The Biz Dojo

S2E1 - Strategic Storytelling w/Bill Baker

January 19, 2021 Bill Baker Season 2 Episode 1
The Biz Dojo
S2E1 - Strategic Storytelling w/Bill Baker
Show Notes Transcript

The Biz Dojo is back with the first episode for season 2 - and it's one you DO NOT want to miss. In this week's episode, we dive into the art of Strategic Storytelling with Bill Baker - Founder and Principal @ BB&Co. Strategic Storytelling

Bill takes us through his path to becoming a storyteller, and what it took to become an entrepreneur selling his skills. Then, we'll get deeper into effective storytelling, how to create a library, overcoming fears of presenting and so much more. 

After our conversation with Bill, we dive into  " The Podium" - with an announcement for season 2, and prizes for listening and commenting on social media! 

So, jump into our Season 2 Premiere, and join us for stories, learning, and - as always - a little bit of fun. 




Support the show (https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/thebizdojo)

Seth Anderson:

Season Two welcomes

JP Gaston:

in to, I'm very excited about this.

Seth Anderson:

Yes, this is amazing.

JP Gaston:

I just not just the season I'm excited about this episode in particular, but I'm excited about the entire season, we've already got so much stuff lined up, it's gonna be great.

Seth Anderson:

It's gonna be a lot of fun. That's the thing. I'm really looking forward to it. So Episode One, season two, we've got bill Baker, strategic storyteller, entrepreneur, you know, all of the all of the things, all of the things that we look for in a great guest, and this was a really, really fun interview. I know, we say that a lot, not to overstate it. But you know, just a, you know, a ton of great information, like get your pens ready, folks.

JP Gaston:

Yeah, I did. I did a course with Bill a few years ago. And we talked about it in the interview, I still remember several, not just the one we talked about, I still remember several of the stories and I took so much away from that. I think it was a full day. It was either a full day or half day, I can't actually remember at the moment. But it was just, it was incredible. And he talks about a lot of the stuff he goes into much more in depth than obviously in his in his course. But it was just, it was so memorable. I like having him on the podcast. I am so glad he is here because I think it's something that benefits anyone whether you're in a corporate environment, you're leading people, you're not leading people, you're an entrepreneur, whatever you're doing, you're looking for a job like this is an amazing conversation to me. And like Seth said, I know that we've we've said that a lot because we've had some pretty fantastic guests on the show. This this is one absolutely you want your your your pens ready.

Seth Anderson:

Lots of great stuff. And as well we get into it in the pod but you know, he's got courses available that you can take if you want to improve your storytelling. He's got videos online really talks about storytelling being another tool you can put in your leadership toolkit, and some great insights to be had. So let's dive into it.

JP Gaston:

Alright, season two, here we go.

Voiceover:

Welcome to season two of The Biz Dojo. On today's premier episode, we'll talk to Bill Baker, founder and principal at BBN co strategic storytelling, we'll talk about effective storytelling techniques, creating a story library, and overcoming your fear of speaking to a crowd. Stay tuned after the show for the podium, where we'll talk about some of our favorite stories growing up. So welcome to season two, Episode One of The Biz Dojo.

Seth Anderson:

Thanks for joining us today. Bill. Welcome to the dojo,

Bill Baker:

it's great to be here,

Seth Anderson:

super excited to have you. And, you know, really want to really want to hear about your journey to where you are. So you are the principal at BB and co strategic storytelling and specialize in you know, teaching different companies, the art of storytelling, the importance of it, I think I heard you use the term a couple of times, I've watched some of your videos, really adding it into your leadership tool belt, one of the one of the many, you know, items that you can use. But maybe you give us a little bit of background on how you got into strategic storytelling. Where did the Where did that come from?

Bill Baker:

Well, I'm, I always tell people, I'm a recovering advertising executive. So I worked in the soul sucking world of advertising for 18 years, the first 10 in New York City. And then I moved to Vancouver in 1998. And I continued in the advertising business for about another eight or nine years. But in the advertising business, I did client management, but I also did strategic planning and brand planning. So I would work with our clients and help them kind of figure out what their brand was all about. And then I got recruited by this storytelling company that was based in West Vancouver that I'd never heard of, that did organizational storytelling. So helping organizations and companies figure out their narrative of who they are, what they're all about where they're going, why they do what they do. And they recruited me. And it was fantastic. Because it was like brand planning, and strategic planning on steroids. It was kind of taking the discipline of strategic and brand planning and mixing it with the magic of storytelling. And so I kind of stumbled into it. But I'm very, very grateful for having done so. And I worked at that company for about another four years. And then I decided over 10 years ago to step out on my own and hang out my own shingle.

