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Episode 011: A Conversation on the Power of Storytelling with Karen Eber

the importance of storytelling

Join Sarah Noll Wilson and Karen Eber as they break down the art and science of storytelling, and how stories can serve as a powerful tool in communicating and connecting with others.

About our guest

Karen Eber is an international consultant, and keynote speaker. Her talk on TED.com: How your brain responds to stories – and why they’re crucial for leaders, has almost 2 million views. As the CEO and Chief Storyteller of Eber Leadership Group, Karen helps companies reimagine and evolve how they build leaders and teams, transform culture and tell stories.

Karen works with Fortune 500 companies like General Electric, Facebook, Kraft Heinz, and Kate Spade and guest lectures in universities including MIT, Emory, and London School of Business. She has inspired many through her articles published in Fast Company, CLO Magazine, and Training Industry Magazine.

Karen has 20+ years of experience and has been a Head of Culture, Chief Learning Officer and Head of Leadership Development at General Electric and Deloitte. She is a four-time American Training and Development winner. She is writing a book on storytelling, expected in 2023.

Episode Transcript

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where each week we explore a topic to help us have more powerful conversations with ourselves and others. I’m your host, Sarah Noll Wilson. Now before I introduce you to our incredible guests this week, I want to invite you to join us for a future show. We will be recording a mailbag episode where we will answer all of your questions. So if there’s something you’re curious about that you want me to explore, or one of our many guests to explore with me, you can send those to us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com. Now, let’s get into this week’s episode because I’m – I mean, I’m always – I feel like every time I like, Oh, I’m so excited, but I’m always excited. And I’m particularly excited for this one. Because this week, our guest is Karen Eber. Let me tell you a little bit about who she is formally, and then I’ll share our very colorful and vulnerable building to our relationship. So Karen Eber is an international consultant and keynote speaker. Her talk on ted dot com, “How your brain responds to stories and why they’re crucial for leaders,” has almost 2 million views. That’s right, folks. 2 million views. As the CEO and chief storyteller of Eber Leadership Group, Karen helps companies reimagine and evolve how they build leaders and teams, transform cultures, and tell stories. She works with Fortune 500 companies like General Electric – so that’s a mouthful for me – Facebook, Kraft Heinz and Kate Spade. Did you get paid in purses? No. Okay. I was just curious with the Kate Spade. No, just kidding. You can always throw that on as, like, a bonus. No. And guest lectures and universities including MIT, Emory, and London School of Business. She has inspired many through her articles published in Fast Company, CLO Magazine and Training Industry Magazine. Karen has over 20-plus years experience as the head of culture, chief learning officer, and head of leadership development at General Electric, and Deloitte. She is a four-time American training and development winner. And she’s writing a book on storytelling that’s expected to publish in 2023. Karen, welcome.

Karen Eber
Thank you. I want to get you to record, like, a Good morning Karen as my alarm every day. What an amazing hype woman, I love it. Love it. So excited to be here.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I would be happy to. I’m so pleased to be exploring this this topic of storytelling, and so, so excited to dig into this because I think there’s sometimes maybe some limiting beliefs about who gets to tell stories, when should you tell stories, and when it may be helpful. Let’s talk about our story. And how we came to know each other. You know, people who are listening to this show, I think they’re probably picking up on a pattern that I’ve had the opportunity to meet some incredible people through social media. And Karen and I, our paths crossed. I don’t remember when or how but somewhere on Twitter, do you remember specifically?

Karen Eber
I looked it up. February 2020. Sarah puts out a tweet that says, One of my clients is looking to update their performance management, and I haven’t really loved what I’ve seen. What suggestions do you have? And I had noticed Sarah before, and here we were a month before the pandemic. And I thought, Oh, well, I have a background in this. And I sent you probably way too many tweets in a row. But then I slid into your DMS and then we communicated electronically for a month before we had an awkward jam session at the beginning of the pandemic.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Oh yeah. That’s the story. I – gosh, I love that you were able to identify, like, the moment our relationship happened. Now we know our anniversary date that we can celebrate. As many people who are listening knows that one of the things that I picked up – started to play around with – was the accordion. And I posted my little terrible video right around the middle of March, because the first week of the shutdown – and Karen, this woman who I just had met, and we just were talking about HR, said, We should do an awkward duet. I’ll bring my flute or piccolo, and you bring your accordion. And, you know, at that point, we didn’t know what was happening in the world, and there just needed to be a little bit of joy and laughter, and so I said yes, and there is a recording of it. And not only did Karen and I do an awkward duet together – now keep in mind when you’re on Zoom, playing music together is not good. And then when you’re playing with somebody who literally doesn’t know how to play an instrument, also not good – talking about myself, not not the accomplished musician you are – But we had other people join us, and who were audience members, and who brought their own instruments. And it was just this incredible opportunity for seemingly, you know, unconnected strangers to come together. And so someday we’ll be on stage with our, you know, professional awkward duets group.

Karen Eber
Absolutely. It’s a true testament to Yes And, because if I say something to you, you say Yes And, and vice versa, which is fabulous and incredibly dangerous.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right? Right. What – let me ask you this, what else would you like our audience to know about you?

Karen Eber
I feel like it’s all gonna come out in the conversation. I don’t have anything specific. I think that as we talk, you and I share the same passions of how do we create workplaces that are healthy and interesting? And how do we remove jerks from them? And how do we create safe space for people to bring all their energy to work? So I’m just looking forward to geeking out in a conversation with you.

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, it’ll be fun. Okay, so let’s jump in. So I imagine that a lot of people, when they hear the topic, storytelling, they may think of it only through the lens of being a performer or a speaker or – but really through more of a limited lens of where stories can help us. So what, when you’re working with a group, how, where do you start, when you are exploring this idea of why storytelling is actually really important for all of us to be aware of, but especially a critical skill for those of you who are in positions of leadership.

Karen Eber
The three biggest excuses I hear are, I don’t know where to find an idea for a story, or I don’t know how to tell a story, or I have to present data, because I have to present facts, and there’s no room for a story. And so I start with this story. And then pretty quickly after I encourage people to draw whatever their version of Happy is. If I tell you draw Happy, do you have any idea when you might draw? Anything?

