's a bigger, bigger conversation as far as you know who your staff is, and all that stuff. Anyway, let me not go down that road. You want to make sure again, that you learn the skills so that when you come offstage, you are relatively hot you gave you met your objective to setting certain extent, and you don't feel embarrassed or feel that something was missing, because you didn't prepare enough to speak the way you want it to. I believe it was Earl Nightingale, and I could be wrong. So forgive me if I'm wrong. But they said there's three speeches that we usually give this one that we plan to give. There's the one that we actually gave him and there's one we wish we gave the other two good luck to you on that one. So learn the skills. And again, one of the main skills that allow you to just cut through all of the mess is storytelling.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 31:51
I love that I actually very much love that point, you also made about making sure that you have someone within your network within your space, that's going to give you that constructive, that direct. That's real feedback. Because I've definitely seen firsthand where, you know, a founder, you know, gets off the podium. His people are Wooper in like whooping and hollering. And you're just like

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 32:18
yeah, yeah. And he does that person. And I understand again, it is a very tricky situation to be in if you are part of the circle, you know, to give your leader, honest, true feedback. But I think you're doing them a disservice. Even if you can, you can support them, because sometimes it's very hard, especially if they've just come offstage. So you don't want to have them come on stage and say, you know, that was bad. Fair, no, that wasn't really no, you don't want to do that. I will support them and give them a course positive reinforcement, especially when they come off stage, but maybe down the road, provide constructive feedback. And what I mean by constructive is something they can do something about, yeah. Which means if there was confusion, if things were not clear, if you know, you know, if it's technical stuff, which they have no control over, then you know, there's nothing we have control over. But if there is a situation where they gave a speech, and again, it didn't quite come off the way it could have. Then be diplomatic, of course, but just approach them from the mindset of I'm sure you would appreciate objective feedback. So take this with a grain of salt. But here's what I observed. As I saw you speak or after I saw you speak. And you know, you've got to be again, gentle because people, I would say people are people first before their job titles, which means if they're easily hurt, now, sometimes by time you're a leader, you know, you've got a pretty thick skin. But they still you know, you can hurt feelings. You can embarrass people. Yes. Don't do that. Don't do that. Don't do it. Yeah, there's a way of giving feedback that allows them to take the constructive part of it, and work with that, and then allow them to build and grow upon that. Yeah.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 34:09
I love that. I love it. And I think you know, this, I think this leads me to this next question that came up for me. You mentioned vulnerable several times, you know, already in our conversation, any advice to leaders that are trying to figure out how can I make sure I'm not oversharing? But I'm sharing enough, right? And I actually even have several clients in mind as I share this question, how do you know it's the right amount of vulnerability?