Seth Anderson:

I think, you know, we had a bit of a pre meeting the other day and pretty cool story as to how that, you know, going out on your own sort of happened. If you want to give us a little bit of color on that you were given a bit of a speech and somebody in the audience virgin, where that led.

Bill Baker:

Yeah, so what just First of all, what my company does are two things. So half of our business is doing this organizational brand storytelling, and we work with organizations to help them uncover that organizational brand story, that strategic narrative of where they are, where they're going, and why they do what they do. But the other Half of our work that I think you're referring to Seth is storytelling training. So as you said, in your introduction, I do a lot of teaching and helping professionals understand how to use storytelling to improve the impact of their communications. And with that their ability to persuade and engage and influence and inspire people. And to your point, I really did stumble across that I kind of got pulled into that, because many years ago, I was delivering a speech, a keynote address at a conference in Chicago, about storytelling to improve organizational culture, and engage and align employees. And two or three months after that speech, I got a call from a woman at General Electric, GE, and more specifically from GE E's Global Learning campus, which is called Croton Ville, which is about an hour north of Manhattan. And she called me up and she said, I saw you speak at this conference a couple months ago, and you were really good. And I said, Oh, that that's, that's nice to hear. And she said, I noticed that you used a lot of stories in your speech. And I said, Yeah, I like to use stories. And she said, they were really good stories. And they were really entertaining and engaging. But they also had a message. And I said, Oh, also that's very good to hear. And she said, Have you ever taught anyone how to do that? How to use storytelling like that? And I said, No. And she said, Well, do you think you could? And I thought about it? And I said, Yeah, sure, why not. So she invited me to develop a course, that I taught as I still teach for General Electric. And so that's how I kind of stumbled into this storytelling, training, helping other people figure out how to use storytelling in the workplace communications and that gig with GE grew into several gigs. And now we do storytelling training for companies like GE, Coca Cola, Cisco, TELUS, and a lot of other fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations.

JP Gaston:

That's awesome. Like, when you go from the soul sucking world of marketing. And, and you're, you're doing these presentations, and you're getting your, your, your feet wet, and and you decide this is it, I'm going out on my own. What's that transition like, especially for something where you're not going out on your own delivering a product, that you're delivering more of a service and trying to market and sell yourself? What How did you find that transition?

Bill Baker:

Well, you know, I use the term soul sucking to describe the advertising business. And that process that you're talking about JP is really soul searching. I, the company that recruited me to be part of their storytelling firm, it was a great firm. And I it was it was I'm very, very grateful for the opportunity. But unfortunately for them, this was around 2008, when I started and the global recession really caught up with them, they had made some financial decisions that were exposed, nothing illegal by any stretch, but but that really weakened their financial position. And so it just was not financially tenable to stay with that firm. And, and I worked with an executive coach who helped me figure out what my next move was. And I thought I would go back into marketing and maybe work client side. And then through working with her, she helped me realize that I actually had something to offer. And she working with me, helped me realize that it was time for me to try to venture out on my own. And I don't know, honestly, if I would have done it without her help. Because it really is a process of stepping off the dock. And stepping off the dock and trusting that when you do so you know how to swim, you're going to be able to swim, and they're going to be people there to keep you buoyed and from falling below the surface, but it is very much a leap of faith. The other thing too, though, when I when I did that, one of the things I realized was and I've said this a lot to people that I've counseled people who are thinking about going out on their own is, it's not just enough to be smart and accomplished at what you do, you actually have to have a purpose, driving your work as a solo entrepreneur, as a consultant. And not only do you have to have a purpose, but you also have to have a point of view, you have to have a point of view on the industry that you work in what you think works well and what doesn't. And that purpose is going to drive you that point of view is going to differentiate you. And I find that consultants and entrepreneurs who have that point of view, have a position that they believe in that distinguishes them for other people in their category. Those are the people who do the best. I bring this up because, you know, a lot of times people think like, you know, I talked to people who are very, very accomplished have grown up in the corporate world, and they're like, I think I'm going to be a consultant and I say and what are you going to consult on and they're like, I don't know, I'm just I'm really smart and I'm accomplished and they are, but that alone is not enough for someone to buy you as a consultant. You have to you know, have this purpose. You have to have this point of view You also have to have a process and a product, you have to think about people, there's, there's very few people out there, unless you're like Seth Godin, or Oprah Winfrey, there's not a lot of people who are just going to pay you to come in and be you. There has to be some more discipline around it, some marketing, some positioning, some differentiation.

