How the value of creations is determined by the experiences they create for other people and how storytelling is used to facilitate this process.
The Salon #03 was all about the CREATE part in the knowledge entrepreneur formula.
A knowledge entrepreneur is an expert who creates for an audience earning an income.
We talked about the importance of experiences for every creation and about the role of storytelling for delivering this experience.
Selected discussion points:
- How all valuable creations deliver experiences
- The importance of storytelling in any creation
Highlights from the conversation
Experiences determine the value of your creations
We started discussing a key insight, how all creations should deliver an experience to someone else. It's the experience for someone else that gives your creation value in the sense that we talk about value. You can use this as a rule of thumb:
The higher the number and intensity of experiences you can create, the higher the value of your creation.
We tend to keep most of our creations to ourselves. This could be ideas, notes, feedback, insights, or even things we built. By holding them back we are effectively minimizing their value. Only if a creation is put out there for others to see, it can start to multiply its value. And in our connected world, the potential of creations to multiply is huge.
Not creations alone but creations plus people deliver experiences
Haider shared a wonderful illustration that is used for marketing and copywriting. If you have a product, no matter of physical or digital, it isn't the product itself that is at the center of interest, but what your audience do (I'd say experience) with it. That's why in marketing you should avoid listing features and rather talk about benefits for the user.
The very same principle shows how it is important to put your creations out there so that other people can pick them up and do something with them.
The example was taken from the book Badass - Making Users Awesome.
Stories are indispensable for persuasion
It easy to overlook how storytelling is the most effective, maybe even the only tool available to influence someone else. If it is your goal to persuade someone of an idea or a new way of thinking, you better have a story to offer.
If you touch a hot stove in real life, you will have a vivid experience of pain and learn an important lesson not to touch a hot stove again. A story allows other people to experience something. They relate to the characters, picture a situation, remember what happened, and potentially learn a lesson. Though it may not be as vivid as a hot stove, it is the closest thing we got when communicating with other people.
Information is a shortcut for people that are already on board
Information can be useful if someone is already convinced of an idea and just needs the information to follow through. That's probably why experts tend to focus on the exchange of (often dry and boring) information. They also have a hard time to agree on things where they have different opinions, so maybe that is related as well 🤔
Compelling storytelling binds your product with an experience
Alyssa shared some best practices from her storytelling experience:
- Make conflict in a story visible, better sooner rather than later
- Make not yourself but your audience the hero of the story
- Create in a form that allows your audience to relate to
Authentic and aspirational stories serve different purposes
I found this to be a highlight from our Salon discussion. There seem to be different types of stories and we discussed the following two as examples:
- An aspirational story puts the narrator as the hero. For example, you are an expert who has the knowledge and skills to give your audience new insights.
- An authentic story, showing that you are a human being with flaws and problems, just like your audience.
Yina pointed us in the direction of how both of these types are important and can serve different purposes. It reminded me of the following story from my own experience.
How I addressed my daughter's feer of burglars with different story types
My daughter once started to develop a constant fear of burglars breaking into our house. So my first impulse was to educate her about the facts, which of course went horribly wrong. I said that indeed burglaries happen but they are rare and rarely involve people getting harmed. This made things only worse because my daughter now seems to have proof that burglaries actually happen and can potentially also happen to us.
Then I continued with an authentic story. I said, that I also don't know whether someone will break into the house but I got to terms with it and ignore this as a very unlikely event. I shared with her my theory that there is good fear and bad far and in the case of burglaries, it is mostly bad fear. Again I noticed that this doesn't help her at all.
So I resorted to an aspirational story: I said to her that she has nothing to be afraid of because I will be always there for her and if I see a burglar I would punch him and throw him out of the house. Even though I am not particularly muscular, this worked much better. I could feel how this gave her a sense of security that I wasn't able to create otherwise. In this situation, the aspirational hero story was better suited to dissolve her fear than an authentic story.
Use the force, but don't succumb to the dark side
Andy brought up a very important observation on storytelling. It seems like social media in particular is full of people telling un-authentic stories for the sake of achieving their goals, be it for status, sales, influence, or otherwise. And this trend seems to backfire as it not only hurts the people consuming these stories but also the ones creating them.
Storytelling in itself is an important and maybe even essential skill but it can be used for good or bad purposes. We agreed that it is the responsibility of every one of us to use the tools at our disposable in a responsible way.
Fireside gems 🔥✨
Here are some additional insights from the fireside chat. That's what I call the part when the official salon has ended but a few of us just remain in the call and continue chatting
The gamer with the fit body
Mateo shared an example from a knowledge entrepreneur he follows. He is an expert gamer that also started to become fit and healthy. He is an inspirational figure because of his backstory and his muscular body. At some point, he started to live-stream his workouts which added a very authentic component to the story he tells. You can witness how he puts in the work, how he shows up every day, and how he also struggles from time to time when he reaches points of failure.
Gaming is a mainstream activity and especially when you do it over long periods it can jeopardize your health and physique. Offering guidance for games on how to achieve physical fitness from someone that is authentic, because he is a gamer and he achieved a fit body, is a great example of a knowledge entrepreneur.
How experts on every level are important
Lynoure brought up an amazing example from her own experience with dance teachers. She was taking lessons from this amazingly skilled couple of expert dancers online. During these live sessions, you could see how they, too, sometimes found a move difficult and how they voice their frustration, just like the students do, when making a mistake.
We realized how this is a good example of an authentic story, that the perfect couple also struggles sometimes when practicing. Lynoure found this to be motivating. And then she added another wow-moment:
It shows that there is use for experts on every skill level
This tied in beautifully with our Salon #02 on experts where we realized also that you cannot be the right expert for everyone, but for some people, you will. Now we see that it can even be an advantage to be less skilled than others, as it allows us to relate better to the experience of being a beginner.
Mateo brought up the book Made to Stick which also talks about the Curse of Knowledge.
Things to cover in future events
We didn't cover the the following agenda points and will discuss them in more specialized future events:
- About the quote "work is turning your thoughts into value"
- Why you should capture your insights
- The enormous potential of evergreen pages
List of substantial changes I made to this page according to evergreen pages principle.
- Dec 16 - created as invitation for the event
- Dec 22 - replaced with highlights from the event