Category Archives: Smarter Egg

Smarter Egg Storytelling Training with Helen Kuyper

Download the full brochure here.

Helen Kuyper Smarter Egg

In the connection economy in which we work in 2015, our capability to craft and share a compelling story determines how successful we can be.

Just think about how many times on a daily basis you react to something that begins with “Have you seen…?”, “Have you heard about…..?”, or “I must tell you about….”.

When it comes to getting real attention, making your message stick, or changing people’s behaviour, a well crafted, authentic story will make a significant difference.

Knowing how important this skill is, we’re delighted to be able to bring Helen Kuyper to Ireland for a specially customised training workshop for Smarter Egg. Helen is a world-leader in the craft of helping individuals and organisations develop their storytelling capability.

If you run a business, lead a team, an organisation, or a project, if you’re in the business of selling or marketing a product/service, or if you just need to move and influence people, then this training will significantly enhance your capability to succeed.

You can build your storytelling muscles while also developing your professional network. Helen’s Storytelling workshop will run on February 24th at the spectacular Vertigo venue in Cork.

* A special discount is available for groups of two or more. Just email us at events@smarteregg.com and we’ll help you through the process.

Is love a great business strategy?

Is love a great business strategy?

We’ve been conditioned to think of business as a transaction, largely devoid of the expression of human emotion. We need something, we buy it from someone who’s willing to sell it.

Business is about profit, which is measured in numbers. Business is competitive, which can engender rivalry and hatred. And many play the “zero sum game” where their progress must mean another’s loss.

So it might seem bizarre to suggest that love is an excellent business strategy.

When was the last time you felt good about a product or a service you bought or hired? Did you feel that someone cared about you? Did you feel like someone was genuinely interested in your needs and was working to delight you?

If you have experienced this, I’m betting you’ll be more likely to re-engage with that provider again. And you’ll be way more likely to speak positively about your experience when you engage with others.

Speaking about love in the transactional world of business can make people feel very uncomfortable. It’s way outside typical comfort zones. But maybe that’s the point. Real value in business tends to be uncovered at the edges; at the boundary between confidence and fear, at the transition between safe and risky.

Here’s a simple question that may make you uncomfortable: in the work that you do, in the standard processes and services you oversee, is there a space for expressions of love?

Expressions of love aren’t necessarily the schmaltzy trimmings of Valentine’s Day or life-long adoration or even lust. They can be a clear demonstration to someone else that you care. That this work that you do is more than just a job. That you have genuine concern for them as people. That you value the connection and the possibility of creating something special and remarkable.

Can you make more space in your work for expressions of love?

How do you begin to sell a complex offering?

Do you think you’re effectively selling your services, products and offerings to your target market?

I know I’m not. And I believe I’m far from alone on this.

It’s one thing if you already have significant exposure in your target market and you’re finding that your business is stagnating, or even shrinking. It’s another thing entirely if most of your target market are blissfully unaware of how you can help them. Now that’s a problem that needs to be addressed.

Over the past year, we’ve been crafting and refining an offering that’s proving to be really effective with ambitious owners of small businesses. With every passing month, and every hundred hours of focused work with small business owners, the results are getting better and better.

I believe it’s the best thing we’ve done in four years of Smarter Egg work. (And we’ve done a lot of wonderful things).

But, yet, it’s totally undersold. Few are aware of it. Fewer still actually understand what it is and how it could help them. That’s been tolerable up to now as it’s been an offering that’s been evolving and tuning itself to the real needs of the participants. We’ve even changed the name of it three times. But, now, it’s ready to grow.

So, here’s the challenge. How do you inform people of this wonderful offering, in a way that’s authentic, clear and compelling? One step along that path has been for me to get out of the way and let the participants tell their story. Even better, get a (digital) storyteller like Roger Overall involved to help them do that.

This is a story of how Roger and I met with four participants from the SmarterPreneur programmes. The project was led by Roger. He listened carefully to the story of how the programme had come together, how people were benefiting and who the ideal participants are. From there, he carefully crafted a process that allowed me to have four honest conversations while he focused on knitting it all together.

We did all the filming in one day. We drove around to four different locations, encountering unexpected challenges and pleasant surprises. Roger captured some of the sounds of the day via AudioBoo. The beauty of platforms like AudioBoo is that it captures the real, un-edited experiences, with all of the honesty that comes with that.

Now, a few weeks later, Roger has produced this video. I really like it. It captures the essence of the work we’re doing, and the vibrant stories of the participants. Of course, it highlights the positives and the benefits of getting involved in programmes like this, but it doesn’t ignore the reality of the difficulties that all of us experience in business.

In short, it tells the story of why people benefit from participating in this programme. This is a valuable first step in sharing the broader story with those who can draw inspiration from what they see and hear.

What do you think? Do you like it?

Egg Talks: What gives you energy in your work? – Kerry O’Keeffe

Do you find that some days you’re really excited about your work, but on other days you struggle to even show up?

It turns out that your motivation isn’t as uncontrollable as the weather, but is a direct consequence of how you approach the work that you do.

At a recent Smarter Egg event, Kerry O’Keeffe of People & Culture, shared some of her learning on motivation, based on her personal experience as a corporate leader and now as an executive coach and facilitator. She challenged the audience with her talk on ‘What gives you energy in your work?’

Some highlights included:

  • Why understanding what motivates us helps us make better decisions
  • The three primary drivers of motivation
  • The need for daily focus on how motivated you actually are
  • The structures you need to have in place to keep yourself motivated

 

Enjoy her talk here!

