16 March 2011


Monday afternoon Geert and Tineke became the proud parents of baby girl Elise.

Born 14/03/2011 - 13:09
50,5 cm - 3,320 kg

9 March 2011

The Power of Storytelling for Business

Up until 10 years ago most sales- and business conversations were focusing on details. People wanted to know all specifications of a device before purchasing it. Smarter salespeople were already describing the experience of using the device. This became more and more important in the last decade.
Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, images and sounds, often by improvisation or embellishment. Let’s get a bit deeper into the art of storytelling for business.

In these modern days business is very much driven by stories. Whether you are selling a car or computer, marketing your professional services or networking at a reception. It’s all about the stories.

You better make sure to have a rock solid story to introduce yourself to other business people. People don’t like to hear a boring “cv-style” introduction, but they really want to hear what drives your life. They want to hear the passion in what you do.
That same story can be told on your online Social Media profiles, and even more stories can be told in forum entries and blogposts, creating the canvas for your topic of choice.
Creating a story will always make your topic more comprehendible. Drawing the bigger picture by creating a story around your statement will make it easy for everyone to understand and really “get it”.

Hundreds of years ago storytellers travelled from village to village to tell their stories. In the next years professional storytellers will teach businesspeople how to create the stories they need to market and sell their products and services. User experiences, testimonials and all other available content can be combined into great and lively stories.

Storytelling is a topic that jumped into my eyesight several times in the last months. A few great examples of new professional services around this topic :

• Fortune/CNN : Article on TransMedia Storytelling : http://features.blogs.fortune.cnn.com/2010/11/09/why-storytelling-is-essential-for-business-leaders
• Corporate Storyteller Raf Stevens (http://www.corporatestoryteller.be/) came with a book-project on peer to peer storytelling (http://www.linkedstories.com/)
• Dirk Hermans starts with a one-stop-shop (Vertelpunt Uitgevers) where stories can be found in all possible formats : Newspapers and magazines can buy story-content, writers can publish their stories into books, organisations can hire a writer to bring his or her story live in front of an audience. (http://www.vertelpuntuitgevers.be/)

It is already more than clear to me that stories will be very important in the next years and this also relates in a new style of companies taking shape : Small but very active groups of people combining and concentrating on skills as copywriting, marketing, graphic design and communications. Communication Consultants like myself will have to concentrate on listening to people’s stories and reshaping them into a successful format. Like stated in the Fortune article, it’s not about creating hundreds of stories, it’s about creating one fantastic story that gets told over and over again to hundreds of people !

I think this new development will be very exciting for everyone in this industry and everyone who is passionate by the written word.

What’s your story ?

2 March 2011

Make a match. Risk-free !

This is a very simple but highly effective networking tip !
The more people you know, the more people you can actually help.

If one of your contacts is looking for someone to help him or her to get in touch with someone or something, don't hesitate to introduce this person to someone in your network who might be able to solve the problem.

If those two people have a successful match, your reputation and credibility will get a serious boost.
I often hear the fear for damaging your reputation if a match wouldn't be successful. I think you can perfectly get this under control. Let me show you with this example :

One of your contacts is looking for someone to help him with a task which needs very specific skills and knowledge.

First possibility :

You do know someone who can do this and this is someone you have known for ages.
You can highly recommend the services of this person. You would dare to say that this person is very accurate, professional and will probably be able to solve the problem.

Second possibility :
You don't have anyone in your direct network with the necessary skills for this job.
A few months ago you have briefly met someone at a networking event who claimed to have those skills. You still can make a successful match !

You have to tell your contact that this person is NOT a warm contact, but someone you have recently met on a networking event and possibly has the required skills and knowledge.
I usually advise to keep looking around for a warm recommendation, but if you come up empty please do contact this person because there is a good chance to a solution.
In both cases your reputation stays 100% intact and you have a chance to a serious reputation-boost if the match is successful !