Seth Anderson:

What advice do you I mean, you're kind of building on it there. But you know, if you're someone who let's just say, you've got your 10 years of leadership experience, if you've done a lot in the corporate world, you feel like you've sort of maybe peaked or maxed out where you want to go in a corporation, and you're sort of looking that, hey, I've got all these skills, how do you marry that to some of that structure you're talking about? Right? Because coming up with those concepts, or writing a book, or something to sort of anchor yourself to is probably not an easy process? Is there? is there other, you know, partnerships out there? Like, how do you get started on that path, if that's if that's the route you want to go,

Bill Baker:

I think one of the worst things that you can do is try to figure out all that stuff out on your own. And it's an understandable impulse for people to try to do that, because they think I'm smart, you know, I kind of know what I'm doing and talking about, but you're in an echo chamber when you're doing that. So one of the biggest pieces of advice I would give is, if you're thinking about going out and doing that, work with someone else, whether it's a coach that you're hiring, and paying by the hour to help you kind of turn that corner, or there are lots of professional peer to peer groups that you could be a part of like, whether it's eco entrepreneurs organization, or YPO, or Virtus, or tech, things like that, where their peer groups where you are bouncing ideas off of other people. And they're helping you sharpen your own thinking, while you're doing the same for them. It really is imperative, because in this echo chamber, we kind of stare at our own navel. And we you know, or the other expression is we drink our own bathwater. And when you are bouncing these ideas around with other people, what it does is it helps you step outside of yourself. Look at yourself somewhat more objectively and figure out what really drives and motivates you what your passion is what you're really good at what you're not good at. And then that helps sharpen the way you're going to position yourself, when you do decide to step off that dock, and go out as an independent brand. And business. What comes to mind for me is a phrase that I used to hear from my parents actually, and it's that pencils don't sharpen themselves. True. Very true. Very true. I was I'm so grateful. For the coach I worked with she was this woman named Linda off. And she and I have become good friends. She still does coaching, but she's kind of semi retired now. But I don't think I would have landed where I landed if it weren't for her guidance and help. And you know, she doesn't tell me what she'd never told me what to do. She helped me figure out what to do, by getting me to look around different corners and under different rocks.

Seth Anderson:

So sort of in that leadership vein, working with a lot of executives over the years. And you know, for any of us who are in that position, we, you know, tend to fancy ourselves to be storytellers. It's a big part of what we do on a day to day basis. But in your experience, is there some common mistakes or missteps that you see executives making their storytelling, and that you could share with the listeners?

Bill Baker:

Yeah, I think for me that the two biggest mistakes, get, the two biggest mistakes that executives and professionals make with storytelling is kind of two sides of the same coin. They mentally jump straight to delivery. And they think about delivery in two ways. In one way. And this happens most often is people will compare themselves to someone else on their team or someone they know who's a fantastic storyteller. And they think I will never be as good as that I cannot deliver a story, the way that person delivers a story. So I'm just gonna stick to the facts. And they kind of psych themselves out of using this very powerful tool because they think they're not the most amazing, dynamic, compelling storyteller in the world. But on the flip side of that coin, sometimes there are people who think like, I'm an amazing storyteller, I have the greatest stories to tell. And that may be the case. But in a workplace situation, if it's not the right story with the right message at the right time, everything else is academic, you can be the most amazing storyteller in the world, you can have the greatest stories to tell. But if it's not the right story with the right message at the right time, nothing else matters. That's why you have to be strategic, to getting back to that first side of the coin, what I often say to people who are like, I am not a great storyteller, first of all, I say to them, well, you're in the right place, because I'm going to turn you into a better storyteller. But what I say to them is listen, if you think strategically about it, and it's the right story with the right message at the right time, and you're willing to put a little bit of work into the content, the structure and the flow of that story, and maybe practice that a couple of times. That is 80 to 90% of that you don't have to be the most amazing storyteller to tell the right story and make it a good one. So this strategic approach to storytelling is really important. Whether you're doing that One side of the coin or the other side of the coin, as I mentioned,

JP Gaston:

where do you get? I mean, we've all got stories, especially at this. I will say, collectively, for the three of us at this stage in our lives, we've, we've, we've got, we've got a bank of stories that occasionally will, you know, come into your mind, I think some of us have them come up more often than others. How do you keep that sort of bank of stories available to you? Or how do you tap into that bank of stories to be able to tie it to some of the things that you might be doing? You know, with your, with your presentations and whatnot?