Sarah Noll Wilson
No, I just like pulled out a pen and paper. Yeah, if I were to draw, yeah, I’m gonna think about that.

Karen Eber
That’s what happens. It’s a very odd request, especially at work. And so people take a moment and they draw whatever that is. And then we share it. And most popular Happy is a beach scene, amazingly. Water, of course, really healing. Everybody draws whatever their version of Happy is, and we take the time to appreciate everyone’s Happy. And the reason I started there is that we’re all given the same topic. But we all have our own expression of it, we all have our own interpretation of it. A story may have been told before, but it hasn’t been told by you. And the perspective you bring is really valuable. And so I find when I start there, it immediately hits people right in the – But I don’t have anything important to say, or It’s already been said before. And it starts to just make people be a little more open. Also forces a little bit of creative exercise and gets them going into it. The faster I get people into telling a story and breaking that fear of telling it, makes it easier for them to be more open.

Sarah Noll Wilson
What, and I – Oh, go ahead. Yeah, no, continue on.

Karen Eber
The biggest piece, I think, is if you picture the engineering, or the accounting, or the audit mind, that is going to feel really skeptical to storytelling, like there’s no way that this is going to have any role or space in my job. What I do is I go through the science. And I’ve put out, or I’ve come up with what I call the five factory settings in the brain. And once I walk them through, This is how your brain is going to take information and how it’s going to interact with stories. And here’s how you then leverage that. And I show them you can actually scientifically hack the art of storytelling. That’s the moment that I find that, in the skeptical brain, that it all starts to come together because they realize, Oh, there’s actual steps. It’s not just, Tell a story.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Mm hmm. I know, I find the same thing is true in our work, when we talk about, right, the practices of conversational intelligence, that when you say something like, Hey, we need to listen differently. And they’re like, Yeah yeah yeah. And it’s like, oh, no, this is actually what’s happening, what’s happening in your brain. I would imagine that – or I’m curious to know, you know, how often when you’re when you’re working with teams, or you’re working with individuals, that there’s maybe this fear of perfection, that they need to have this perfectly polished – this perfectly scripted – You know, and that – and the role that that might play in the apprehension. You know, in your your TED Talk, one of the things, one of the ways you described it is an allergy to stories, and I really appreciated the language that you use. And so I’m, you know, I’m just curious to hear more about, you know, what else do you observe that might give people pause? So people who are listening may go, Oh, yeah, no, that’s totally me, or I’ve definitely experienced that.

Karen Eber
Yeah, I find less perfection, and more not wanting to take the time, or the fear of the vulnerability. So if we take the time one first, it’s not that people feel like they have to get the perfect story, it’s that they don’t feel like they have to put any time into a story. They think they could just get up and tell a story. Or they’ve tried that before. And it hasn’t worked, or they’ve sat through a version of that, and it hasn’t worked. And that makes them feel like story isn’t helpful. And I always encourage people – instead of opening PowerPoint and doing your PowerPoint quilt patchwork, that everyone seems to do instead of really thinking about what you want to communicate, what if you took that time and really put 15-20 minutes into the story that people were then going to remember and connect and engage with. When people give us their attention, that’s a precious gift. Yet, what do we do over and over in meetings, we just throw it away by putting up way too many slides, doing the, I’m not going to talk about this, and then rambling, wasting time. And then people leave the meeting, and they don’t remember at least 50% of it in an hour. And so if you invest 10-15 minutes, you can come up with a structure, you can start to engage senses, details, and have something that’s going to be far more memorable than just walking in and winging it.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, it’s – it makes me think, when I’ve, as I’ve been following your work and just, you know – you have opened my eyes to, right, that brain science and the power of storytelling, it made it made me think about my former – well, not just my former organization that I worked with, but also previous organizations, and how every all employee meeting looked the same. We’re going to talk about where we’re at with sales, we’re going to talk about, right, like, where we are related to our financial goals. And there was always this gap, because as a company, we would say the most important thing are our customers, and the most important thing is the impact we have on our customers. And yet, the only thing we ever heard about is how much money were we making or not making. And when we talk about – So I’m curious, because I know a lot of our listeners are either people who are in the HR space or in leadership space. I want to talk about and tease out that our espoused values and how we communicate and – we’re actually communicating different values. And how can we start to bridge that gap? So I guess I’m, I don’t really have a specific question. But I’m, I assume you encounter this quite a bit in your work as well. And so I’m curious to hear what comes up for you.

Karen Eber
Yeah, it does actually make me think of a story that illustrates that. So one of my clients is the head of marketing and insights for our company. And she has reams of client data, customer data. And every time she sits down with her leadership team to review it, the feedback is always, Well, they don’t know what they’re talking about. They immediately discredit any piece of customer data. Like, this is garbage. We don’t care what they say, doesn’t matter. Which by the way, our version of this in HR and leadership development is the employee survey, the voice of employee survey.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I was just writing that down.

