Storytelling 2.0: a mystery singer, a shoe and a conflict.

Happy New Year!

What is your most daring business-related vision for 2014 and beyond? I will share one of mine with you. I just submitted a book chapter on transmedia storytelling for speakers. Transmedia storytelling is a novel concept for many.  Here is a short video that explains it:

Having worked in the peacemaking and conflict management field, I would love to generate projects that can teach conflict management skills through transmedia. I plan to develop transmedia content myself as a speaker and trainer.  Through Bookphoria, we work with authors to bring their expert content into multimedia.

What if we could create a transmedia narrative that is not about a mystery singer and a shoe, but rather about a conflict?  Every good story has a conflict. We all have seen enough of venting about conflicts on social media. In contrast, our “caught-in-conflict” transmedia story can engage the audience members to solve a conflict by using their existing skills and extra help they may get along their journey from skillful professionals. The transmedia story may  include videos and narratives of effecting peacemaking, as well as different scenarios to explore. The audience members become active participants and digital storytellers themselves. People can play and learn!

OK, this is an example of my vision of the future of conflict management training. How can digital storytelling become part of your vision?

Share your daring vision in the comments below!

P.S. Bookphoria offers a free PDF of my ebook “FANology Playbook: 27 Brain-Friendly Activities to Turn Virtual Friends and Foes into Fans.” Get it HERE.

Introducing Bookphoria, where books and ideas thrive in multimedia learning

bookHappy holidays!

May your heart be filled with love and wonder, your belly with laughter (and yummy food) and your mind with good thoughts!

As we are gearing up for 2014, we are excited to share our animation from Bookphoria and start a conversation with authors, speakers and experts on how they can grow their virtual communities and make their ideas thrive in multimedia. Bookphoria’s mission is to convert books and expert content into dynamic multimedia learning modules that can be used on websites, in presentations, workshops, webinars and other “learnscapes,” including:

  • Author and Speaker Reels and Interviews;
  • Learning animations;
  • “Avatar Quests” and surveys to grow your virtual audience;
  • Gamified learning capsules that can help your audience apply and practice your main ideas.

Play while you learn!

Check out our animation below:

If you are an author, plan to become one or know authors of non-fiction books, we would love to connect with you!

Find Bookphoria on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/bookphoria and Twitter at https://twitter.com/bookphoria.

Think outside the book!

By | 2013-12-23T21:15:02+00:00 December 23rd, 2013|Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Meeting personal and professional development legend Brian Tracy: My appearance as a guest expert on The Brian Tracy Show

I love synchronicities.  I just came from San Diego where I had an amazing experience of meeting Brian Tracy, the legend of personal and professional development.  As one of the guests of “The Brian Tracy Show,” I got a chance to talk to Brian Tracy about my life’s work, the application of brain science to the field of coaching and training and about Bookphoria, my collaboration with distance learning company Wired@Heart to build a platform to convert non-fiction books into multimedia online courses.

We had a few minutes before the interview to talk. It turned out that Brian Tracy had just returned from Russia (synchronicity # 1), where he and his books enjoy a huge popularity. He was learning Russian and decided to test his knowledge of some Russian words. It was a great ice breaker because all of a sudden, the legend turned into a curious and eager learner of the subject matter that I’d had the luck to master from the time I was born – the Russian language. Needless to say, it eased my anxieties of meeting the world-renowned guru, who turned out to have such positive energy and enthusiasm about him that he transformed the interview into a great conversation that I enjoyed very much.