 

This talk was recorded at a Smarter Egg event at Upstairs at the White Horse, Ballincollig, Ireland in September 2012. Smarter Egg clients from across the business spectrum were in attendance, along with some invited guests. The video footage was filmed and edited by Ian Armstrong of Onevision Multimedia.

Egg Talks: Eyeball Superglue – Roger Overall

As an award-winning documentary photographer, Roger Overall has learned a lot about creating memorable images. Now, Roger is helping others tell their stories online with his new business, The Digital Storyteller.

At a recent Smarter Egg event, Roger delighted the audience with an exploration of the use of images online, working towards his ideal of “Eyeball Superglue”

Some highlights included:

  • How do you make an impression online when there’s already so much stuff?
  • Why getting hit by a golf ball in the head has some value
  • The relative sizes of online photo sharing sites (this will surprise you)
  • Why the use of images trumps the humble word

Enjoy his talk below!

 

 

This talk was recorded at a Smarter Egg event at Upstairs at the White Horse, Ballincollig, Ireland in September 2012. Smarter Egg clients from across the business spectrum were in attendance, along with some invited guests. The video footage was filmed and edited by Ian Armstrong of Onevision Multimedia.

Egg Talks: Why story lights up the darkened treasure – Mike Collins

How can Irish divisions of global corporations maintain and grow their relevance?

This was a provocative question posed by Mike Collins of Persuasive Presentations at a recent Smarter Egg event. Mike’s talk, entitled Storytelling for Competitive Advantage, challenged the gathered audience to think again about what makes Ireland competitive.

Some highlights included:

  • How Irish people are perceived abroad
  • How Irish business units communicate their real worth to global HQs
  • Why the ancient concept of ‘meitheal’ is relevant today
  • Why story lights up the darkened treasure

Enjoy his talk below!

 

This talk was recorded at a Smarter Egg event at Upstairs at the White Horse, Ballincollig, Ireland in September 2012. Smarter Egg clients from across the business spectrum were in attendance, along with some invited guests. The video footage was filmed and edited by Ian Armstrong of Onevision Multimedia.

Around the world with ‘Break From The Pack’

A one month old boy exploring his father's well-worn copy of Break From The Pack

When you begin to read a book, you really don’t know where it’s going to bring you.

When I first heard of Oren Harari’s ‘Break From The Pack’, I was interested. I liked the premise of the book – how to succeed in a copy-cat world. But I see new, interesting books every week and regularly take no action.

It was when I was working with Ron Immink and Yanky Fachler that I first had the opportunity to read it. The more I read, the more I liked. I downloaded the audio version and consumed it avidly in cars and trains.

As I began to realise that it had significant learning for more than just corporate executives, I started to analyse the ideas in some depth. I have a vivid memory of spending a late night in the UCD Smurfit Business School library summarising some of the key concepts and linking them to other books and ideas. (Coincidentally, that very library was once the chapel of Carysfort Teacher Training College where my mother would, presumably, have prayed for success in her studies).

Soon enough, I’m building a development programme around the concepts within the book. People found it stimulating and at times, inspirational. We adjusted the approach and evolved the programme. Next thing you know, I’m allowing a picture of me with the bloody book on my head to be used in public. It’s creating a stir.

It’s an unusual feeling when you become synonymous with a book you didn’t write. This began to make me a little uncomfortable. I started to compile a document of thoughts and learnings from working with the Smarter Eggs, with the intention of sharing it with the author, Oren Harari. Then, suddenly, I learned of his passing.

That changed things. Now, I was dealing with the man’s legacy. I wanted others to hear his ideas and to apply them for their benefit. But the sadness of his passing knocked me back a bit. And then, the book began to disappear from sale, available only intermittently. I began to consider ‘retiring’ the programme. And, eventually, I did.

Within days of that decision, I received an unusual request: to speak at a conference in St. Petersburg, Russia which was built around the launch of the Russian translation of the book. In the spirit of adventure, I agreed.

What Aodan Enright looks like in Russian & 'The Effect of Madonna'

 

It turns out that the concept of ‘breaking from the pack’ doesn’t have the same cultural resonance in Russia. The metaphor isn’t as powerful or descriptive. So, their chosen title is ‘The Effect of Madonna’, a reference to Oren’s use of Madonna as a role model for calculated reinvention.

The conference itself was an extraordinary experience for me. Aside from being treated like royalty by a wonderfully welcoming group of people, it opened my eyes to a different business culture, where collaboration was the norm, rather than the exception. People from across the business spectrum there were open and enthusiastic about the ideas in my talk, even if some weren’t really fans of Madonna!

St. Petersburg, Russia, June 6th 2011. (Note Russian translation of slide)

Oren Harari highlights Madonna as someone who has consistently reinvented herself, moving herself into new trends, niches and markets early in their evolution, and often doing so while her previous incarnation was still profitable. In that regard, she’s a worthy role model for business.

Some of the lessons from Oren’s interpretation of Madonna’s story are challenging, and often seem counter-intuitive or inappropriate. But, I’ve yet to work with someone who didn’t find value from these challenges, reproduced in the slide deck below.

 

If I thought then that the Russian conference marked the end of my journey with Break From The Pack, time would prove me wrong. I have reinvented the original programme and am now running it again. The programme is different, but the inspiration from Oren’s book is still as strong as ever.

Other books have delighted me, moved me, or inspired me. But few have launched me down such a weird and wonderful road as Oren Harari’s Break From The Pack.

* Roger Overall shares his thoughts on Break From The Pack from our Book That Inspired Me series.