Transcript for "Storytelling - with Doug Thompson"

(Interactive content will replace this message when viewed in the Forum.)

00:00.00
Craig
Hello I’m Craig Constantine welcome this is the podcaster community show short conversations that are not just about podcasting because I like to take the scenic route. My guest today is Doug Thompson welcome Doug how are you.

00:13.31
Doug
I am well Craig thank you for having me.

00:33.24
Craig
My pleasure I always I say this all the time people are fast forwarding I love like that people take the time to be like I don’t know I’ll try a half hour with Craig and I think it speaks a lot toward. Everybody’s interest in good conversation that they’re willing to just.

00:55.85
Doug
Yeah, so.

01:10.48
Craig
Like if I had said to you? Yeah let’s do a 4 hour call then maybe to be a little more reticent to quick the button but when you offer somebody a short opportunity to try something bite size. Um with maybe the Kar a stick lure of by promise. It’ll be a good conversation that tends to make people jump. Ah and I’m I’m just wondering. If I understand correctly you have a background from the early days in radio I’m going to say the early days like you know, early days of the internet radio and ah I mean you didn’t work from our Kony right? but it like but but where did you.

01:45.55
Doug
It it? Yeah, it was very early days for some here. Oh yeah, yeah, no I’m a little bit younger than that.

02:26.22
Craig
Um, first realized that storytelling was something that you were really into was that in radio or did you develop skills in radio and then you realized that when you got in the podcasting or was it in sales like where did conversation really become a thing that you were aware of that You were good at.

02:39.49
Doug
What the the keys aware so conversation I was naturally drawn to and again we since I was in the days before text messaging and we went through all the iterations of it of pagers of the bag phones of these other things that. Went through so so I went through all those different things and when I started in radio. It was somewhat of a it was ah a lark in that they had a contest the the morning deej had a contest for a sports person to come on so you just simply call in and audition and they would pick a winner and you do this. And I was like well you know hey I like sports I like to have fun. Why not? Yeah I’ve always been sort of somebody that it’s there’s this is a channel this sounds interesting right? And so I called in I did the the sports thing and it was very it was. It was not like the professional was as you see now it it was more like a Saturday night live skit of a sportscaster that went on but it but it but it played well in morning it really was I mean for the morning you want a little bit lighthearted. You want you don’t want any serious topics in the morning.

04:40.42
Craig
Um, but that can be really good on radio right.

04:49.67
Doug
And it sort of fit that bill. So I I got on so I did morning sports. It was a 15 minute hit there as it started and then I got to do some remotes and then I got to do some um remote then actually was the color guy on on doing high school football and I was a color commentator.

05:33.66
Craig
No.

05:26.13
Doug
Guy who was doing play by play and so it all sort of evolved through these things. Um I you know again going back to how when I would go in and you can appreciate this from an edit editing audio standpoint we had real to real tape and I had to go ahead and cut it with a razor blade and spice the slice thing together right? There’s result.

06:07.82
Craig
Right? yeah.

06:02.91
Doug
Audacity or anything like that where you could digitally just wipe things out I had to go in and do these things and it was it was a learning experience that went on. So um I appreciate the ability to sort of highlight and delete and tune in these other things we have now so that was that was that and I did that for a couple of years but I realized. There’s a couple things I realized one that whoever wrote wkrp actually came from a radio station because all those characters get right on? Yeah yeah, yeah, all this yeah and in.

07:03.42
Craig
I Heard you say that another show right? This is real slightly magnified but no real.

07:11.53
Doug
Um, too that you it was somewhat of a you had to be somewhat of a nomad to to sort of because you went from small markets to go on and all these and I couldn’t really do that to my family so I stuck with my day job and just sort of wrote it off for a bit and then I got into I got in this tech sales and and sales nerdery as as I like to call it. And I I was I got really good at it I did these quarterly briefings where I would record it on a Dvd this is when I work for Microsoft and I record the quarter. It was like a half hour Chad was like a little ah and a tonight show I’d interview people. You know, talk about the products do different things and I um.

08:29.96
Craig
In.

08:27.65
Doug
And um shipped dvds around the which is an interesting concept to people who grew up with the internet so they couldn’t be shooting Dvds why did you do that? Well we had dialogue. Yeah I will believe I happy when I had to 33

08:49.58
Craig
Um, you know, yeah, well used to mail us Aol right? Yeah, well used to show up in the mail. Yeah.