Karen Eber
That – exactly. Immediately, people go to, Well, I don’t care about percentages, all that. But let’s go back to the first story. So this woman, Head of Marketing, leadership insights, and the data they have is so cool. It’s a construction company. And it would actually allow for them to do innovative things and create designs that are very forward looking that their competitors aren’t doing. But every time she tries to make headway with the leadership team, they immediately dismiss it. So what we did is worked on this story, that is a true story, about a cruise ship that was porting out of Miami, doing a two week cruise. And people save for years to go on a cruise. If you’re a cruiser or not, imagine a vacation that you just have been dreaming about doing, and some people like save to bring their whole family. They set sail, on the first day, this family goes down to the pool and it’s closed. And not only is the pool closed, 30% of the ship is closed because they are doing repairs and upgrading it. And not just, like, inconveniently closed, like all you hear is a construction site. You hear the grinding against steel and the sanding. And there’s this terrible smell because they’re refinishing the floors, and it’s, like, making people sick, and they end up in the infirmary, and they’re being charged for this. And people are putting towels over their head when they walk around because it’s so awful. Now, that would piss me off. If I’ve saved all this money for this vacation, and now not only can I not use the parts of the ship I want, it’s, like, completely miserable. It’s completely frustrating. So you hear that and you immediately think, The customer is not wrong here, the cruise ship messed up, they should have at a minimum let people know before the cruise and given them a huge, significant discount. But they didn’t. Not only did they not do that, the passengers met with the captain, the captain walked out of the meeting. They were calling attorneys on the shore, saying what can we do this is terrible. The – before they even ported back, they got information all the way up to the corporate office. And the corporate office said, well, we’ll give you like 25% off the booking of your next cruise. It’s so offensive, so offensive. And so in the end, the cruise ship apologize, they gave people the chance to refund, but it was a – it was all over newspapers, really terrible situation. So I worked with the my client to tell this story, before she opened any data, because they also had a lot of data about quality problems and things that were wrong, that Oh, those customers don’t know what they’re thinking about. So what this story did – completely different situation, had nothing to do with them, different industry – it allowed for them to immediately identify with, That is not right for this customer. They did them wrong. Like, if I was in that situation, I would be mad. And once they were connected to that emotion, she said, What do you think our customers feel? And she actually had a video from one of their own customers that she played that just talked about their disappointment on quality issues. And then they’re finally open to realize, like, maybe we shouldn’t be discounting some of this data. And maybe some of these things are true. And so it’s a great example where they are all about, We’re here for our customers, and customers first, yet, they’re very easy to judge the data. And so in this case, telling a story about the data wasn’t helpful. It was telling the story that helped them connect to the emotion that they needed to pay attention to that did it. And that just happens all the time. We think that we’re doing the right thing or our perspective is right. And sometimes you have to challenge that and stories do like this story about this terrible cruise did all the work for her, and then open them up to have a real conversation that she couldn’t make headway on for months.

I – What a powerful example. And I was paying – as you were talking, I found my – well, I mean, I audibly gasped at one point, and I’m assuming the audience probably will too. And I couldn’t help but go, What an emotional journey for me as a listener. And then, right, and then that sort of, like, that mic drop, gut punch moment. Well, how do you think our customers feel, was so just like, Oh my God, this isn’t even my company. And I had this reaction of like, Well, what – how do our customers feel? And then I, and then I was thinking about, again, almost every company all-hands meeting I’ve been a part of which is like, Oh, our quality control is 87%. Like, Okay, well, that’s not great, but no big deal. So one of the things that I really appreciate about, you know, you and how you approach your work is this idea that it’s not data or stories, but it’s how do we bring them together? And so I want to spend a little bit of time unpacking, why stories, and why it is so important to connect to that emotional experience. And so whether we, you know, we can look at it from the lens of what happens to the brain. And maybe that’s where we start, what what happens to us when we hear a story, and how does that then change how we think or how we behave when presented with information in that way?

Yeah, absolutely. And if I don’t remember to say it, let’s also come back to how we’re making decisions, because that’s really the piece that also hooks in the data piece of it. So there’s a couple of things, which if you’ve heard people talk about storytelling, you hear some of the same things. So I’m going to lightly touch on those and go a step further. The things you hear about most often when someone is telling a story is that it lights up the entire brain. You may even hear people say we’re wired for stories. I hate that personally. Like, we’re wired to outrun a lion. But unless you practice every day, you’re not going to do it. So that’s kind of irrelevant to me. Like, yeah, you have the capacity to do it. But you still have to exercise the muscles to be able to do it. So when you are listening to a story, and it’s describing things that engage your senses – so if I talk about, like, he had leathery hands, or the rain was tapping on the window, it starts to light up your brain in those areas of your senses much more dynamically than information. If you’re just listening to information sitting in a meeting or a town hall, two small parts of your brain are activated like maybe the size of an almond. It’s Wernicke and Broca’s on the side. And that’s just true language processing where words come in and your brain understands what they are. But the story is going to dynamically engage your entire brain, and, as the listener of the story, your brain lights up in the same patterns as the storyteller’s. This neural coupling happens. And in fact, there’s recent research that says heart rates sync, when listening to a story, even if you’re not in the same location. If I listened to a story, and two weeks later, you listen to it in a different state, our heart rates could measure the same exact amount. And that’s because our brains are responding and our hearts are then responding to our brains. Where I’ve gone further in that is to look at the five factory settings of your brain that I have coined. Because the first is, our brain’s number one goal is survival. And it’s lazy. Because if we’re wired to survive, that means we want to have a surplus of calories in case there’s a difficult or emergency situation. So our brain is always looking to see where it can hoard calories. So when you’re telling a story, you have to make the brain spend calories. And the way you do that is you’re going to build and release tension, you’re going to put in things that are unexpected, you’re going to put a sentence that’s clever, that’s like, Oh, I like that. Because that then forces the brain to spend a little. The brain is also in the futures business. So while it’s trying to hoard calories, it’s trying to predict behavior, everything from what dangerous things may come at us to, if I’m walking, how do I need to put my foot down to actually walk. And so our brain’s constantly getting all this feedback of, are we correct or not? Because the faster we make assumptions, and the faster we learn things, the more calories we can solve. And that’s the second factory setting of, we’re lazy, and we love to make assumptions, because that’s going to allow us to make sure we’ve got stuff for survival. The third is that we’ve got this library of files. So we’re processing 34 gigabytes every day of information through our senses, mostly unconsciously. And as we take it in, we’re processing, Is this something we know? Does go in the folder of the file that we already know? Is this related to something we know? Do we need to create a new file? And so this categorizing is really important in storytelling, because in addition to wanting to build and release tension, and slow down the ability of us to predict assumptions, we’re going to connect to what people know. Because if you connect to what someone knows, then it’s an immediate visual thing. So if I say to you, the cut was a size of a paperclip, you immediately get this image in your mind of what that is. Or you actually had this in your book, I loved it when you’re talking about the amygdala. And you said your amygdala is like a chihuahua. I love that. It’s such a great, vivid description when you connect to it. People know. And then the last few factory settings, we survive through in groups and out groups. We want to be a part of an in group because the more we’re a part of something, there’s more attention focus for our survival. From a historic standpoint, the more people around us, the easier it is to get food, shelter, safety, all of that. And so belonging to something allows us to have different energy, it allows us to have psychological safety. And there are times where we don’t want to belong. As I talked about this cruise ship, you think, I’m glad I’m not on that. We want to be a part of that group that doesn’t experience that. And so, in stories, you’re constantly telling a story to either make someone feel a part of an in group, or to make them feel not a part of that group. And then the last is that we seek pleasure. And we avoid pain. And so of course, all of the happy neural chemicals allow us to seek pleasure and get reinforcement, and the increase of oxytocin – which, by listening to a story, oxytocin increases in your brain – the more oxytocin you have, the more empathy you have, and the more trust that you have. There’s scientific research that shows that story increases trust. But also, there are chemicals like cortisol and things like that, that are there to help us get out of danger and avoid difficult things. And so the seeking pleasure and avoiding pain is important. Because in addition to telling stories where people belong, where they don’t belong, sometimes you want to tell a story that makes someone uncomfortable, like hearing about a cruise ship where you have to walk with a towel on your head because of the fumes. Like, you want to feel that discomfort, because it’s helpful, where sometimes you want to tell a story that feels good. So that’s the five ways that, when you start to understand, this is what your brain is going to do. And you can factor that into stories. You start to see like, Oh, I can’t scientifically hack this. I get it. Okay.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah. Yeah, thank you for sharing all of those. And then so let’s expand that into that idea of, how do we make decisions. Because, you know, I know in our work, we work with a lot of similar similar people who are in different, you know, positions of power, who might be really technically brilliant, which is why they’ve been promoted. And how often do we hear, No, I’m very logical and I’m very Rational and I make decisions on data. And we we know that’s not true. But I want to hear you share the research that you’ve done and have gathered on, how do we actually make decisions? For everyone at home going, No, I make it on data because I’m a very rational and logical and I’m a non-emotional person.