Bill Baker:

Yeah, that's a really good question. JP, there's, you know, what you're talking about is building up your library of stories to use a term and you really do build up that library of stories. Once your consciousness and understanding of storytelling gets raised, you build up that library faster than you think you will, and you build it up one story at a time. For me that strategic approach to building on my library, there are two paths that you take with that one path is I'm starting with a need for a story and trying to find identify or develop the best story to fit that need. So that's when I'm, you know, doing a presentation or going into an important team meeting or facing a tough challenge in one on one with someone on my team. And I'm thinking, gosh, I really wish I had a story for this situation. What you do there is you think about what do I need a story to do? So I can hopefully identify and develop the best story to do it, though by thinking what do I need a story to do? I think about what's the impact that I want this story to have? What's the message I want it to convey? What are the thoughts and feelings I wanted to shake even what action or change in behavior do I want it to motivate? And I think about those things, and hopefully, a story pops into my head, it could be from my own experience, someone else's experience, an analogous story from history from sport, a movie, a parable, whatever. But I think first about what I need that story to do to find the best story to do it. But on the other path. And this is kind of getting more directly to what you were asking is we recognize that I have a lot of great stories in my life, you know, stories from my own experience stories I picked up in movies that I see on Facebook or LinkedIn, I wonder if that story would be relevant for a workplace situation. If you're thinking about a great story, if you remember a great story, you see something on social media, you read something in the news. First thing you have to ask yourself is, is there a lesson or a message to that story? Is there an idea that that story brings to life? If no, it might just be your entertainment, and then you save it for the bar or the dinner table or whatever. But If yes, then you've got a story with a message, you just need to find the appropriate time place or audience with whom to share it. I always say to people, listen, if a story resonates with you, if it sticks with you, for some reason, if you find yourself thinking about it again and again, or telling it again, and again, there's probably a reason for that. And that story might be relevant for a workplace situation. I just two days ago, wrote a blog post that had at the front of it a story that I used to tell just to entertain people, for years. And then I realized, actually the message of that story, which was you have to finish strong. The message of that story is perfect for the blog post that I'm trying to write encouraging people to finish strong in this COVID pandemic.

JP Gaston:

I've actually, my listeners won't know this. But they'll find out now because I've actually attended one of your sessions, and had the benefit of listening to you tell story. And I actually now use your story to tell people about the great things about storytelling and why they need to learn about strategic storytelling as a part of their toolkit. Oh, fantastic.

Bill Baker:

Which story? You're talking about the swimming coach story?

JP Gaston:

Yeah, yeah, this the swimming coach and the boys off the dock. Yeah, to fall, I love that I can still I still have the imagery of all the slides. Like for me that was that was probably the moment that it all connected together. Like I've always I've worked in radio. So I've known the importance of telling a good story of known, you know, you can you can add or subtract from it and push a story in a certain direction. And but at that moment is when kind of my previous radio experience and storytelling experience actually connected with my more recent leadership and kind of executive sort of direction experience. So it was it was a nice combination moment for I appreciate that. And for your listeners, what

Bill Baker:

JP is referring to as a story I tell about being a swimming instructor to summer camp when I was 16. But there's another example. That's a story that I used to tell just to entertain people because it was kind of Excuse My French, but show like I was a disaster as a swimming instructor. But then I realized I actually learned something about the power of storytelling. So I took this story that I've told again and again, and I just shaped it, reshaped it slightly to make a drive towards the point about the power of storytelling, and then I use it in my training. It's a fantastic story. Thank you. Thank you.

Seth Anderson:

One of the things you know, particularly in my To a job where I have frontline team members, entry level managers, and then also like VPS, and executives, and you're sort of dealing, you know, up and down in terms of who you're communicating with. How important is the audience? Like how do you prepare to deliver a story to a certain audience, because it may be, you know, the same story or fragments of the story, but you may need to deliver it differently depending on the audience. So when you're doing like your prep, or, you know, coaching someone on, you know, the story, they're going to tell what how do you factor the audience into that?

Bill Baker:

Well, to your questions that you absolutely have to factor out factor the audience. And you know, number one rule in workplace communications is know your audience, who is your audience? What do you need them to do? What do you think they need to think and feel or stop thinking and feeling to do that what message you want them to hear to get them to think and feel that way to get them to do what you want them to do? And you think about those things, you put yourself in your audience's shoes, not only thinking about what you need from them, and the impact you need to have on them, but you also need to kind of appreciate where they are right now. What's their world? What's their situation? What are they? What are they feeling? What's happening around them? What's happening to them? It all has to start with your audience, good workplace communications of any type, whether it's storytelling, one on one conversations, presentations, is always start with your audience. And to your question, when I'm shaping a story for my audience, and JP kind of referenced this earlier, as well, I will tell a story slightly differently, if I'm telling it that this audience versus that audience, because even if the story is about me, my telling them that story is not about me, I'm telling this story, because I think you the audience could actually benefit from the message that the story is bringing to life. And so if I'm telling it to one audience, and I need them to hear one thing, I'm going to tell a slightly different version of that story. If I'm telling it to a different audience, who needs to hear a slightly different thing. It's always tailored to your audience,

Seth Anderson:

being a master as you are in this realm, when you started out, would you write it down? And like, how do you actually get to the point where you have the different versions? Is it in your head? Do you write it down? Do you practice it on a mirror? What do you how do you kind of get going down that path?