09:02.15
Doug
K speed on the diup that was then when I was the that was the winner and then I got into I did a video about training a very and explaining a very complex process process they had to go through and we ended up reprinting reprinting that 3 times and so we we went through that phase and then we were interviewing for somebody for my. My position a similar position to mine. Ah, which was again tech sales and and we went through like 30 candidates my manager at the time just sort of turned to me and said you know look we we we can’t find anybody we need to clone you because you have the ability to tell a story and it was that at that moment. I sat and tried to digest what she was saying that I realized that what I did it didn’t it didn’t’t necessarily come naturally but I did it unconsciously I was sort of attracted to talking to people and as I went through my career I found that people related to stories. And I liked reading when I was a kid and all like the hardy boys and and different things like that that again dating myself. but but I said oh this is a unique skill that I have and and then about a year or so later I went back to a high school reunion we we count it decades. So I don’t go. Tell you what that was, but but they had some memorabilia in um, you know, ah different things from up from the class time this was back in the late 70 s and there was ah there was ah a note there. It was a tardy slip that said you know has had my name on it I wrote it out and I said you know a coke truck. Dropped all the cokes on the freeway and blocked traffic and that’s why I was late and it was approved we by the way good thing they didn’t have it. You know they didn’t have Twitter and stuff to actually check on these things now. But I realized at that time I’ve told stories all my life and and just sort of did it unconsciously so that’s where I sort of directed into it. How can I keep this storytelling going and how can I do so I’ve done some yeah I did some segments on Linkedin where I do mindset Monday and do a little video type thing and then I say okay, let’s do this podcasting thing and so I’ve been doing that for about 4 seasons now. Um. I also do the company podcast I’m the host for that and I do some guest hosting on some others. So I really like the conversation piece of that and what I really like is the stories that sort of develop from a conversation.

13:49.28
Craig
There’s definitely a knack in conversation. Um, so when you’re telling stories. Um I don’t want to like say you’re doing it because you want attention. But when you’re telling stories to be interesting and funny or to to share an emotion with someone.

13:51.25
Doug
And.

14:24.56
Craig
Then there’s the next level up which is when you’re figuring out what is the story that this other person I’m going to say needs to hear if you’re in if you’re in tech sales. You’re also trying to like what’s the story that I can tell them that would correlate with the thing. We’d like to sell you. Um.

14:22.85
Doug
No.

14:34.57
Doug
Me.

14:53.24
Craig
But do you ever real? Do you like recall the point where you saw that as a difference and and maybe like how you were able to say weaponize it but like turn it into a tool. So Now you know there’s lots of stories I can tell I can tell a funny anecdote I can tell a leap on the sword story. Um, or I can try to figure out what. Is the thing that these people don’t see that they need and craft that story like do you do you remember when you were able to None deploy that as a tool.

15:32.50
Doug
Ah, well again, it started unconsciously that is I would sort of adapt stories and really in the background in technology with a specific product. You may only have 4 or 5 different stories. But you put a different spin on it that fits the customer situation that that they need because in the technology. Whether I’m in education I’m government I’m in high tech I’m in farmer or whatever. The technology is sort of fixed in what it does you can customize and sort of tweak it on the end to sort of spit that ah fit that specific. Ah workflow. But I use I will use the language for like if I’m an education I have to use education language to describe something that somebody and pharma would not understand what I’m talking about even though I’m talking about the same thing right? So it’s almost like I’m a translator to to sort of put it in the language that they’re familiar with when I consciously did that was probably about six or seven years ago

17:04.56
Craig
Um.

17:18.47
Doug
Um, it it was you know? Ah, what was I do again after I sort of said oh I’ve got a unique skill here I need to help other people tell stories and I started mentoring a lot of people back when I was at Microsoft on the same thing is okay, let me distill so it’s a little bit of the homework of what am I doing being conscious about what am I doing. And you know where’s that it’s at I mean it wasn’t on aha moment. Nobody pointed it out. It just something as I’m trying to trying to hone the craft. What am I doing that seems to be working what am I doing. That’s not what can I do.

18:37.14
Craig
Do you ever? Forget the situations where you you know you’re you’re talking with someone. Um, maybe not necessarily in a sales capacity but like in a technical kind area and and the story in my head can sometimes be yeah, that’s that’s too complicated for me to explain and like. How do you walk the line between you know, just saying the the wizard behind the curtain says that’s not a thing just you know ignore it and and like trying to actually figure out if they want to learn you know the like teach man a fish versus give them a fish like how do you walk the line between saying like oh here’s the fish go away. The answer is no. It doesn’t work. Um, versus like well this is going to take a lot of time here. But I think this person wants to fish wants learn to fish and like like how do you?? How do you like walk that line and make those decisions like what are the things you look for in them or the things that you see that are indicative.

19:48.41
Doug
Um, yeah, um, yeah. Well there’s a couple so there’s a couple gotcha there one of them when I’m walking into the room if I’m talking to the business people and all the other things then then I know the level is gonna be about 50 to None maybe none of technology that’s the discussion level. Perfect now I get into a bunch of engines. So. We’ve gotten past that part. They want the engineers to look at it I almost immediately go up say look I am not the smartest person in this room but I do know who to call that is much smarter than I am to answer your questions.