Karen Eber
Yeah, I used to ask people, What would make you change your mind? And I don’t ask that anymore because their response is always data. And I’m like, Nope, you’re wrong. This is the crazy part, right? So information comes in, through our senses and they’re processed through our hippocampus and through our amygdala. And our amygdala is ultimately coding emotions. They’re coding things into memory, right? Your amygdala is like this – It’s the coolest part of your brain, I have to say, because it not only, you know, we think of it as getting out of fight or flight, but it’s the part that’s going to help with decision making. So what neuroscientists have found – there is a neuroscientist, Antonio Damasio, that started to study patients that had damage to their amygdala. So fully functioning every way, they had jobs, they could walk, talk, like, everything was normal, except they had this damage to their amygdala, and could not make a single decision. They couldn’t decide, am I going to organize my files by title or by date, am I going to arrange this like this, like very simple, this or this, couldn’t do. Really struggled. And these were people that, pre-damage, were high functioning, very successful. After, their career stalled, because they literally could not make a decision, had all sorts of problems in their relationships, and they were emotionally flat. And what he found is that the amygdala is playing a huge role in this decision making. So if you go to the 34 gigabytes of information that are coming in, as much of it is being processed, what’s happening is it’s being processed at a subconscious level. They’ve put people in MRI machines, and they were told, okay, you have to choose between red chips or black chips. And they would, while they’re in the MRI machine, they would see these different images. And if they chose one, positive things would happen, if they chose another, negative things would happen. And what they found is that – the person had to speak up as soon as they are aware of their decision. And a full – I think it was almost 10 seconds before the person spoke – they could see directions that the neurons were lighting up in indicating their choice. Our decision making happens subconsciously. It happens because of our emotions, because of our amygdala, because of our past experience, because in some cases of our genetic history. And at the point we become aware of it is when we apply logic and ration. So I like to joke, this is why you buy the car and say it’s because of fuel economy, but you really love the color blue.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right. Right. It’s, you know, yeah, we like – we justify it. And we have that confirmation bias almost of, here’s what I need to do to reinforce the decision, the decision that I’m making. And I want to, I want to go back to something that you were talking about – and you know, that was earlier before we were talking about the five factories, but it’s all connected – is, you know, again, I think it’s easy for people to go, Oh, I’m just a leader. And I don’t need to think about storytelling. But the note that I made as you were talking, especially about that neuro coupling, and how we we literally mirror each other’s emotions – our brain, our brains will activate in the same way, our hearts – That’s the thing that I loved when I learned about that of just that idea of, our hearts literally will be in sync with each other. And I appreciate, because I wasn’t aware that that translates virtually as well. And so what I’m curious about is, how can we think about how to use stories effectively in the space of working remotely, hybrid, because we know that one of the challenges is that things have just become so transactional, virtually. Specifically at work, they become so task focused, and we haven’t been as intentional about, or we need to be more intentional about, how we build that relationship. So from your perspective, or even the experience in the work you’re doing with clients, how can we think about – or let’s get really specific – Where can we think about applying and using stories, when we’re in communication with team virtually?

Karen Eber
There is a CEO of a Fortune 500 company. And there was a big meeting virtually cast all over the world. There was a small contingent in person, but big global contingent. And one of the hard things about leaders and change is that you’re so much further down the path than everyone else, you have to keep coming back to where they are and bring them forward. And there’s a point as a leader where that’s exhausting. You’re like, can we just move on already? Well, no, you –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right, suck it up buttercup.