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 34:38
Okay, so emotions are what really, in many cases, drive people's decisions as to whether they like or don't like you, or they want to interact with you buy from you, etc. Emotions. So if it is something that happened to you in your journey, that is emotional. First, what and I'll just walk you through what I want. When my clients, I want to ask them to think of the situation, think of the story. And then I would actually have them tell it to me. Or if I don't have chance to be with them immediately, I'd have them record it and send it to me. Now, I want to know, how do you feel as you tell that story, because if it is the kind of story that is incredibly painful that it causes you to have a reaction, whether you get sad, you cry, you get upset or angry, that always has to do to make sure you do not get yourself into that state, because you don't need to be onstage crying, you know, in a speech. However, what I then do is after you've told the story, I ask how you feel about it. And if it does cause you to break down, I asked, okay, how, what is the learning lesson from that story? Which means after you've experienced all of this, what did you learn from this? And then the next question is, how do you think that lesson can help somebody else? And if there is no lesson, which means it was just incredibly painful, and you're still there, trying to sort it out? And trying to work through your emotions and how you feel about that, then I may hesitate to have you share that story. I probably would not. Because you're not complete with that yet. But if it's something you've gone through and you are complete with it, then the questions then come into play. Okay, how long do you have to speak? What is the end result of the total interaction? And interaction? Meaning? Is it a longer speech? Or is it a short story or anecdote or metaphor that you want to share to, you know, provoke a reaction, to get people to share? So there's a lot of other factors. I was like to come from the mindset of if you're sharing a story, you'd like the audience to feel like they're inside your head. And they're looking through your eyes. And they're feeling what you're feeling. And so as what Sharon overshare is a really hard thing to say there is no hard and fast rule, because it depends on you. Right? And depends on your style of communication, and depends on the audience, and what they've gone through. Because you got to do all this stuff ahead of time, as much as possible. If you share a story that's particularly emotional, you've got to be careful, because again, what is it? Or do they not know you from Adam? You know, but again, what is the major event that you're at? So you always have to look at several other factors besides just okay, let me just share the story. Thing is, what is the lesson that's learned? What, the way I've shown up in the world as a result of this, how's it allowed me to be successful? And what are these traits that I could share with somebody else, they could do the same thing. But it's a little different from you being hero all the time, which is what I get a lot of, oh, I remember what I did this. And I did that. And people are sometimes very hesitant to show the vulnerability and where they mess made a mistake. And I say, You know what, my favourite category of speeches that bring the most reaction from people, and also the most entertaining and impactful is the category of when I messed up in life and did stuff that nobody knows about, oh, that's the category. That's when I messed up in life. And I did stuff that nobody to this day knows about. Now, we're not talking anything criminal, or anybody else do that. But I'm talking about stuff that was embarrassing, right? And you're Yeah, and I run many workshops with leaders, where I'll have them share those stories, and some of those stories of most poignant, memorable stories that to this day, the stories I heard 1015 years ago. And I don't necessarily remember the exact, you know, point by point details, but I remember essentially what happened to me directly to that person, directly to that person. And then sometimes you hear that story, and it may Toby, explain why they are the way they are today. So it's the little things again, you don't think they're important that explain a whole bunch of stuff. So take care, think about them. Run the stories through your brain. And when you're thinking of a story, imagine you're you're closing your eyes and you're watching it like it's a movie in your head. And then you figure out okay, do I want to share this? I don't know feel comfortable. But again, was it your turning point that allowed you to learn the lesson? Well, if it was then go ahead and share it. And then the details about it. Always ask if there's particular details, does the detail add to the story? Or is it just a time filler? If you're walking down the street, and the street was dark, and there was a street lamp in the corner, okay, hopefully I paid it in a picture. So you can imagine me walking down the street towards this light in this dark corner, versus Okay, well in are walking down the street and I'm wearing a green suit with some red shoes. And my head was flying that day really, really was. And I was walking down the street and just taking my time and then I saw this light at the end of the day. So I was riffing there. All that extra information may not add to the story.

Unknown Speaker 40:38
Yeah, depending again,

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 40:39
on the end result. So it's one of those dances, you just go back and forth. And you would, you know, get the information, share the detail, and then figure out this add to the story. Take it out.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 40:52
I love it. And that's, and that sounds like where practice comes into play. Right? And then also making sure you have people you trust around you to potentially bounce some ideas off of you to work with them as well. Exactly. Yes, I love those pieces. And hopefully all of you listening and those listening to the recording have sort of a checklist now that you can use, especially as it relates to your stories, right? Like, what's that intention? What's the lesson? What's the story? Right? How many details do I need to share in order to get this across? All of those I think are really important questions to ask yourself when thinking about the story you want to share.