21:20.26
Craig
Um, the guy with the rolodex back in the day right.

21:15.19
Doug
Exactly so Hyrogen set the stage. You know that that if it’s a really deep conversation about these things I’m a bit of a polymath which sort of really works to my advantage and that I have a bunch of different interest so that I can find some common ground with somebody I actually call this starting the story where the where the listener is where the where the audience is. Being that. Okay I I do and I do a little Linkedin stalking or a little other things to a little background information about either what they’re familiar with or what their industry is for me whether problems are facing with these other things and then try to start a story again. Put put the the framework around the core message in a language in a. And it and it could be look I was talking to a customer I read a story I read these other things a sort of introduction that says okay, the listener. Okay, he understands sort of where I’m at and then I will go and sometimes I’ll and I can use the eyes glassing over as I’m getting too deep are there about.

23:13.46
Craig
Um, it fell over.

23:05.91
Doug
On your phone. You know they’re doing something you know that you’ve lost there right? So’s you have to sort of constantly monitor the conversation. The the body reactions of what’s going on before you go on because sometimes I’ve gotten a little too deep I Have to say look we sort of gotten off in the weeds here a little bit. Let me get back and you have to reset things So There’s no. Harder and faster rule for it because everybody’s feedback of when we’ve reached that glass over moment is different but the reactions this does you have as a human we all have similar reactions. We get Distracted. We Go do something else. Um, yeah, they’ve all asleep something like that.

24:30.18
Craig
Sometimes I wonder can everybody tell a story like it seems to me like storytelling is so I don’t know if it’s physiologically deeply rooted or we just get so steeped in it. You know from infancy on that everybody learns how to do it but some people don’t know they know how to do it like is it is it really true I’m wondering can everybody tell a story or is it like some people they’re just missing a skillset.

25:10.50
Doug
Yeah, but Lisa Kron wrote a book wired for story where she talks about their brain and this I did my ted talk on this as well is the brain is wired to comprehend stories and and the reason being and I was interviewing somebody just a couple weeks ago. On for the podcast. She gave a point in her Ted talk that the you know you get like a me and inputs I forget it was a bigger number than that at a time your brain can handle about 100 so we have to go through the to the subconscious where we’re doing this is where story comes in because it it starts involving emotions. It makes it more.

26:14.64
Craig
Right.

26:21.93
Doug
More memorable so I started my ted talk giving off a number and then I started telling a story and then after that I got to the end of a second now. Can you remember the number that I told you. None person out of all the times I’ve done that been been able to tell that but but everybody else says no I can’t remember but they could remember the stories that I told it’s just sort of that you have that connection. So the brain’s wired to receive information that way from None point so you can tap into it. They get that now the telling of stories is.

27:10.68
Craig
Um.

27:24.17
Doug
Think it’s a skill you need to Build. We have the capabilities of doing that but sometimes it gets overloaded with everything else. Um, you know when when the technology I think is to a lot of to a large extent is sort of destroyed. That aspect of now. Everything’s a 60 characters or whatever. It’s a tweet. It’s a thought of something right? It’s not really a story and I was a kid I Yeah as a kid That’s how we communicate was talking to each other. We’d tell stories. We’d yeah, we’d lie about this or exaggerate but that you you talk to people and you.

28:10.40
Craig
Um, it has a bell attached and it’s brightly colored right.

28:28.31
Doug
Had that art and now anymore I think we don’t teach and we don’t invest in in the children and adults and stuff to learn to tell. So yeah, you can learn your level of success I think will be limited somewhat about. Your experiences and stuff that you have. But yeah I think everybody can can learn to tell a at least a rude rumentary story. Um I you know I really liked I grew up with Paul Harvey and you tell the rest of the story in the back and I would every day at five o’clock I’d be there to sort of listen to that. So I’d I’d love that and then Mike row came up.

29:23.32
Craig
Are.

29:31.41
Doug
Telling things with the way I heard it and and they’re just great. It’s a you know I’m attracted to stories and the way people tell them and the things that go on even more than books because when you have the voice and you have the different inflection. You have all these different tools that you can use. It’s really an art form.

30:16.26
Craig
Yeah, there’s so much more content that you have access to in audio which a lot of people talk about the magic of radio and it’s really the magic of audio as you were talking and you mentioned um.

30:21.33
Doug
No.

30:46.42
Craig
I’m known for having a soapbox about social media I promise I’m not standing on it I won’t get on it but I’m curious about your thoughts on just occurred to me that if people are I don’t want to like overgeneralize. But if people are living in their phone or living in their computer and and a lot of us. Got this done to us for the last two years and I’m I’m just thinking. There’s a piece that you’re missing so you you can’t actually well maybe a really good storyteller code but you can’t really tell a story through Twitter or through even like a text email and when you mentioned the difference between books and listening to the radio is what struck me.