Karen Eber
Right. And this leader was having a day where he was like, it’s a new day, I want to focus on the change and where we’re going. And in the room, where there was a small contingent of people, it was very joking and light and jovial. And it flopped, because they had just announced a huge restructuring, and all these layoffs. So here is someone who is showing up now telling jokes and everyone’s laughing, and they’re all buddy buddy and chummy. And you know, there was an energy in the room where it wasn’t offensive, but it did not translate. And on the message boards, just got ripped. And this is the CEO, right? Got ripped. And to his credit, within a few hours, he got up in front of a wall, he got a camera, and he said, I was wrong. I handled today completely wrong. I apologize. I was insensitive. And he just got up and he was really vulnerable. And he owned it. He explained a little, not an a, My intention was, but he did explain a little. He shared just a very brief story, sent it off. And I watched the message boards after, and all of these people that were like, This is inexcusable. It’s like, sir, you now have my trust. I was disgusted with you two hours ago. And now this is completely different. And so that’s to say there’s never a wrong moment for story if it’s done earnestly, and it’s done with the focus of the audience. So where stories don’t work, is where someone gets up and tells the story they want to tell because they want to tell it. I have worked with so many teams where I’m in sessions doing teamwork like you do, and the leader starts to tell the story that you can tell they’ve told so many times, and the whole room glazes over and disengages. And they wait until he’s done talking. No one wants that. That’s, like, the relative at the dinner table where you’re like, Please. It’s so common. And this is where this whole, tell a story, is awful advice. Like, no, tell a story because you’re trying to help your audience know, think, feel, do something different. So whether it’s virtual or in person, the first thing is, it’s appropriate in any situation, when you’ve thought through what you’re trying to help your audience do. And I think virtually, there’s an opportunity to share what is hard for you. Because when you share that, you start to create that psychological safety for others to. The chance for you to share, if this is appropriate for your team, like what you did over the weekend, or big important one, when you’ve made a mistake. We just did a keynote at a company we were preparing for it. And we were talking about psychological safety. And they said no, no, we don’t talk about mistakes here. And I’m like, well, then you don’t have psychological safety. You have to be willing to talk about this. So I am going to talk about it. You can pretend that you don’t make mistakes. But all you’re doing is causing yourself issues and burnout and frustration. So instead, like, let’s figure out – And if you don’t want to call it a mistake, fine, then call it, What did we learn? What would we do different? But create that place. And so those moments where you are able to share those things? That’s the story that everyone remembers and makes them more inclined to do. Here’s the most challenging paradox of storytelling is, it is vulnerable, and people don’t want to do because it’s vulnerable. But it is the vulnerability that everyone responds to.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It absolutely – I mean, 100%. It’s – I mean, and I’m somebody who has, you know, I’ve been on stage since I was 12? 13? Right? I’ve – a background in theatre, and then improvisation, and then speaking for the last 15 plus years. And just yesterday, was asked to speak on my journey of becoming an author, right? They’re like, we don’t want you to do your thing. We want you to talk about your thing. And, like, the good, the bad, and the ugly. And even – and I’m somebody who’s an open book – And even for me, there were moments of, I haven’t – I haven’t shared that publicly yet in this way. But I’m going to step into it. And 100% of the comments I got afterwards, you know, when people said, Oh, I really love that, That was a great presentation, was I really appreciated how honest you were. I really appreciate your vulnerability. You know, I’ve thought that maybe I have ADHD, and now I’m really thinking that I do, and thank you for that. And so I say that from the standpoint of, even when you may have a lot of practice with it, there still may be moments that are – that feel vulnerable, and they feel like a risk, but the risk can be so worth it, when you step into it. Because, you know, people aren’t going to come back and go, Wow, that slide where you said that we’ve got point 12% of things, you know, or whatever the case is, they’re going to be like, I really appreciated when you apologize. Like that CEO, I’m sure he has sales numbers and all of that, that he shares. But that single moment of humanity. Of absolute humanity is massive, and one that I feel like we’re so often trying to remove from the workplace. And it’s like, well, the humanity is in there, whether we want to pay attention to it or not. So let’s lean into it. And you know, so much of our work is about building, rebuilding, and healing relationships. One of the ways we heal it is by owning it. And yeah, so I – So for those of you who are listening, and maybe are feeling, Oh, that feels a little scary to tell that. That’s okay. You know, and then what does it look like to lean into it? I want to, well, first, let me pause there and give you a chance to respond, because I want to – I want to go back to something you said. But I don’t want to shift us from this for a moment.

Karen Eber
I think just a quick concept, that you decide where the line is between personal or private. So every story you tell is going to be personal. But it doesn’t have to be private. And when I say personal, what I mean is what do you bring to the story, even if it is a story about someone else? It is your take on it. Just like we started, what is Happy? You are bringing something to the story, we’re each going to tell it differently. So every story is personal. But personal doesn’t mean private. And you figure out where that is. So I have a high privacy barrier. I don’t talk about my personal life a lot. It’s not because it’s a vulnerability. It’s just what I’ve always been. I will sometimes, but I have lines on what that is for me. But I will happily tell you about the time I messed up and someone hung up on me at work because I was dumb in how I handled it. Like I have no problem talking about mistakes or lessons learned. And so, part of storytelling isn’t, But I don’t want to tell a personal story. No, it’s not – You don’t want to tell a private story. And figuring out what that is, is helpful. I do a lot of international work. And there’s always this like, Well, we don’t do personal. I’m like, You are now, let’s go. So that piece of it is important. The second thing is, you talked about healing relationships and the fear of telling stories. And I just encourage everyone to think about a team off-site that you went to. And maybe you were, like, dreading it. And maybe you knew there were elephants in the room to address and some heaviness to deal with. And then you came out the other side and you thought, You know what, I’m glad we did that. And you feel bonded closer to everyone. And that’s because you had time together. And you talked about your lives with each other over breaks and over dinner. And you had these moments of connection. And maybe it didn’t feel like a formal storytelling, but it was stories. Like, the power to be able to step back as a team and do this is exchanging stories and information and creating surprise, that increase in oxytocin, which is increasing your empathy for each other, and trust. And so it is key in healing relationships, because you then understand each other better. Even if you don’t agree, you have a different understanding.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, we see each other as like our whole, our whole selves, and not just some percentage of ourselves. I – What a gift, what a gift you just gave of that. And – that it should be personal, it will be personal, but it doesn’t need to be private. And I think that that, you know, sometimes when we use the word vulnerability, that people think that it’s, I need to share all of my deep dark secrets, I need to share my personal failings, or whatever it may be. And – Now, there are things that aren’t maybe as productive and, truly, maybe not appropriate. And that idea of, when we come from that place of, our perspective on the situation, our experience with it, I mean, that is personal. And so I just love – I love that gift that you just gave, because I think sometimes what I see is people go, Oh, but I’m not ready. And it’s like, I’m not – we’re not asking you to, you know – I would joke I with my CEO – my former CEO – and we would talk about vulnerability, and I would always tease him and say, I just want to – I just want you to show your belly a little bit. Like, I want to see your, your soft – your soft human side. Because he was such a, you know – the joke was always, he’d come offstage after doing all these number of presentations, and he’d be like, How did I do? Did I show my belly? I was like you barely lifted your shirt. I mean, it was a joke between he and I. But ultimately, what it was was, we just want to see your humanity. We don’t, we don’t just want to experience the financial spreadsheets. We want to see that you are human and we want to see that you care and we want to see all of that, and I think – and I want to go back to, and reiterate that point that you made, of, what’s the goal of the story? Is the goal of the story for me to be talking? Or is the goal of my story to potentially impact thinking, impact action? And if you’re if you’re okay with it, Karen, you actually just wrote about this in your blog. So for those of you who are listening, and Karen has just amazing articles and insights, and no surprise, they’re delivered beautifully through story. And also I will say, as a neuro divergent brain, I love the visual layout of how you do your articles, because it’s sentences and bold – but you talk about, and maybe we can spend a little bit of time – You’ll know where I’m going, the FBI interrogation story of bringing a negotiator to the table. And that point of, you can have a really good story. But if it’s not the story that the audience needs, doesn’t – it doesn’t matter. So if you’re comfortable with it, I’d love to tag that in the show notes just to drive people, not only to that article, but to your work.