Unknown Speaker 41:30
So and another thing Oh, please go ahead.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 41:33
No, no, I was gonna add another thing, too, was stories. And especially if you're using them in the context of a speech presentation, understand that the story is meant to guide the listeners to where you want them to go. So I've seen and observed speakers, leaders that use stories because it's all about them. See, I'm the stall. Because look how fabulous I am. And here's my story. And the story will be entertaining and great. But again, sometimes because it's all about the person. And this is sometimes with stories that that where they are the hero, then listeners get all into that. And then they miss the point of the entire that will the point of the point, they may miss the speech, they may miss the holding tense, because they get wrapped up into will do to test you just telling stories about her. Well, okay, boring. Okay. And they switch off. People, you're asking the asking, what's in it for me? How do I relate? What's in it for me? Why should I listen? That's the question they're asking.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 42:44
Oh, that's actually such a good question for I think everyone to keep in mind like what's in it for me? Like, what am I getting away from this? I think that's also should help to clarify whether to share a specific detail or whether it's relevant. Exactly. Yes. All right. Well, those of you who are still listening here with us, if any of you have any questions, any thoughts, any experience you want to share? Once again, I just want to welcome you to the stage, just put your hand up, and I'll bring you on here. With the time that we have left, you're more than welcome to do that between now. And 30 minutes past the hour. I'm just taking a look at you know, the questions that I had. And I think I feel like we've gone through the majority of them. I think the last question I'd love to ask before we get into maybe learning a little bit more about you know, your actual services is, you know, one of the things we also talked about in our pre conversation was sort of how to quickly connect with your audience, regardless of their size. What are your top maybe three tips for the you know, the reluctant leader who's like, I'm busy, I'm tired, I don't have time. I know, I also need to connect with my audience, what are the top three things you would recommend that they focus on? are the top three sort of skills or adjacent skills to speaking? You suggest they fit into their calendar.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 44:11
Okay, so I probably make this just a general umbrella is ask questions of them. It's not about you. It's about them. What are they going through? What challenges are they facing right now? And be open to possible solutions. They may have their particular challenges. Because a lot of times I've been in work situations where I felt that what I had to say as an employee

Unknown Speaker 44:46
didn't matter. Oh, okay. Yeah.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 44:49
So if you are in the normal regular habits as a leader of asking of them and you pay attention to their answer errors and if it makes sense, implement or take on some of the suggestions, or especially recognise them for sharing what their issues are, because that's the key, most of us, we stay quiet because we're gonna be embarrassed, or they're just gonna ignore me. If I know, okay, I can. My leaders asked me what's going on, I'm like, well, and it's a safe space that you're going to, because what you're the best ideal situation will be to create a safe space, where you as a leader, say, you know, what, I know I'm leader, I got that great. And I have certain functions to, you know, carry out as leader, and you team have functions to then want to make sure that we will work together as a team. So there are times I'm going to be honest, I'm going to be in my ivory tower, doing leader things. And I don't realise that probably the people and most of the work and the things that get done, are with you, team. So please, do the best you can and feel free to go ahead and share with me what's going on tell me and as a leader, then then you get to really, really, really be that objective listener. And that's the key. Because most of us, especially leaders, we're doers, we are, you know, we fixers, we're like, Okay, let's get it done. And some of us are need to probably work on our listening skills. And I say that as being sometimes still. And I know better. So they may share information with you that you had no idea about. And then you can take that and do with it what you can, but at least you've opened up the portal, as far as communication goes both ways you've shared, if they give suggestions, even suggestions are totally off the wall, please appreciate them for sharing. Because many organisations will tell you that some of the secrets of their success have been things that have been shared from the staff that do the job every day, whatever that looks like. And they see things and hear things and come up with solutions that will make far more sense than me. Miss is later that's sitting in my ivory tower being totally disconnected from the organisation is because I've got my own set of things to do. So I will say, yeah, just ask them what's going on in the world? What are they going through, as absolutely got issues and challenges. And then if they feel bold, solutions. Many, many years ago, I did a leadership workshop in Tennessee. And it was a hospital CEO that had just taken over from the hospital that was up there. And he was probably been on the job about a month. And he decided to bring his entire C suite staff to my workshop because he could see where there were issues with communication. So I did not know the total backstory, I just knew that he had his staff there. And I went through and did what I did. And part of it was to having to go through an exercise where I gave them a fictitious situation, and then divided everybody into teams. And I want to say there was about 20 people total the workshop and divide them into teams of three and four. And then give me gave each team a very specific role. So team one, you were production team to you or the warehouse, whatever it was, and I gave him the scenario. And then I put we had the equivalent of like whiteboards on the on the wall. And I gave him a scenario. And basically, I had each department come up with a solution for this one problem. So then they had 15 minutes or whatever it was to come up with a solution. They put their solutions on the board. And then we sat back. And it was amazing. Number one, see the different perspectives that each department had on the same problem. Then I had them swap and say, Okay, how can you add to say production? How can you add to the warehouses solution? And what they did was added to each other's answer, pretending that they were then. And that was so creative and inspiring to the CEO that what he did, I heard at lunchtime that day, because it was a day long thing was that he booked out his conference rooms in the hospital. Wow. And for the following week. That's what he planned to do with his major departments. So a lot of times it's about communicating and providing a safe space. And not being in silos where everybody's kind of fighting for their own, you know, decision jockeying and not listening to it. communicating. So you as the leader, I think we should probably help to facilitate that. So that you know, communication throughout is better. And then you are going to be the portal to spirit. That was among answers.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 50:15
Yes, absolutely love that Jen, Jen. And I think everyone listening to this, those listen to the recording and like I said, I will be sharing this with some of my clients specifically, I think they there's a lot that they can take from just what you've shared there. So thank you so much. You know, once again, I just want to you know, this is the last call anyone listening live, if any of you have any questions, feel free to raise your hand, I'd love to have you join us on stage and ask Jen, Jen, you know, what, what, what's next for you? What do you what are you excited about this summer? What are you looking forward to doing with with the rest of this year? Because we're halfway halfway through the year, if you can believe it? No,