Bill Baker:

Yeah, great question. It's, and JP will remember this from his training, but you do have to put some work into your stories to make sure your story is going to work for you. One of the biggest mistakes that people make is they are in a situation at work. They think, Oh, I know the perfect story to tell right now. And they are mentally composing that story, while they are verbally delivering that story. And that never, ever goes well, you have to be a super talented communicator and storyteller to be able to do that and have it land, I can't do that. This is why you have to think about it in advance. So when we teach storytelling, it's a process of you start with strategy, then you work on content, and then you work on delivery. On the strategy side is making sure you are crystal clear what you need this story to do, the impact you wanted to have on your audience and what you need them to take away from that. And so what we do is we get people to literally write a brief for their story, what's the message, what are the thoughts and feelings etc, etc, then you work on the content of that story to make sure it has the right elements to make sure it has a good plot structure to make sure it actually has a plot, and but also to make sure that it's tight and efficient and focused, that it has the elements it needs, but doesn't have a lot of superfluous details or side stories or over description, storytelling and workplace communications has to be focused, it has to drive towards a point and land on that point, it cannot go on and on and on. And to your question, what I do is I actually map out the plot of my story first, I literally will whiteboard it out, this is going to happen, then this happens and this happens. But also to your question. I personally usually like to write a story out because it helps me to think about it and process it, get it out of my head, get it onto paper. Plus, when I'm reading it, once it's written out, I can kind of separate myself from it a bit more, look at it more objectively and evaluate it more. And then the last thing is delivery and delivery is just practicing it because storytelling is a skill. It's like, you know, perfecting your golf swing or learning a new song with a guitar, you have to practice it. And I say practice it out loud. Like close your door, do it in the car when you're walking the dog. Practice it out loud and sometimes for me, usually around the third, fourth, or maybe fifth time I practice the story out loud it starts to click, and then I realized, okay, I've got this. It's not about memorizing that story. It's more about just internalizing that story and getting the muscle memory around it.

JP Gaston:

But that kind of speaks to the story piece. What about like, there's so many different skill levels, I guess or comfort levels when it comes to presenting and stepping in front of people. And so the story itself needs the practice. And I'm sure that practice is necessary just to come overcome nerves. But is there any tips and tricks that that you've come across in your, I will say years of standing in front of audiences and and delivering that, that really helped with the nerves. And it I guess it comes at different audiences to right depending on if two sets point if you're presenting to VPS, or you're presenting to frontline agents, there's a there's a different type of nerves. Is there any any tips and tricks you have to overcome that sort of thing? Yeah. First of all, it's

Bill Baker:

just understanding that everyone gets nervous when they present, you know, speaking in front of the group of people speaking in public is the number one personal fear amongst adults. So more than being afraid of snakes or spiders, or flying or heights, all of us get nervous, I get nervous, you have to deal with that nervous energy, though, because what's happening is, you feel like you're in a threatening situation, all these people are looking at you. And this age old instinct of fight or flight starts to kick in. And what your body does is it starts to prepare you to flee or fight. And because you really shouldn't flee the room or the presentation, and you shouldn't really fight with your audience, you have to deal with that. And so as this nervous energy is starting to pulse in one of the best things, and it's such a cliche, but one of the best things you could do is take some deep breath. You know, I don't know about you, but my mom, when I was melting down as a kid, my mom would always say, Billy, take a deep breath. And I'd be like you, you take a deep breath. I'm not taking a deep breath. But it really works. Because what happens physiologically, is when you're taking deep breaths, you are combating that fight or flight instinct. Also, you're enriching your blood with oxygen, and it doesn't calm you down completely, but it does calm you down a good bit. The other thing though, I caution people on and and coach them on is, you know, you need to rehearse, you absolutely need to take time to rehearse if the first time a presentation is leaving your lips is when you're actually giving that presentation, you are not setting yourself up for success. people mistakenly think just reviewing the presentation by reading it, or going through it mentally helps. And it does, but nothing takes the place of actually practicing it in the way you're going to deliver it. So practicing it out loud. And I always say to people, if you've got five more minutes to rehearse, rehearse your opening, know your opening down, Pat. Because a lot of us when we get nervous, we forget what we're going to say. And so you have to slip into autopilot. So you want to make sure that autopilot is well programmed, you get through the first couple minutes of your presentation, you're like, Okay, this is going this is going pretty well. And then you start to relax a bit more.

Seth Anderson:

So yes, being a great speaker is one thing. But then, you know, having a company where you're teaching other people to become great speakers, is sort of another piece sort of going from player to coach, if you will, a little bit. What do you find most fulfilling in that in that space? Like it's been some moments or or people that have really stood out to you over the years where you're like, this is why I do this?

