Although the term storytelling has become a business buzzword in the 21st century, the art of storytelling has been around since our ancestors lived in caves and drew on their walls. Stories have the power to entertain, educate, preserve culture and instill moral values through accounts of imaginary or real people and events.
Stories also have the power to sell. You only need to look at an experiment called the “significant objects experiment” (http://significantobjects.com/) where a hundred cheap objects with an average value of $1.25 were sold for a total of $8,000 simply by adding a story to each.
In this new article we'll check out how the components of a story can help shape our creativity when writing a business proposal. Along the way, we’ll call on a few experts including the folk on the Pixar movie team - renowned for consistently making brilliant stories.
Great feedback for my Storytelling session at the APMP UK annual conference. Thanks to all who attended.
The conference theme was "Mind the Gap", so my talk was about getting from "once upon a time" to "happily ever after". Yes, I did consider that was a bit of a cliche, but it was too good a connection to miss.
Over the hour,
I explored the Pixar movie company formulae for consistently stellar storytelling. Taking inspiration from Andrew Stanton and the gang, I looked at how their approach to plot, character and themes can be applied to our proposals. Do catch up with Andrew Stanton at his TED talk - The Clues to a Great Story. And look out for my article later in the year.
Whether you go back 2,000 years to Aristotle’s theory of appealing to people through logic, emotion and ethics or dip into a more contemporary source such as Robert Cialdini’s six principles of influence, there is no shortage of advice on how to communicate persuasively. In fact, as with any topic you choose to explore these days, there is so much information it is hard to distill what’s relevant.
In my world of business to business sales proposals, persuasion must happen on the page through the written word. So, over the years, I have gathered a series of tips and techniques from many sources that I squirrel away under four categories:
In this article, I explore each one in more detail - I hope you find it valuable.
Back in October 2017, I dressed up as a witch (complete with pointy hat and broomstick) and presented on the hot topic of The Curse of Knowledge, explained by Steven Pinker as: "the difficulty of imagining what it's like for someone else not to know something that you know."
In a "better late than never" moment, I wrote a new article summarising the issue and offering a selection of cures to lift the curse. Enjoy the read.
Never a day goes by without the word Brexit being mentioned countless times - complete with speculation, informed opinion or simply fake news.
Those who hope we will be free of EU red tape are living in cloud cuckoo land. Just as we will have to fall in line with the rules and regulations of whatever trade or customs agreements we end up with, so we will have to abide by the procurement laws of the countries we want to sell to. For an informed opinion, check out Andrew Millross' article.
28th February 2018: Serious stuff - Personal Data and Cyber Security
With so much press about cyber attacks and protecting personal data, it was time to healthcheck some of our technology and processes.
First, get Cyber Essentials certified - a Government scheme to improve cyber security within the UK. Cyber Essentials focuses on five key aspects of keeping technology secure - firewalls, secure configuration, access controls, malware and patch management.
It was an interesting if slightly baffling exercise for a non-techie, but I had solid support from savvy customers and colleagues, and I now feel better educated and much safer.
Then turning to the General Data Protection Regulation - or GDPR as it's known - that is being advertised heavily as it becomes law on 25th May 2018.
Let’s face it, if you win a contract, you just want to pop the champagne cork and walk into the sunset with your new client.
And if you lose, you probably just want to forget about it. Nobody enjoys a ghastly post-mortem. What’s done is done.
But hold on, taking time to understand why your proposal was successful or not can make a remarkable difference to your future performance. So, my first article of 2018 explains the value of making proposal win and loss reviews a standard practice. Perhaps seek and act on feedback is a sound New Year resolution? Enjoy the full article.
Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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i4 is Cyber Essentials certified.
The UK government aspires to procure 33% of its goods and services from small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
Sounds good, but it can be daunting for those new to public sector bidding, who do not understand procurement rules and fear the red tape.
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