Masters of Community with David Spinks
How To Give Soul To Your Community with Gabrielle Dolan
October 18, 2021
In this episode of Masters of Community, we speak with Gabrielle Dolan, Founder of Jargon Free Fridays and Speaker and Author at Gabrielle Dolan Consulting. Gabrielle realized the power of storytelling toward the end of her corporate career. This motivated her to learn about storytelling and led her to grow her skills into a full-fledged coaching business. After leaving her job at the National Australia Bank, she went into communication coaching for corporations, where she helped them use storytelling to communicate effectively with employees and customers. Seventeen years later, she’s a highly sought-after storytelling coach and keynote speaker. This podcast is full of stories and anecdotes about how powerful stories can be. Gabrielle draws from her wealth of experience to share tips and strategies that businesses can use to tell their own stories. These stories are generally a branding activity, but they do need to be told well. So, Gabrielle also shares some simple tips to structure your stories for maximum impact. Who is this episode for? Community managers for brand-new communities or business owners who want to build a community with a soul. Three key takeaways: 1. Storytelling for Community Building: Corporates can use stories to increase membership numbers and generate excitement among members so they engage naturally and frequently in their community (onboarding). Ongoing stories can be rooted in the values and behavior of your company and are also the social glue that keeps propagating outside your community. They keep your brand relevant among the larger cohort of your business partners, employees, customers, and well-wishers. 2. Storytelling to Communicate Values of Your Community: Instead of listing DOs and DON’Ts as rules of your community, try communicating them through stories. Stories are a fun way to learn, they add more context, and they also enable easier retention of those messages. Get major stakeholders on video telling stories to share the values of your organization and your community. This is a great way to realize the superpowers of storytelling for your community. 3. Roadblocks to Unlocking the Power of Storytelling: Most people who say they don’t have a story to tell are underselling themselves because they think of “the hero’s journey” as the only type of story that would interest somebody. A good way to break this mindset is to realize that you are not writing a Hollywood blockbuster and that you can let go of this weird “performance anxiety”. Start by defining the message/value/behavior that you want to communicate with the story you want to tell, and then spend enough time finding high-quality stories from your core group. Keep your stories specific and succinct, so you grab your audience’s attention and maintain it throughout the length of the story. Notable Quotes: 1. “You probably don't need storytelling if every time you communicate people understand what you're saying and can remember it. So if you're doing that really well, then you probably don't need it. And they go, oh, well, you know, that's not always the case. And then I go, if you can influence people all the time, where you get people on board whether it's buying your stuff or buying into an idea and they're fully engaged in it, then you probably don't need storytelling either.” 2. “The real power of the story is they will be able to retell the story, which means really good stories can have this ripple effect. So it's not only you just recruiting - for want of a better word - people into your community. It's actually your members that can share the stories and recruit people into your communities.” 3. “The story explains the “why” and if you're not explaining the “why,” then it's not really making an impact” 4. “Whether it's a company or a community, everyone has a story, and it comes back to why did they start? Like if you just fundamentally ask someone to say, why does this community exist? Why does this company exist? You'll find a story. You'll find someone passionate about something. You'll find someone solving a problem around.” Answers to rapid-fire questions: 1. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be? Vegemite toast. 2. What's your favorite book to give as a gift to others or to recommend to others? “The Cheetah That Cannot Run” - a book Gabrielle’s daughter wrote and illustrated at the age of fourteen as a school project. 3. What's a great conversation starter that you like to use in groups or in communities? Asking people “What's your superpower?” 4. Have you ever worn socks with Sandals? No. 5. What's the weirdest community you've ever been a part of? Thought Leaders’ Business School - what’s weird in a good way about this community is that everyone openly talks about money and what they’re working on in a supportive, non-competitive way. 6. One Tweet-sized piece of advice for the rest of the world on how to live? “Be yourself. Everybody else is taken”. It’s a quote from Oscar Wilde.
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