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Your Business Is Your Story…Don’t let it stagnate!

Episode 1 – “I don’t know where to start!”

What is the Number One fear about speaking in public?

Actually, there is no number one fear. There’s a whole range of physical and psychological reasons why some people hate speaking in public. But who knows what the business and personal benefits could be from improving how you present yourself to a live audience or camera.

For example, have you been attracted to someone’s story before you were even sure what it was exactly what they did?

Speaking is your ‘audible’ business card. It is your verbal brand.

  • Having a story makes you Memorable, it helps you create a reputation.

People hate being sold to on a first meeting, so the first meeting shouldn’t be about selling…unless it’s selling yourself.

  • It creates Empathy and Loyalty.

I can almost guarantee that somewhere in your story is a point where the client thinks, “Yes! I’ve been there.” Or “That’s what’s happening to me now.”

  • It helps make you recognisable, as the best person to go to, for what you offer, ahead of your competitors.

There is more than just yourself offering the solutions people are looking for, but you have been open about your ups and downs on the way to where you are now. Do you think that might give you an edge?

  • It helps increase Know-Like and Trust better than most other forms of branding.

Banners, flyers, business cards, generally, they all carry one message no matter where you take them or who you show them to, correct? But, audiences are different, locations are different, so you need different messages. The best way to be different is to tell a slightly different story where ever you are. You can change which story you tell or change the way you tell it.

  • It can make you become even more professional.

Your story is your brand. You have told your story honestly. Now you need to live up to your story or the brand is ruined.

  • It can increase your business’s premium image, you can charge a premium price.

You tell your story for the first time and people are interested. They may buy into you. But when you deliver on the promises your story encapsulates you can increase your offers.

  • The longer-term impact of speaking will mean you have a higher budget for other marketing costs as it will be your reputation and your story that will be bringing you in your new business.

Unless you have a rich benefactor behind you from the start, you will need to grow a client base. In my experience, the surest way to grow an audience is to speak to people.
But everyone knows that to talk to clients on a 1-2-1 basis is costly in time and money. By your ability to talk to a group and persuade them to call you budget costs can be directed to other areas.

  • For your customers, there is a less perceived risk as you have a reputation for trustworthiness and openness.

Do you hear people say “Yes! You can trust them. Look at their banner.” Or “Yes! You can trust them, They do what they SAY.”

  • Overall you end up with an Improved image.

You have had problems speaking to a large audience for many years,  but, after some training, you stand up for the first time and deliver a presentation you have prepared, practised and performed confidently, how much more confident will your posture be next time? How much more energy will you be able to put into the presentation, next time? How much more impact will your speech have next time.?

  • You will be able to attract the best talent and the best investors with your story.    You are aiming to create a Unique Selling Promotion with your story – i.e. people will come to you instead of your competitors because they have heard your story.

Your personality will become your Attraction Point, so your business needs to have become a personality. Your business needs your story to be told. But…it needs to be told well. Next time we will explore how that can be achieved.
So, a good place to start any conversation at a group meeting is “Tell us all a little bit about yourself.”

How confident would you feel if you were asked that question?

Why Worry! You can’t worry about what can’t be changed, can you! Can you?

 

Ernie (SAID) Boxall

10 minutes read!

A paid gig. A garden centre in Brighton for 4 x 30 minutes of Christmas stories for families with children up to eight years of age. What an opportunity for some travel and meeting people and showcase storytelling. Train tickets purchased and the timetable worked out, I will arrive in Brighton about midnight and then look around the town for a place to eat. One of those open 24 hours, where I can lay my head down for an hour or so. What’s to worry about?

The Journey:

Let’s start outside my street where the bus stops to take me to the station. The 17.10 to Leamington. I arrived at 17.05 to sit with an elderly woman who had been there a while. We spoke a few words and then I glanced at my watch, 17.20.

At 17.40 we both figured that the company had simply withdrawn that bus and the next one was the 18.00. A long wait, but I had plenty of time before the 21.10 train to Birmingham for the first connection. At 18.00 the bus came, except it wasn’t the 18.00, it was the 17.10, nearly an hour late because of traffic. Still, no worries, I was on.

Twenty minutes later, the bus was in traffic jam again, under a mile from the station.

“You’d be best get off and walk,” the driver told both of us. I needed no second invitation. I picked up my rucksack, slung it over my back and set off, eventually walking through the station reception area, buying my tickets and sitting down to wait a few minutes for the connection. It arrived without too much wait.

New Street Station:

New Street Station: 20.30: Plenty of time to catch the 21.10 to Milton Keynes for stage three. Had a coffee and wandered down to the platform. There was a train in, going to Euston (I think) via Milton Keynes, but it was the one before mine so I thought I’d wait-better stick to the plan, right? Out went the train and just wait for mine.