Earlier that day, I met up with my friend and colleague Nancy Kaye of American Communication English. We were sitting on a bench overlooking gorgeous San Diego Bay as I was rehearsing what I wanted to say during the interview.  A man came up to us and asked to take his picture with San Diego downtown in the background. We obliged and started talking. He was a scientist attending Neuroscience 2013, Society for Neuroscience’s annual meeting and the world’s largest forum for neuroscientists to discuss their research and network with the colleagues (synchronicity # 2).  I wish I could have been in both places at once! We chatted about fruit flies, the subjects of this scientist’s current research. Nancy shared a story on meeting Stephen Hawking at one of the conferences. All in all, it felt like the events were unfolding in ways that allowed me to meet new people, learn new things and have a lot of fun in the process. That’s the power of connective curiosity: make a connection, be curious, and allow new pathways to emerge.

Here are a few photos from the event:

Meeting Brian Tracy Meeting Brian Tracy

The recording is about to beginThe recording is about to begin

We are ready to start the interviewWe are ready to start the interview

At the cocktail reception with Nick Nanton, Emmy® Award Winning Director & Best-Selling Author At the reception with Nick Nanton, Emmy® Award Winning Director and Best-Selling Author

UPDATE:  You can now watch my video interview with Brian Tracy here.


By | 2014-03-13T00:06:24+00:00 November 14th, 2013|Miscellaneous|1 Comment

Make them tweet as you speak: 5 tips to make your presentation more shareable

shareWhenever I attend a conference or other events with speakers, I always look for the nuggets of wisdom I can share with my social networks right then and there.  I get original content and an opportunity to connect with other participants who may use the same hashtag for the event, as well as bring awareness to the event itself. It makes my job much easier when speakers have those catchy phrases, quotes, and headlines nicely peppered throughout their presentations.

If you are a presenter, you can benefit from having a range of shareable and tweetable phrases at your disposal. You get more exposure on social networks because others are more likely to share your words. You can use them in your marketing and promotional materials to stand out from the crowd. They can help people remember the gist of your message years after they heard you speak. Those expressions also build your brand if they speak to your values, core messages and perceptions. How do you develop such brain candy?  Here are 5 tips to create shareable content:

1. Keep it concise and precise. Ambiguity tickles the mind, precision sharpens it. Aim to express the main ideas of your presentation in a memorable way in 140 characters or less.

2. Sample, but don’t steal. Be always on the lookout for headlines in newspapers and magazines that you like. Notice what catches your attention and stirs your emotions. Pay attention to the wording and structure of the headline. The more you notice, the better you become at writing your own headlines. The goal is not to copy them but learn from them.  For example, I saw “Five things we can’t stop smiling about…” in The Oprah Magazine.  That’s a construction that can be re-used in many contexts: “Ten things I can’t stop thinking about…” or “Three movies I can’t stop raving about…” You get the idea. Here is another example:  “Good news for bad habits.” This headline plays with the contrast of “good” and “bad” in common expressions.  You can create your own contrastive pairs: “light humor for dark days” or “a sweet treat for a sour disposition.”

3. Write to remember. Jot down your creative ideas whenever and wherever they pop up in your mind. It is difficult to come up with a catchy phrase on the spot.  It usually takes time and several versions to perfect it. That’s why it is important to keep notes. Look for things that rhyme and word combinations that have a nice ring and flow to them. I have a Google document – Say Something – where I record my work in progress, and whenever I have a few spare minutes, I go there to tinker with words.

4. Sort and recycle. As you accumulate more catchy sayings, you can organize them according to their topics and combine them into an article or a blog post. My blog post “Six Tips for Peaceful Holidays” began with a series of tweets with the hashtag #peacefulholidays.  Later, I expanded on each tweet to write the blog post.  Craig Valentine, World Champion of Public Speaking for Toastmasters  International, who trained me to become a certified World Class Speaking Coach, compiled his “27 Phrases To Master the Stage” to inspire other speakers. I remember much of his speaking advice through these phrases. There are WordPress Twitter plugins, such as Click To Tweet,  that will allow your readers to share your phrases on Twitter with one click.  If you find compelling photos or images to accompany your phrases, you can turn them into slides or inspirational content to post on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest.