Karen Eber
Yeah, of course.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Would you be willing to share that story?

Karen Eber
Yeah, the context – So in a previous life at Deloitte, I was heading up leadership development and was bringing in courses for the partners, for the owners of the firm. And to get them to step away from their job was really hard. I knew that they wanted a course on negotiations, but I had to figure out, how do we get them to come. So I always had this rule, it had to have the cool factor. The cool factor meaning, like, you see the description, and there’s something on it that makes you want to go. And so the cool factor was that we were going to have a dinner after the day where – I tried a couple of different people, one was an FBI hostage negotiator, and the other was a New York Police Department hostage negotiator. And these were famous people, famous cases. And so we go through the day of learning all these negotiation techniques, and we go to dinner, because why not hold people hostage to a dinner? And the whole thing just flopped, regardless of whether it was the FBI hostage negotiator, or the NYPD, because they would be describing these situations that were life or death, where they are talking about, they are trying to build rapport. And interestingly, the way hostage negotiators build rapport is through story. They’re looking for common understanding and experience and stuff with the person that is taken hostage of people, because they want to build that empathy, they know that the story is going to create the connection. So they would tell these stories of what they did. And I slowly realized the whole group just did not connect with it at all, because they thought, Well, I don’t – I’m not negotiating for lives, I’m negotiating for money and terms and conditions. This has nothing to do with me, even though it was the same exact concepts they had just learned. And so the point was that it’s not enough to tell a story, the way you tell a story matters. And the way you are telling the story so it connects to your audience really is important. And in this case, I realized too late that it was not working. And I needed to really have approached it different to help them connect to the ideas and the takeaway.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I think that’s such a resonant – I mean, I’m sure I’m guilty at times of telling stories because I’m excited to tell them, or I think it’s fun to tell or whatever, and then realizing well, what does this audience, or what does this moment, really need? Karen, what makes a good story?

Karen Eber
So, a good story is going to really do three or four things. First, is it’s going to set context. So you’re gonna understand what’s happening, who’s involved, why do I care? It’s gonna set conflict. This is the point where something happens, and where we get to build and release tension. It’s gonna have an outcome, where we know what the impact of that conflict is. And the most important piece that most people skip is the takeaway. What is that result? What is the idea that you’re taking out of this story? Because the process is, you start with your audience, and you think about what you want them to know, think, or do. And then you choose your idea for a story, and you start working through building it out. And the takeaway is what helps you connect to what you want your audience to know, think, or do.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Hmm, I love all of that. And that idea, you’ve – because you’ve said it a few times – that, like, that building tension and releasing tension. What’s important about that? Because that’s – you’ve said that a few times now. Yeah.

Karen Eber
Yeah. So, that’s what’s going to take the first factory setting of your brain and really maximize it. So if your brain is lazy and not wanting to spend calories, when you build and release tension, it’s going to force it to spend calories. And the way you’re going to do that is a surprising plot point, or an order in how you’re telling it that’s unexpected. It could be just a really clever sentence. There’s – you know, comedians do this so well. You’re listening to a comedian tell their set and they throw in a line, you’re like, Oh, I did not expect that. Or you think something’s gonna happen one way, and then it doesn’t. And then it rebuilds. And so it’s just this, slowing down that anticipation and making your brain say, it’s almost like making your brain hit a speed bump, like, Hmm, wait a minute, what was gonna happen? So it doesn’t have to be just with the plot. It could be the way you’re telling it. It could be the cadence, it could be specific items. It could be really specific, vivid detail, but it – the goal is that you want the brain to spend some calories, because the more that happens, the more you’re interacting and engaging with it.

Sarah Noll Wilson
So – it’s so interesting. I’m so intrigued by, like, the way that you’ve framed that up of, I mean, yeah, no, the brain is totally lazy. And it wants the simplest, easy path, right? That’s why we’re drawn to, like, how do I compartmentalize people into two categories? So I can fully understand them? And it’s like, well, no, humans are complex. So that’s – but our brain wants that simplicity. So I’m just – I’m chewing on for myself, I’m appreciating the –

Karen Eber
Yeah. Think of those nights where you want, like, a new documentary that you’ve never seen before. And you’re interested and you have attention. And then those nights where you’re like, where’s Friends? Because I can’t, I can’t spend any attention on anything else. I’m just – No, like – that’s a great example of it. Of there are moments where it’s just too much. And there’s moments where you –

Sarah Noll Wilson
Sure. Well, and the thing, the other thing – the other thing that’s coming up for me is sometimes, especially because, you know, we’re both in the space of, how do we help people learn? And how do we help them learn about learning, right? That it isn’t just, Here’s new skills, but how do we think about it? And there’s definitely this pervasive, unfortunately, still very pervasive, you know, myth of, Well, I’m an audio – I’m an auditory learner, I’m a visual learner, I’m a whatever. And it’s like, well, no, actually, what we know is when we’re able to tap into more, the more senses we can tap into, the more likely that our brain is going to hold onto that, and the more, you know, to use your words, like calories we’re spending, even if it’s – like part of that is that level of discomfort, the more likely we will retain it. Because we’re – Yeah, I mean, we’re just – we are physically engaged, and our brain is lit up in a different way. And yeah, I don’t –

Karen Eber
There’s one piece to that also. It’s not just the senses, it’s the specific details, because a really specific detail is going to be memorable. So another thing in your book that I loved, when you were talking about Amy G. Dala for amygdala. Yeah, how people come up to you and they’re like, Who is this Amy G? Like, that’s such a specific thing that is memorable. And so, you know, I joke, do you say that you ate ice cream? Or do you say that you had a pistachio cone with colored sprinkles on it? Like, what are you going to remember more? And so it’s not just the senses and emotions, it’s when you’re working in some specific things, because it’s that specificity that lets you see it in your brain. It let you visualize what’s being said.

