Story Tuning with David Cohen
Is it hard to explain what you do?
Or why you do it?
Is the story of your business in tune with the story you want to live?
We are living characters in our own stories.
But that doesn't mean we're good at telling those stories, or even necessarily able to see where our own stories are going. If that's how you feel, then I'm so glad you're here.
Hi, I'm David, and I just know that you've got a great story to tell. You might not have connected with it yet. It may just be a feeling that you have a purpose or a superpower waiting beneath the surface. Or maybe you know that purpose clearly and you're trying to make it part of your story, but it gets tangled and knotted when you try to share it.
It's okay. After all, you're the kind of person that works hard. You make things happen. You've got skills, talent, experience and a point of view that set you apart. And you're here because for you the next step is to tune into that story: to focus in and connect to the meaning and patterns behind all those hectic plot points that keep your world so busy.
Together we'll find that narrative that tells people who you are, where you're going, and why it matters.
Stories matter because people love stories.
Stories matter because stories demonstrate instead of declare.
Stories matter because stories provide context, and context is what gives meaning to all the marvelously unique things about your work, your approach, about you.
People connect through stories. People remember through stories. People find purpose and drive in their own personal narratives.
Stories matter because people tell stories.
~Cherith Harrison, CEO at Brookside Consultants
So what's your story?
Or should I ask how's your story? Does it need a tune up?
Or where? Is your story hiding behind static and interference?
Do we need to locate the pulse of your signal and tune it in more clearly?
That's what story tuning is all about - helping you tune-into and tune-up your story so that the people (especially the people you want to connect with) don't tune out before they get to know you. Before they get to connect with you. Before they realize how bright your beacon can shine.
Why Should I Work On My Story?
Call it your personal brand, call it knowing who you are as a business owner, call it naming your superpowers - when you develop a strong story you benefit from the five C’s:
- Confidence – Understanding who you are and the natural patterns you keep expressing through your life and business choices helps you feel more confident in your own skin and less apologetic for external “shoulds” that aren’t really fits for you, but may come from the norms of the industry, or parental baggage, or some well-meant advice that makes you second guess yourself. Say “No” where appropriate and “Yes” with conviction, and say a whole lot less of the “er”, “um”, “maybe”, and “harrumphs”.
- Compass – I like the compass as a metaphor. A compass helps you know which way you’re going and let’s you explore with the confidence that you can pick your own path without getting lost. A compass gives you the contrast necessary to let you know when the beaten path is moving you in the right direction and when it is actually taking you away from your goals.
- Clarity – Seeing your own patterns (behaviors, habits, biases, values, priorities, etc) and learning to name them gives you a vocabulary for talking about yourself and your business, they are also reflections of who your target audience is. This fuels the confidence mentioned above – so you can develop those strong talking points that will be part of your marketing and networking. Not rehearsed speeches, but flexible and resilient concepts that can be riffed on like a musician noodling over familiar chords, adapting to the communication needs of the situation at hand whether that’s making a one-minute speech at a networking meeting, writing a sales page, or explaining to a logo designer what you want your brand mark to communicate.
- Context – Context is the other side of clarity – when you understand where you fit in the business ecology, you start to identify those who value what you value (and what you provide) – and you can then think about how to maximize that value. Are you a glass of water outside on a rainy day, or a bottle of water at a stand by the park, or a thermos of water in the middle of a desert? Knowing your context will help you find your sweet spot.
- Choices – Or more specifically, owning your choices: Digging into the motivations and priorities that underly your story helps you own your decisions. Are you all about practical expansion? Or maybe you’re all about saving the world – or you get off on intellectual challenges – or wielding influence is more your thing. Recognizing your patterns and motivations can help you to stop apologizing for (or stalling on) pursuing the objectives that are important to you (vs. objectives important to some theoretical business from a business school textbook). Likewise if you’ve been denying or afraid of your own patterns then you may have been quietly finding ways to sabotage your own progress. The recognition gives you the ability to call yourself out on the carpet and determine to which goals you are truly committed.
~Nadia Bilchik, Editorial Producer at CNN and Owner, Greater Impact Communication
Once upon a time.
So when is the right time for story tuning?
The work we do together is designed to bring you clarity - it focuses the brand story that is at the heart of your business (and where you bring your heart to your business).
There are two natural times when this is helpful: when you have to communicate your business to someone else, and when you have to recognize it for yourself.
Here are some of the times when story tuning can help you:
- Launching a new product or service.
- Doing a marketing/website makeover.
- Struggling to articulate your priorities, values and differentiation.
- Changing your business.
- Seeking to connect with the meaning and passion to drive your business.
- Feeling stalled on a plateau and not sure what the next level to strive for is.
- Scrambling all the time, but uncertain where all the activity is taking you or if you are even the one steering the ship.