5.  Make them laugh, make them cry. Appeal to emotions. Emotional content grabs attention and is more likely to be shared and better remembered.  As one study revealed, “videos eliciting positive emotion, including joy and humour, are most likely to be forwarded; videos eliciting feelings of alertness and attentiveness are the next most likely to be forwarded.  Videos that evoke negative emotions, such as anger or disgust, are still more likely to be forwarded than dull, non-emotional videos.  Another study, done by the Journal of Marketing Research and the American Marketing Association, identified the top 9 emotional triggers that drive social sharing: emotionality, positivity, awe, anger, anxiety, sadness, practical utility, interest and surprise.

By | 2013-10-18T20:14:36+00:00 October 18th, 2013|Communication, Public Speaking|0 Comments

Look it up: the value of unsearchable questions

learn how to seeWhenever my 7-year-old daughter has a question that I cannot answer immediately, her typical response is “Look it up.”  Even with her purposefully limited exposure to the Internet, she knows that there is an answer somewhere there hiding behind the keyboards and screens.  What she does not realize is that I cannot easily look up the meaning of made-up words, the habitat of imaginary animals or what the weather is going to be on her birthday, which is in December and still months away.

In the world where many answers are available at our fingertips, there is wisdom and learning for all of us in pondering things that are not easy to look up. As speakers, teachers, trainers, and facilitators, it is perhaps our mission to challenge the audience with inquiries that cannot be solved by a piece of technology.  As neuroscientist Stuart Firestein suggests in his TED talk “The Pursuit of Ignorance,” “high-quality ignorance” – the appreciation of what we don’t know – is a fuel of discovery.  While we can and should incorporate searchable facts, statistics, theories, and conclusions into our presentations, the growth potential often lies in unique, emerging connections initiated by the leaps into the unknown that the audience is willing to take.  Here are three strategies to help your audience “to make better ignorance” – to tinker with ideas for deeper insights.

Offer questions for reflection. A question is a mirror for the mind. A search for an answer can reveal new associations and pathways that may not surface otherwise. Questions help to make your message relevant to your audience. They challenge the audience to think about how your main points relate to their lives and personal experiences. As Immanuel Kant  observed, “Every answer given on principle of experience begets a fresh question.” What can you ask your audience to highlight the relevance of your message?  In which contexts are they most likely to apply your ideas?  Make your questions open-ended to invite a broader inquiry: who, what, where, how, when, why.  Give enough space and silence for the insights to percolate to the surface. Invite your audience members to share their responses and listen actively for new connections to explore. Make reflection an essential part of the learning experience you create for your audience.

Explore life’s what ifs through scenarios.  Scenarios are mini-stories co-created with your audience. They provide hooks for your audience members to hang their own assumptions, beliefs, fears, and hopes. Scenarios offer a unique way to determine how a set of factors or a specific context can influence outcomes.  You can change things up, explore alternatives, brainstorm solutions without being threatened by negative consequences.  Scenarios help to overcome the “groupthink” and invite contrarian opinions.  In real life, we don’t always have the luxury of testing things out.  Scenarios offer an opportunity to take risks while still playing it safe.

Gamify your message. Our brains like playfulness. The desire to play may be wired in our mammalian brain as many animals exhibit playful behavior and learn the intricacies of social interactions through play. Play can relax the brain and make us more open to experiment, prepare for the unexpected and produce a more diverse repertory of behavior. In a role-play, we can assume various roles, put ourselves through different kinds of experiences, learn to better understand other perspectives and explore our own identities. Invite your audience to play, be silly, poke fun at themselves and laugh. Reward your audience members for their contributions. Random rewards boost motivation and learning as they trigger the release of the feel-good neurotransmitter dopamine. Playfulness is a way to create the state of “flow” and full engagement with people and ideas. As Plato once said, “You can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation.”

By | 2013-10-01T14:31:32+00:00 October 1st, 2013|Communication, Creativity, Public Speaking|0 Comments