“The 21.10 to Euston via Milton Keynes has been delayed after a passenger was hit on the rails,” I think those were the words, but I can’t be sure. What the delay was going to be though, no one seemed to have any idea.

“I’ve got to be in Milton Keynes by 10.30,” I told the man on the platform “do you have any idea when it will be?”

He didn’t know, but suggested I should have caught the train which had just left, that was going to Milton Keynes! Grrrrr.

Milton Keynes:

I arrived at Milton Keynes around midnight. Just a few minutes after the train to Clapham Junction had pulled out. Why was that significant? Yes! That was my next destination. This time the guard on the platform was really helpful.

He told me to forget my plans, go to Euston, change for the underground to Victoria and then to Three Bridges.

That was the last but one stop on my schedule before Brighton.

This part of the journey was easy, a doddle compared with what I had just put up with. The experience had been frustrating but nothing to worry about.

Three Bridges:

At last, one more stop before Brighton. One more train journey before I can lay my head down somewhere. But No!

The line between Three Bridges and Brighton is undergoing maintenance at the moment. There is now a coach laid on which takes over an hour. Just one more little dig in the ribs, one more turn of the screw. At least I would be able to sleep for a while and to be fair I did. Until! At last, Brighton Station.

Brighton:

We all, I think, climbed off the bus weary and worse for wear. I know I did. But that was OK because I had sussed out a 24-hour eatery on the seafront and it was just under a mile away. It was, however, 2.45 am, there weren’t too many people about to ask which way the seafront was, and the people who were around, weren’t really ‘around’ if you know what I mean. The aroma of marijuana was thick in the air, even though the number of people in the area could be counted on one hand.

I walked in one direction until I came to a shop and asked directions. I was on the right road.

“It’s a straight road until you reach the seafront and then turn left.”

I know what you’re thinking! Once again he’ll meet a gremlin, a spanner in the works. No! He was spot on, straight for about 1,000 yards and turn left. Only, when I turned left it seemed that every nightclub in Brighton had closed at the same time and poured its contents out onto the street, in various stages of inebriation and dress (or undress for the older readers). Every eating place from McDonald’s to the fish and chip shop was heaving with humanity, squealing, shouting, laughing. I needed Buddies Restaurant but I have to say I was a bit wary of asking anyone where it was. But, in the end, through trial and error, there is was. A bright restaurant, with lights blazing and outside tables. It was packed.

Buddies Restaurant:

Now, Buddies, I have since found out, is famous in Brighton. It certainly was on Saturday morning, but the staff found me a table for one and a menu of staple restaurant foods. I decided that the fish and chips, with garlic bread and a pot of tea, would probably last me the longest and thus mean the least time wandering the street. It worked. I was able to make the meal last from 4 am until just gone 5, and then sort of melted into the background until 6 am. The staff didn’t seem to care. They were still busy with people coming-or staggering in. (I have to praise the staff here. They were brilliant). The noise all night was deafening, many of the customers were in that state where they were either ‘jack the lad’ or ‘Sally the ladette’.

Through it, all the staff smiled took orders and served promptly. It did strike me later, that fish and chips at 4 am was a bit out of the ordinary.

The Last Leg?

Refreshed, food-wise anyway, I left the restaurant to make my way back to the station to catch a bus to the garden center. It was still only 6 am so I thought a stop off at another, quieter café would at least give me the chance to get my head down for an hour or two. I bought a coffee, found a quiet corner, set my alarm and put my head down. A sort of sleep came. I woke at around 8.30 am and leaving the untouched coffee went for my bus on the final part of the journey.”Wyevale Garden Centre please.”

“That bus doesn’t go from here, take the 7 into town and catch the 2!”

“OK, no problem. I had been told that morning that the bus to the garden centre left from outside the station, but no problem. “When’s the next bus to the centre?”

“20 minutes. It would be quicker to walk!”

Exasperation…

So I walk back the way I’d come earlier that morning to catch the bus to the garden centre. It was, by now about 9.10 and I’d seen that the journey would take 20 minutes, which would be fine. Except, the only bus to the garden centre was ‘due’ in 18 minutes which was cutting it fine. The traffic in the town was snarled anyway and I had no idea whether that would increase the travel time.

Now I was worried…not frustrated or angry (too tired for that), worried that I would miss the stipulated 10 am arrive time and forfeit the contract.

Last resort, a taxi.

I arrived at the garden centre at 9.50 am, had the stand set up by 10 am and ready to go at 10.30 am.