- Needing help to edit what you offer so you can do your best stuff better.
"When?" is a personal question.
These moments come up at different times for different people and at different stages of a business. Story tuning can be the catalyst that helps you launch a new business on the right foot, or it can be the booster engine that propels the business that has been around for years to embark on a new path of meaning and fulfillment. For some it is the spark that ignites change.
For some it will change running your business into building your legacy.
It wasn’t until it was over that I realized he wasn’t telling me what I *should* do or what *he* thought I needed to do: he was very purposefully guiding me to my own true expression of what I’m doing in the world.
Getting off the phone, I was all abuzz. I knew how to share my mission. I could see clearly what needed shifting in my current business.
It’s like my lantern had a film on it and through gentle inquiry, David helped me clean it off. When we were done, my light was shining, my mission was glowing and I was ready to share it.”
~Tara Swiger, Writer and Teacher, TaraSwiger.com
So how does this story tuning thing work?
Well, it starts with a serious conversation: a fun and gentle, serious conversation.
Yes - fun, gentle and serious.
We'll talk. I'll ask questions. You'll ask questions. We'll laugh, I'll tell a story or two. There will be more questions. And through this process we'll get a feel for the terrain in which your story lives.
We'll hone in on the ideas and actions that come together to weave the narrative that you are already living, the one that is moving you forward as you grow. We'll begin exploring the leaves and the many small branches in your world, but we'll quickly move through many vantage points until we get to know the big branches: The ones that are strong and fundamental. From there we'll find the roots and the trunk of your tree - your center and your foundation.
You are a growing story and it is only natural some people will come to this at different stages of growth and with different needs. With this in mind there are a couple of paths that we can walk together:
Tuning your story one session at a time.
- 90-minute phone-based session
- Call recorded for your future reference
- Fee $300
Choose this when you need some coaching, when you want to focus on one issue at a time, or prefer to work on your story's foundation in a session by session format.
Diving into a personal workshop. It's intense, but fun.
Personal Tuning-In Workshop:
- Approximately 4 hour phone-based workshop
- Call recorded for your future reference
- A personal story tuning guide written just for you
- A one hour follow up phone session
- Fee $2000
Choose this when you're ready to dig deep, take ownership of your strengths, and lay some serious groundwork for a meaningful personal brand.
Tune-up? What am I, a car? Well no...er, yes. That is to say, you are the vehicle for your brand, your business, your story. And vehicles once in a while need a little maintenance. Sometimes you just want to pop the hood and make sure everything is running smoothly. Sometimes you need the mechanic to really listen to see if anything is clanking when it should be humming. Other times there is something specific to work on - things need adjusting, aligning, even replacing.
A Tune-Up Session is your time to pull into the virtual service bay and address the specific issues that will keep your story on track and flourishing as you keep driving down the road.
These 90-minute sessions are great for:
- Tackling communication challenges
- Getting advice and support to stay on course when the road gets rough
- Digging into the details of how your online presence is serving or detracting from your brand story
- Keeping true to your vision
- Brainstorming the product, service and marketing moves to keep your story fresh and true.
Tune-Up Sessions can also be used for the brand foundation work offered by the Personal Tuning-In Workshops, but doing it in sessions may be more convenient for your schedule, giving you time between the sessions to marinate on the ideas.
Okay, let's schedule a Tune-Up!
Tune-Up Session: Fee $300
Personal Tuning-In Workshops
Tuning-In? That sounds a little hippy-ish, doesn't it? Oh well, it can't be helped.
We will tune-in.... Tune into who you are, what you care about, and the situations in which you thrive. And we'll turn-on - to new ideas and new ways to frame your message to better reveal the power in your strengths. There will even be some tuning-out: getting rid of some of the "shoulds" and "have to dos" that may be holding you back or causing unnecessary stress and friction in your work.
Think of your Personal Tuning-In Workshop as a productive play date - we'll have fun spending about 4 hours exploring together, but not just for the sake of adventure: we'll be mapping the key points we uncover as we examine your personal story and how it relates to your business story.
During this virtual journey we'll peer through ten different lenses that I call the Whole Brand Thinking™ framework. At the end of the call we'll recap some of the key message points we've uncovered and discuss what they mean for the direction and messaging of your business. We'll record the call so that you can revisit it at your leisure.
After the session I will write a personal story tuning guide just for you that will summarize the key findings of your personal workshop and offer guidance on how to present your story whether you are communicating in-person, on a website or through social media. Finally, after I send you your guide we'll do a follow up phone session, approximately one hour, to review your story points and discuss your next moves.
I'm ready - Tune me in!
Personal Tuning-In Workshop: Fee $2000
~Rebecca Leigh, Owner, Smartfresh Writing