31:34.83
Doug
So north.

32:04.86
Craig
And I’m just trying to imagine like how do you encourage people who maybe you and I see as like oh you, you have the storytelling biology or the storytelling hard wetware but like how do you encourage them to like take the chance of putting the phone down and and maybe going to a social event.

32:07.70
Doug
Talking You are telling it all.

32:40.00
Craig
You know in places where that’s safe to do but like how do we encourage them to to go show up for storytelling. Is it go find an Improv class. Is it go volunteer at your local radio station is it um jump on you know, live interactive calls like this or what’s the access gateway.

32:57.90
Doug
That’s an interesting thing. Yeah I hadn’t thought of it like that way. Um, yeah, you did mention improv classes and that’s an important part of storytelling. In that I took I took the entry level and I’m actually going through another improv class right now with ah with a mentor of mine and it the the main thing there’s a couple things that it teaches you and this is the None thing that’s a skill for me when I’m out in sales is ability to listen. And not just listen on the surface to it’s listening to what they’re telling you what they’re going on and then doing the number None rule and in in Improvvis yes, and so taking what they’re saying and here’s how we can solve that problem. Not yeah because sometimes. You know inside that there’s a better way to accomplish what they think they’re but which you think they’re trying to tell you that doesn’t matter right? Yeah, no, but you know, no, that’s a yes, but you know it’s a yes and okay, yeah, we can do that and over time you can evolve to go go on but it’s the ability to listen. Really connect with that person to understand where they’re coming from what their worries are what their things are um that I mean that’s a great that’s some great tools and then sort of the structure of a story. Um, but to to get them to go on. You know I I anybodys sort of an aspiring speaker or presenter that I work with us say look go take an improv class. Ah, if you’re in tech sales go take an impro because if you’re up presenting. You’ve always got somebody out. There’s going to toss the question. It’s not on the talk track right? and then how do you respond to that. How do you? you know? do you say? Oh I can’t answer that gone you you let it totally derail you or you look at as up. Yeah.

36:21.48
Craig
Even their interactions that you pick up visually like you look on the audience you’re like no, they’re all glasing over this is not landing. That’s that’s literally Improv would teach you how to like and left.

36:19.55
Doug
Yeah, yeah, they’re telling you they ah so yeah, so that it it is. Ah yeah, all those things that you mentioned are great. Get on a podcast with somebody get on. Yeah, ah, any chance you have to to sort of get in front of a group if you could take toe semesters. You know, do something like that.

37:18.84
Craig
That’s a good point I’ve I’ve heard that mention a lot I’ve never done toast masters. But I’ve heard that mention a lot and I’ve heard a lot of people have really good things to say about I’m going to say being pushed in the pool welcome to toast master is your first day at toast masters you have to turn in the fight club.

37:21.95
Doug
yeah yeah I know I’ve got a couple of good good friends that really I mean some of them lead the group ah somebody I just released a podcast episode for in Canada she leads the group I for for me. Ah I wasn’t a good fit. And yeah, I’m sure I could I did learn some things from it. But for me I wasn’t a good fit for it. That’s not that the program is bad. That’s a program you know like anything and else. You know it’s not a fit for everybody and and those shoes were just a little tight for me, you know? yeah.

38:44.36
Craig
That’s a compliment you know that’s a compliment to the program if the program is specific enough to serve a certain set then that’s a good sign Cool I’m watching our time fly by.

38:40.57
Doug
Yeah, yeah, yeah.

39:01.84
Craig
And we haven’t said a single thing about any of your shows or anything. So if people are interested where can they get in touch with you or find out more about what you’re currently working on or how would you like them to reach out to you.

39:03.41
Doug
Sure I am the Doug Thompson on all those hateful social media platforms. Anybody could be a Doug Thompson but I want to be the Doug Thompson um so Linkedin is where I’m most active but I’m on Twitter and Instagram as well. My I have my podcast which is the Doug Thompson Podcast

39:26.48
Craig
Um.

39:38.67
Doug
Ah, go be changing it up a little bit here in the fall So stay tuned. There’s a little little brand change there I do the company podcast I work at Tanium I work for the podcast there and just you know I’m just around so I’m gonna try to be a little bit more active in the community here. Thanks for inviting me here I like to talk to like minded people. And people that unless I aren’t Necessari like minded that’s one too.

40:31.96
Craig
Cool all right? Well as I said at the beginning. Thanks so much for taking the time to join me. It’s a distinct pleasure to you know, actually get to spend some time you know, not on a Hollywood squares type call and chat and talk about conversation. So thanks so much doug.

40:45.43
Doug
Thanks for having me.