Bill Baker:

Yeah, I think, you know, it's funny because my father was a teacher. And, and unfortunately, he passed away before I started doing this, but I think he would have really enjoyed me seeing me teach, because that's basically what I'm doing. And what I enjoy is the most is seeing the light bulb go off with people. And like taking storytelling, for example, a lot of people even though storytelling is super common, we all do it every day, dozens of times a day, when you put a spotlight on it and ask people to tell a story. People get intimidated by that they freeze. They think that it's overwhelming, and helping them over that over that hump and getting them to realize you kind of know how to do this already. I just want to help you do it better. And some of the best moments I have is, as JP might remember, when we do the storytelling workshops, people practice a story, they come and learn how to develop a story and they develop it. And then they practice it in small breakout groups twice. And sometimes people think like, gosh, that's a lot of time on one story. But the reason I do two rounds of practice, yeah. And they split up into different groups on the second round. But the reason I do that is to show them just how much better their story can be after one more round of practice. And some of the most fulfilling moments I have is when people really struggle on the first round. And I give them some thoughts and ideas. And I'm like, get up and do it again. And they're like, No, no, no, I don't want to do I'm fine. Like Come on, get up and do it again. And they do it again. And they hit it out of the park, just with one extra round of practice. And so that's that's really fulfilling for me. And it's also, especially when I'm doing it with and I don't mean to generalize, but people who tend to work in more left brain, a highly academic or technical fields, whether it's it people, lawyers, finance directors, scientists, engineers, I do regular training for an organization called the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab, which is literally rocket scientists. These are rocket scientists, and they're so smart, but when I teach them storytelling, I help them tap in their humanity. And help them understand how to connect with people in a personal way. So that people are more receptive of the super smart stuff they have to share. And that's also really fulfilling for me, when people recognize that they've got this power, this capability inside of them all along, I just want to help them pull it out and make it sharper.

Seth Anderson:

I guess you kind of hit it at the end there, Bill. But, you know, what do you do to kind of stay sharp? And, you know, obviously, whatever field you're in, you're always kind of growing, developing, what are what are some things that you're working on personally,

Bill Baker:

for me, you know, like, so I'm 54, I've been working for well over 30 years, and you get to a level where you'll see sometimes people will talk about their trajectory as a professional and you kind of get to a level, after some point where you master what you do, where you get to share that with other people and help elevate other people doing that. So like a lot of frankly, a lot of organizations, a lot of my clients have used this COVID time to kind of retreat, step back, regroup and reevaluate and reassess what they're doing and how they're doing it. I've been doing the same thing. So I've been working on new training modules, new ways of delivering training, especially online, we've been exploring, possibly doing a self led course that people can sign up for and with a cohort, go through a program that's completely self LED. And up to them. We've been doing, of course, not surprisingly, a lot of online workshops, which I've been doing for five or six years now. So well before COVID. But we have perfected that medium. And then really, you know, to be perfectly honest with you, I'm starting to think about where I can take my skills, and in addition to running the business, which I have to do to keep food on the table on the lights on. But in addition to doing that, figuring out where I can either probably volunteer more of my time, helping organizations use storytelling for greater good. For instance, we've got an upcoming open enrollment workshop that we're doing in January, and they're going to be I'm donating several of the seats for that workshop to a nonprofit organization in Vancouver. Because I want to help them help their own people be better storytellers and tell stories about the amazing work that they do. So that's something I'm thinking about is where I can volunteer and offer up my skills more for nonprofit organizations and causes. And so this episode's actually coming out the day before one of your Yeah, one of your workshops in January what, what what other things do you have kind of coming up or on the horizon? For for being co we used to do open enrollment workshops in Vancouver, but in person and strictly because I have a large network of work colleagues in Vancouver who say like, I want to do this, I can only come myself for smaller teams. And then when we started doing it virtually online, we recognize there was a demand for it. And the great thing is people participate from all over the world. So we're doing this next one on January 20, and 21st. And but we are going to be doing them probably every two to three months. So on our website at any one time, there will always be a page dedicated to the next upcoming one. We try to limit them to a certain amount of people to keep it a nice intimate environment. So if they do sell out which they have people put themselves on a waiting list and either get off that waiting list or when we do the schedule the next one they can join. So we'll do one in January, I bet we'll probably end up doing another one, either in early March or early April. And again, as I said, we'll be doing them every two to three months.

Seth Anderson:

Well, Bill, it's been a pleasure having you in the dojo today. Where can people find you learn more about what you're up to engage with you on social media?