Wyvale Garden Centre:

The rest of the day was smooth sailing. I told my stories, the children sat through (mainly) and the parents were happy with the event. I was home in two hours less than it took to get to Brighton and time to sleep.

Frustrated-At times

Angry-Not really

Worried-Only once.

Result: A story to tell. An invite to return in December. A life lesson learned. Plans are great until the first shot is fired, then just handle it. Nothing to worry about!

Location, Location, Location.

A Six-Figure Business Event with tickets on sale charged between 0 – £200 is worth visiting, isn’t it?

The location of your event is important, isn’t it?

You would have thought so, especially since my ticket was complimentary. The opportunity to mix with successful entrepreneurs in a top venue for 8 hours of business advice from people who have the same drive and goals as you do!

That’s what I thought anyway. How wrong I was.

Holding the event at a hotel in Birmingham, just 20 minutes work from the centre of England’s second city, added credibility to the advert.

I looked forward to a day of education and networking in comfortable surroundings in Digbeth, Birmingham. I arrived in the area and asked for directions.

“Yes, there it is,” the local man said pointing to an imposing red brick building with green-topped towers, not too far away. “Go down Cheapside and turn left, the hotel is there.” I thanked him and moved towards the street. Cheapside, that name didn’t exactly strike me as auspicious but that wasn’t uppermost in my mind, although the name did seem apt as I walked down it. At the corner, there were police lined up across the street, again not what I expected to see.

There was a pub on the other side of the road and it quickly became apparent why they were there.  The street filled with protesters from the Football Lads Alliance, and I had to wait until they moved off.

I approached the hotel door and saw an amazing site, four young people, perhaps twenty-something years old, sitting on the steps smoking. Their appearance wasn’t what I expected, but I carried on into the reception. Two ladies sat behind the counter with tattoos openly on view and rings in their noses.

I asked about the event and the room, one of the ladies turned to a tall man leaning on the desk “Show him to the room”. The man obliged and took me along a corridor to a small area with banners showing the event organisers and the promise of a six-figure business.

A man in his suit and shown into a side room with about 15 wooden chairs set out in rows and seven men and women attending. The signing in sheet showed that this was it, the full extent of the six-figure business system, the hotel location and the promise of business systems.

It is not where I would have held a two-hour workshop, it is a hotel I hope I will never have to set foot in again.

What’s the point of turning up?

Turn Up:

A charity event is a very hit or miss affair for all concerned with its organisation because of the numerous ways, from weather to the potential number of the public prepared to attend.

The 28th May 2017 was a case in point and one that has provided me with this blog post.  My decision to ‘Turn Up’ to one event which was cancelled and go to another one meant that from a day where potentially nothing was going to happen except sitting on my backside, turned into a day of proper enjoyment.

I was due to offer my shiatsu services at a charity event in Nuneaton and made an early start to arrive in time to set up and prepare. So early in fact that I missed the text message saying the organisers had been hit by illness and needed to cancel and re-arrange. So, when I arrived in Nuneaton to find the message and confirm that the organisers were OK apart from the bug that had hit them.

It left me with a decision to make. Do I return home and sit in all day on the computer working on the upcoming workshop? Do I have the Sunday off and chill or do I ride over to Tamworth and see if I can help with the event organised by the Buddy Bag Foundation. I’d seen posts about the day from Julie Scott of ‘Great Scott Marketing’ and since Tamworth held fond memories for me from my ‘soccer day’ I decided to make that the run. It is 19 miles from Leamington Spa to Nuneaton and 16 miles from Nuneaton to Tamworth, and I had prepared myself for a day’s session of shiatsu.

Happy memories for me from my ‘soccer days’ pushed me to work on a hunch that it would be worthwhile going to the Buddy Bag Foundation Day. I decided to make that the run. It is 19 miles from Leamington Spa to Nuneaton and 16 miles from Nuneaton to Tamworth, and I had prepared myself for a day’s session of shiatsu.

The forecast wasn’t great, clouds and some showers forecast but if that’s the case I know that organisers make contingency plans, so I took the decision, Tamworth it was. The road from Nuneaton to Tamworth is special to me because of my interest in Roman and Viking history, the A5 the Roman Road was less than a few miles up the road and a direct route through.
(Reminder of a story my Mother told me of the times they would catch a train to Tamworth for a dance and then, on the way home, buy bags of chips and give them to the engine driver to put on top of the boiler until they were back in Nuneaton).