Sarah Noll Wilson
It’s – I’ve never thought about that. My improv days, specificity was, like, queen. You know, the more specific – but I was sitting here listening to you, going, I should probably take these lessons that I’ve known from my other life. But that specificity of, you know, it isn’t just, Oh, you know, to say like, oh, yeah, I get into – I don’t know, I’m thinking about a recent story that that I shared was, you know, talking about the book illustrations, for example, and it’s like, Oh, yeah, and then we had to renegotiate, it isn’t wasn’t as dynamic as, like, then we ended up with 83 illustrations, and we had negotiated a price per illustration or whatever, but that – the, from a comedy perspective, you know, there’s a couple of things. There’s truth in comedy, and then it is the, like, the more specific, it’s almost like the more humorous. But you’re absolutely right. So I’m just having a moment of, right, I know that, and I haven’t thought about that specificity in my own work, necessarily. So I appreciate that.

Karen Eber
And what you did is a perfect example. So a couple easy ones people can implement right away. Whether you’re telling a story or not, start to work on specific details. Use a prime or an odd number like that, that’s going to be more memorable than if you’re just like, 50. 83? Like, that’s great. So use numbers that stands out. If you’re using colors, don’t just say yellow, don’t just say – Like, be vivid, be descriptive in what they are. You know, if it’s raining, don’t tell me it’s raining. Tell me the sound the rain makes or the smell of it. So lean into specific details because they are memorable. I once was being asked to work on a project that I did not want to work on. It was a bad situation. And I said to my boss, I would rather braid my eyelashes. And the point was made. I did not have to do that project. And it was like, Oh, okay, well, thank you. So specificity can go a long way.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Braid my eyelashes –

Karen Eber
Right? Someone somewhere can, I’m sure. I cannot, but specificity, easily, are our little things. And you know your example where you were real time talking about something and didn’t have a chance to plan, that happens. We often cut corners and we say like, eventually, or we use words that cheat the listener of stuff. And so instead of – instead of, at the end of the day, tell me in a sentence what happened, and tell me the specific things. So what I always encourage people to do, the process of storytelling, is you get clear on the audience, you figure out an idea that you want to build. You first do the framework of a great story, the four sentences, and then you go through and you start to add details and engage senses and emotions. And then you can test it to see if you have the right level, you don’t try to do it all at once, you just start going step by step by step, because you can then start to see it instead of looking at a blank sheet of paper and trying to do all of that in one pass.

Sarah Noll Wilson
You said that all very quickly. So can we go back to that and slow it down a second? Because there was so much great – So, get really clear on your audience. What was the second step?

Karen Eber
From there, you want to pick an idea. And we didn’t really talk about where you get ideas. They are everywhere, it can be your personal experience or professional experience. It could be something that you love from a podcast. It could be, like, any – anything can become a story. But you want to take an idea. And then you want to put it through the – what makes a great story, which is the four things I mentioned. You want to write a sentence for each, which is, What is the context of – what is the setting of the story? And why should the audience care? You want to write a sentence for, What is the conflict of the story? You want to write a sentence for the outcome. And you want to write a sentence for the takeaway. And the reason for those four sentences is that builds this skeleton. And then you get to expand that and add in specific details and plot points around it. And you can start to engage emotion and start adding specificity until you get to your story.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I love that. I – Yeah, that’s so incredibly valuable. I’m going to start using elements of that on some presentations I’m working on even. I – one of the things that – to just reiterate that point of, you’re not going to do this all at once. And one of the things that – and I don’t know, I don’t know if you’ve hit this at your point in working on your book, but one of the things my publishing director told me was, you’re gonna hate what you wrote at some point. Like, at some point, you may just be like, this just isn’t good enough. And at that point, from like an authorship perspective, or people who are writing, a lot of people will quit, instead of realizing, well, no, this is the moment when I get to make it better. And so I think about that in application to stories, that it could be easy to be like, well, that’s not a good enough story, instead of, let’s just – let’s sort of trust the process. And if you get through the process, and it still doesn’t feel strong enough, then that – then maybe that’s not the strongest story you can can choose. But I know that, you know, sometimes in our – we have such a – especially in corporate culture, we have this, you know, real high culture of perfectionism, and of, the sense of urgency that we often don’t take the time to iterate, and to reflect, and to realize that, Hey, if I think about this on Monday, and I sort of set it aside, my unconscious is going to be chewing on it. And then by the time I pick it up on Thursday, I’m going to have this clarity. So I really appreciate this structure that people could follow. And it’s not that you need to figure it all out in once, and that there might be moments where you go, Oh, I don’t know if it’s good enough, but don’t stop there. Continue to work through it. Or what would you add, or –