Bill Baker:

Um, well, first of all, I've thoroughly enjoyed being here with you guys. So thank you for having me. And if people want to connect with me, the best way to do that is through my blog. So my website is BB co storytelling, comm backslash blog, and I blog on a regular basis, usually at least once a month, if not more. And that blog offers more concrete, literally step by step instruction on how to use storytelling. And it's mixed in with, you know, inspiring stories and just points of view that I share. So that's a good thing to sign up for. And if you sign up for it, when I have a new blog post, it automatically gets emailed to your inbox. I am awful on Twitter, I have a Twitter handle. It's the same as my Instagram handle, which is at storyteller bill. But I don't use Twitter as much as I need to so but if you go to the website, there's a contact form. And if anyone wants to get in touch with me, they can fill that out and we get emails and we'll be in touch after that. Awesome.

JP Gaston:

Well, thanks so much for joining us today, Bill. We appreciate you that I mean, I know my experience has been Fantastic. So I would encourage any of our listeners to sign up for the blog, get get in touch attend to course, it's very much worthwhile. And we'll make sure that that's all all posted in this episode gets released. We'll make sure it's all posted in there on across our social media channels as well. Thanks so much, Bill. Yeah, my pleasure. All right.

Seth Anderson:

All right. Well, welcome to the first episode of the podium for season two. And in honor of our first guest bill, the storyteller, we wanted to dive into top three children's books or stories. Obviously, storytelling is a, you know, as we talked about in the pod, one of the first things that you really are exposed to as a kid, right? Like after sort of the the basic elements are met, and you're safe, and you're fed and your clothes. Really, you start telling stories to kids so that that's where we want to start.

JP Gaston:

kids start telling stories to and kids start telling the apps and they're interesting. I really wish my parents had written down some of those stories I've told as

Seth Anderson:

well. And that's a perfect segue. We've got Mama Seth, joining us, again for the podium. Very happy to have you. And I'm sure you wrote down all my stories.

JP Gaston:

That's right. She has stories about you. That's different.

Seth Anderson:

I think this wil be a lot of fun. So anothe element to this this year i that beyond a beaten path is th official sponsor of the podium So we're going to be doing som giveaways. So watch for this an social media on Wednesday. An we've got some pretty excitin stuff planned there. With that let's dive right in to JP, wha are your top three children' stories

JP Gaston:

Well, well, I had some great ones. Number three, which I think everyone's read at least once because it was assigned to them as one of their first like, assigned readings and grade for Charlotte's Web.

Seth Anderson:

Classic classic.

JP Gaston:

It's the first time you kind of, or at least for me, it was the first time you got to experience all the range of emotions in a single book. Usually, you either just have like your, you know, your dedicated drama, or your dedicated comedy or those sorts of things. But that was the first time I think everything came together in one book and not you know, the happiest of have eventually a happy ending, but it just starts out a little dark.

Seth Anderson:

I watched the movie not that long ago with my kids. I have a tough time though. Splitting in my head. What is babe and what is Charlotte's Web? They kind of sort of that's fair together. But I do it is a great story. Yeah, it's a great story. I agree.

JP Gaston:

Number two, it's not a specific book. It's a series. But encyclopedia Brown. When I was a kid, I read every single one of those. And it was the first time I read Choose Your Own Adventure book to there was an encyclopedia Brown, where you got to pick what you thought the outcome should be. And depending on which page you decided, so of course, you know, you read it backwards and you find the page and then you can make sure you work your path to there. But that that whole series is great, and really makes you think,

Seth Anderson:

did you do madlibs when you were a kid, I feel like that's a thing you must have done. Yeah.

JP Gaston:

Yeah. Okay. That's weird. But the weird pigeon hol to place m

Seth Anderson:

now on brand, if you will,

JP Gaston:

fair. And then umber one for me. I don't know f a lot of people have read his book, but it was articularly good was Mr. pines urple house, Mr. Pine lives on ine Street, and think it's Pine treet, it might be Main Street. forget the exact street he ives on. But he lives on a treet that's all white houses. nd he decides to go out and aint his house purple, which veryone loves. So they copy him nd then eventually it gets to he point where they all etermined that they can have heir own sort of identity in pace. And they all paint their ouses their own colors, and hey love their new community. nd it's a it's a great ntroduction to kind of iversity and you know, your own aving your own thoughts and eing creative, those sorts of hings.

Seth Anderson:

So awesome. I am not familiar with that one. So maybe I'll check it out.