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 50:55
this is one of those years, I say every single year. And it seems like every year just goes by faster. Yeah, doesn't make any sense. So for me, particularly, I'm, again, excited about my business, which is working with clients, I work one on one with a lot of leaders that run successful organisations, all in different phases, though. Some are multimillion dollar entities, I'm not quite there. But again, the leaders have decided, okay, we need to change the way we communicate. Me I as leader, I'm going to kind of spearheaded that. And then it's trickling down to the organisation as well. So I'm doing some work one on one and doing some group information tips and group work to to help them in their staff, then I will probably be holding my own in person, one on one intensive retreat, and I say, oh, it's gonna be us in a mansion probably looks like now that I will hold it probably January of 2024, where those of you leaders that are really, really serious about getting your stories down and really infusing them in the way that you communicate. Normally, I guess, spend some time with me, probably a good three or four days, where you bring your stuff. And it's going to be exclusive to probably about no more than 10 people, and you spend time and work yourself out. So I kind of do that already. But I like the idea of just going away somewhere, and being able to really hone and focus on that. So that's what we'll be doing. And maybe doing a little bit of work overseas, Europe, possibly the Middle East, working with some leaders on their leadership stuff. So I'm kind of excited. It's yeah, it'd be, you know, one of those are, how's this gonna work out? There's gonna be a good time, and everybody's gonna benefit from us.

Akua Nyame-Mensah 52:48
sounds super exciting. Well, Jen, Jen, thank you so much for joining me today. And everyone listening live. Thank you so much for joining as well. Please make sure that you connect with Jen, Jen, aka Jennifer Samuel chance, all you have to do is click on those three little dots that appear when you hover over her beautiful image. If you have any questions, any thoughts, please feel free to connect with her. And you know, Jen, Jen, just once again, want to say thank you so much for your time for your energy for your thoughts. I'm really excited about a lot of the things that I've shared here, or I've heard sorry, heard you share here. And I'm excited to also share this conversation with my clients. So thank you so much.

Jennifer Samuel-Chance 53:32
And thank you so much for allowing me to be part of this wonderful, wonderful platform because the information that you shared here, not just me, but the other cast, too, are amazing. So I have to bow down to you and congratulate you on such a wonderful forum to help people grow and do what they do better. All right. Well, thank you. Thank

Akua Nyame-Mensah 53:53
you so much. Also just want to call out Dr. Alex Rosa in the who's listening. Thank you for joining. She was one of our our guests a few weeks ago. So thank you for taking the time to join us for a bit here. Jen, Jen, once again, thank you so much. I hope you have an amazing weekend. I hope you all listening. Have an amazing weekend and I will see you next time. Thank you all again and enjoy the rest of your day.


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