The Moat House Tamworth is a 16th-century building now converted into a hotel, with grounds at the back and ideal for a family day out. As those who attended now know, it was a superb day of blue skies, hot sunshine, loads of families, beer, wine, ice cream and BBQ. It was the ideal setting for a charity event with an almost, captive audience. But it takes more than that to be a success, particularly when the day has been organised by people with outside jobs, families and the safety of the children to juggle. This was the standout part of the day. The set up of the gazeboes where weather conditions can be a hazard. The games and the raffle. The collection of donations and the general control of the areas around the location of the bouncy castle (always guaranteed to have a couple of youngsters coming off in tears). The guide ropes around the gazebos, the queue (always) for the face painting, the stocks and wet sponges and then a man on a scooter offering to do seated shiatsu massages which weren’t expected.

Fortunately, and is this the crux of the story, the decision to ‘turn up’ rather than go home, meant I was able to be introduced to new people, help push the money collected towards its goal and have a great time into the bargain. I followed a hunch.

A big thank you to Julie and the ladies connected with the day, their partners, the people who bought the raffle tickets and donated to the charity by sitting for 15 minutes shiatsu. I enjoyed the day, and I do know that well over £300 was raised on the day.

Do you make decisions to follow a hunch after a problem has hit your plans?

7/05/17.Nothing Happened To Me Today…except!

Nothing happened to me today…except I was on my way from home to Coventry station to catch the train to London at 05.50.

I had only been on the scooter two minutes when I saw the body of a badger in the middle of the road. Now, being a rider I always try to move road-kill out of the way of traffic that would crush the body flat. It’s a trait I’ve picked up since being a rider because I have the thought flash through my mind that I’d hope someone would move my body if they ever came across me lying prone.

The blood was still seeping from the badger’s mouth and rigour mortise had not set in so the incident could not have long happened. I carried the body onto the grass verge and laid it beneath a tree in peace. As I bent down my mobile phone fell out of my pocket onto the ground. I picked it up and put it back. I felt in one pocket and then the other because I wasn’t sure if my wallet may have fallen out as well. It wasn’t there, but it wasn’t on the ground either. I had left it at home.

Although I wish it had not been that way the badger saved me from arriving at the station without my tickets and with no cards to buy replacements.
So nothing much happened on the day…except.
Did very little happen to you and can you make a story out of it?
Let me know at ernie@erniesaid.info; Join me at http://www.ErnieSaid.info and on social media.

Nothing Happened To Me Today 20/04/17

 

Nothing happened to me today! 
Except…and I wish this had not happened. My alarm went off at 06.30 and woke me from a damn good dream. I switch on the radio which confirms the time with the 6.30 news headlines. Slightly disorientated I reached across and switched it off when the thought smashed through the fog ‘networking in Balsall Common.

This is a once a month event which sort of creeps up on you because of the time gap between meetings, but it is one worth turning up to. So I jump out of bed and get to the bathroom, wash and clean up while I practice my 60-seconds. Dress and at 7 am mount my trusty silver stead and motor off to Balsall Common some 15 minutes away. There’s a light drizzle but nothing to worry about.

Traffic at this time of the day is very light so in no time at all, I am outside the venue for the meeting, only I know straight away that something is wrong. The doors are closed and the lights are off. A little perplexed I wait for five minutes until I’m sure that the meeting must have been relocated and I’d missed the email.

I decided to phone one of the organisers because Balsall Common isn’t that big and the new venue won’t be far away. A slightly hazy voice answered the phone.
“Hi, it’s Ernie has the venue been changed?”                                                                                   “What venue?”
“For the meeting!”
“It’s every third FRIDAY!”

It was only Thursday! I was a day early and a numpty.
You see the worst of this ‘nothing happened today’ shocker is that something will happen tomorrow. Tomorrow is the third Friday of the month.

Now I’m sure this has happened to everyone. Hasn’t it? But when it did, did you think of tying it into a story about ‘organisation’ and checking your diary?

If you want to know more about turning days when ‘Nothing happens’ into content, catch up with me at ernie@erniesaid.info or http://www.ErnieSaid.info and let’s watch out for each other.

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A Father’s Nightmare.

A Father’s nightmare.

A stalker’s dream. A young girls first night.
Last night.Bright night .Fright night                                                                                             Sitting. Waiting. A father’s disturbed mind

Standing. Waiting.
A stalker’s disturbed mind. All eyes searching.Scanning.                                                            The dress. The walk. The smile or laugh.The fateful sign.                                                                   The eyes turned down.                                                                                                                               The closing ale houses and open car park.                                                                                          The flashing neon lights and danger sign.

Dark night. Fight night.

Skydome. Thunderdome. Silver flash in cotton white.                                                         Drunken haze. Bloody goodnight.
Dark night. Tragic sight.                                                                                                                      Filthy hands around her throat. Stinking body in a woollen coat.

Dark night. Tragic sight.

Parents fears. Adult tears. A rag doll crumpled in a heap.                                                                  A child’s fall to a screaming sleep.