JP Gaston:

Go buy it. It's wor h i

Seth Anderson:

There ya g . Amazon. Here I come. I m awesome. That's a that's n inspired list. JP, I'm gon a dive into mine now. And I've h d a last minute change. A d originally, you know, we we e having a bit of a pre call and I was gonna go with goosebum s particularly Abominable Snowm n of Pasadena. And I don t actually remember a lot about t other than I liked it. But e were talking before the call a d I was describing a book that I had in sort of the fragments f my brain somewhere where the e was a boy and a girl and th y were in the woods and somebo y died. And JP went and googl d that and found the book. o Bridge to Terabithia. I rememb r reading that, I don't know, fi e or six or something like tha . And I remember being like, ups t when the main I think it's t e girl that passes away, I'm gon a have to go back and read th t one. But it definitely had lik , I still think about that to th s day that that part of the boo , so it definitely had an impac

JP Gaston:

That's weird. Did that grade four or five timeframe has kind of these morbid, like, Charlotte's Web bridge? terabit. Yeah, I'm sure there's like countless others that are kind of the assigned book for, for reading in that grade. And it's like, Alright, we're going to introduce you to death. Yeah.

Seth Anderson:

Well, and

JP Gaston:

as part of the education,

Seth Anderson:

it should, I mean, it has to be at some point, right? Like, I've been learning now, even with my kids, like, at some point, they need to be exposed to death. Like it's a part of life. And it's, it's deep, and it's hard, and it sucks. But you know, at some point, they need to be exposed. I think my kids were probably most exposed when our dog died. That was terrible. But you know, at some point, everybody has to kind of go through it. And anyway, that's, that's something that sticks in my head. Number two is the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When I think back, again, sort of that grade, 234 timeframe, somewhere in there. I do remember reading that book. I did read a lot. I think that was a thing I did mother, if you can krever corroborate that. And I remember being that. Like, the first big book that I ever read was Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I still like some of the mechanics behind that book make me scratch my head, like for elderly people laying in a bed together for years on end, like I just didn't tell you that's my plan for retirement. laying in the middle of the living room for Caitlin's. There's some plot lines there that make me cringe, you know, shake my head a little but it was I don't know what I think of when I first tried putting a pen to paper and not that I'm a writer by any means. But I remember definitely being inspired by the creativity and the storytelling and, you know, the movie as well. Like, I think back like I have flashes of this might be a whole other, you know, top three psychological issues. But I like Oompa loompas, or when they're like floating in the Bubble Pop or whatever, like I definitely have, it has strong imagery and good storytelling. So and number one is the book I have read most to my kids hands down. Green Eggs and Ham classic, Dr. Seuss. We have multiple copies of it. I don't know why it's just, it's just a it's just a good book in it. You know, I never really thought about it until obviously reading it to my kids, but it has a pretty good lesson in it as well. You know, our biases a lot of times where we think we won't like something and you know, until we give it a try and and also I've had some fun making Green Eggs and Ham with food coloring over the years. So that's another plus, but

JP Gaston:

as long as it's food coloring, that's

Seth Anderson:

good. All right, mother.

Mama Seth:

Okay, well, my number three are two books. They both relate back to my grandpa, my grandpa love the story love you forever by Robert Munch. And it's a great story and got the quote tattooed on my leg around you guys all you kids names. And so that's that's very much classic. And then he used to tell a story about World War Two. When he got over to Europe. He saw the dam where the boy stuck his finger in the dam save the town and it was a story from his childhood and the impact that left on him and that's the story of Hans Brinker. So, although I've never read the story, may remember him talking about the story left an impact by number two has to be Pippi Longstocking, she would be number one but in this case, she's number two I read Pepe a million times I swear, I slept upside down in bed. I loved Pepe. She had a horse in the house she Pepe was just everything I want to be in life and probably was. But my number one by far has to be the monster at the end of the book by set by Grover the Sesame Street read it again last night preparing for this Yeah, I actually do my homework sometimes.

Seth Anderson:

Do you have a quote that you're gonna hit us? Well,

Mama Seth:

I just realized that the thing that is poignant about it even though it's Grover to Sesame Street, is quite often the monster in our life that we fear the most is ourselves because that's the whole point of his book. He fears that monster does everything in Kansas stop you from getting the monster just to realize he's the monster and it's okay, so there's actually this kind of funky weird little lesson there that I don't think I ever really realized but it's, it's, it's, it's by far my my favorite one and and there is a lesson for kids. Sometimes what you fear the most really is yourself and not that scary. So that's my three. That's

JP Gaston:

whatever you do. Do not turn the There's your quote. Seth,

Seth Anderson:

I think it's very cool that all of our number ones all had, like a pretty cool moral lesson to them. And it just speaks to the, you know, the value of a good story. I mean, it sticks with us years and years and years later, and we pass it on to our kids. And it's a pretty cool thing. So thank you for joining us today. on the podium, like we said, to be on a beaten path, the new official sponsor of the podium, and this week, watch for our social posts over the next couple of days. And you tell us your top three children's stories for a chance to win a customized pen. You know, pretty, pretty cool that you're able to provide that and we look forward to engaging with you guys on social all season long. And if you have any suggestions for podium topics, feel free to hit us with a DM or leave it in the comments. Thanks