Karen Eber
That you – exactly that, you can’t create an edit at the same time. And you need to let your story breathe to the best of your ability. And that said, I know sometimes this happens five minutes as you’re walking down the hall to a meeting or walking to your laptop to get into zoom. But the best thing is, you know, at least give yourself a day. Because then you can come back and see what you don’t see in the moment. The last line of my TED talk was intentionally, Don’t wait for the perfect story, take your stories and make them perfect. Because you can work the process and make a great story. What is going to work for you. But that space is super helpful, and what you said which I love is, our brain hates incomplete things. So if you’re working on something and you stop, and then you walk away, your brain is still working on it. You’re gonna come back with new insights. And so anytime I’m writing stuff, I have four or five things in draft form, because I’m just trying to keep the creation and the editing different.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, that – what a gift that is. And, you know, just that idea of, like, you can’t create an edit at the same time, I definitely fall into that trap far too often. We, you know, we are talking about this through the work perspective, but I, you know, what I also hope is that people can think about, you know, what role can stories play in deepening the personal relationships. For parents who are listening to this show, how might you approach, you know, stories to connect and share information with with your children, and – or getting their stories out – and you said this at the beginning, and I think that this is such, it’s such an important point, and one that I was just speaking to in this group yesterday, is we all have value to offer. And while our experiences or point of views or values or stories may not be for everyone, like, somebody needs to hear your perspective on it. Because sometimes, you know, I’ll hear that from fellow colleagues, I – you maybe have even thought it in your process of working on your book of storytelling, like, well, there’s so many books on storytelling, what’s my angle? And it’s going to be really unique, because you’re unique, and that there is somebody in the audience, there’s a client waiting, there’s a person in your life, who may need to hear your perspective, your story on a topic in the way that you talk about it and share it. And just to remember that, yeah, even though there’s 100 other people talking about the same thing you’re talking about, or you have competitors in the workplace who are, you know, maybe selling the same kind of products or doing the same kind of things, is that somebody needs to hear it the way you’re going to share it.

Karen Eber
Yeah, two things I think on that point of – Part of figuring out your audience is figuring out who your okay disappointing. Your story isn’t gonna resonate with every person. Yeah. And so getting really clear. And this is not just for storytelling, it’s for life. Because whenever I’m about to do something, I’m like, Who am I okay disappointing. The person on Twitter who’s coming at me today, I’m like, I’m okay if you’re disappointed, like, that’s fine. Because your story won’t be for everyone. And an illustration of that, I was working with someone who felt very vulnerable. The whole thing we’ve been describing, if I’m about to go up and tell this story, and this feels very uncomfortable. We’re in a room of about 200 people. And I said, William, if I came to your home for dinner, what would you make? And he’s British, and he said, I would make fish and chips. I’m like, fabulous. If you invited everyone in this room to your home for dinner, how many do you think would love fish and chips? And he’s like, I don’t know, maybe 80%? I said, why? Well, some are vegetarian. Some might not like this. It might be too salty. Not salty enough. I said, Okay. Would you be crushed? He said, No, because that’s not their thing. They don’t like – I’m like, exactly. It is the same exact thing. It feels more personal, because it is us. It is our words, our own being. But no one’s gonna love the fish and chips. Like not everyone’s gonna love that. And that’s okay. And that’s the thing, instead of focusing on Who am I going to disappoint, or Who’s not going to like this, or – Focus on who will. Be okay with who you’re going to disappoint.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Oh, love that. What a beautiful way to to wrap up our time. What have we not explored or talked about that you were hoping we would have? What – Like, any final thoughts before –

Karen Eber
We talked about a lot.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, we did. But I just want to do a quick check. I do want to give a moment to talk about your upcoming book here in a second.

Karen Eber
I just want to encourage people to tell stories. It does not have to be this really hard thing. There’s a way to methodically work through and start to tell a story. And no, not every story won’t be perfect or amazing. I still tell stories that whiff, and I feel it, and I learned, and I think, What can I do better next time? And that’s okay, the goal is just start sharing them, because that’s when you see the response. And that’s where the richness comes.

Sarah Noll Wilson
I love it. Let me ask you our final question. And then I want to talk about how people can connect with you and the projects that you’re working on. So the question we ask everyone, and we also invite our audience to think about at the same time, is what is the conversation you’ve had either with yourself or with someone else that was transformative, that transformed you?

Karen Eber
It began on February 16, 2020. That was when I started to reach out to you on Twitter. And so this was a month before the pandemic, it was also six days before my TED talk. And I had noticed you, and we have this exchange. And I mentioned I slid into your DMs. And we never met, other than what you see tweeted. And you were really curious and warm. And that made me want to continue the conversation and expand and share. And it’s grown into this beautiful friendship where I learn from you. And I’m just always thinking, how can I be more curious? And how can I embrace what Sarah role models. But more than that, it made me also, then, do that with other people. That’s not – I’m pretty introverted. And so having to reach out to people like that, that I don’t know, is not something that I would typically do. And it was right at the time when the pandemic was happening. And so that completely changed all of these new relationships that I formed and people that I met. And so once a month, I, like, notice who I’m interacting with online. And I slide into their DMs and I say, let’s have a conversation, all because of what you gave back and what you created. Because I think that people respond to your authenticity, and your vulnerability, and your warmth. And so just know you’ve created a tidal wave.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Thank you. I’m trying to, like, sit with that and accept it. And you know, and also, I’m so grateful. And I think this is what’s such an amazing part of where we’re at in this world today is this opportunity to connect with people we might not have ever connected with. And if you’re willing to see that other person not just as a tweet, but as a person. And I still, I mean, I still need to, I still want to get t-shirts – awkward duet t-shirts made.

Karen Eber
What people don’t know is that we text each other random videos of playing piccolos and accordions, in closets, and all sorts of stuff.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Right!

If anybody wants a video, let me know. I’ll send you –

She’s like, I’m in the closet right now. Because it’s the quietest place. And it always makes me so happy to, like, get these messages. Well, and something that I, you know, just to, so people can understand. They’ve clearly, if this is the first time they’re meeting you, there’s no doubt about your expertise and your wisdom. And there’s no doubt about your desire and passion. But I want to – like, I just want to take a moment and anchor it further. As I’ve been through this journey, the last couple of months, you know, you have been such an emotional – almost like emotional support of checking in and, how are you feeling? And how are you navigating the high waves of, right, the book launch? And other things that are happening, and – and there is, you know, what’s so amazing, and what’s so special is that – we were talking about this before we hopped on – This is, like, only the third or fourth time we’ve actually been in physical conversation with each other over the last two years, but we’ve had so many, you know, asynchronistic, you know, interactions. Whether it’s texting or sending the videos, and and we’ve been able to build this incredibly, you know, powerful and rich relationship. I mean, I consider you a dear friend. And it’s interesting to go, And we haven’t even physically seen each other. And it’s not like we’re talking to each other all the time. It’s, you know, and part of that is this willingness to show up and see each other for our full human self, and to support and cheer each other on. And, you know, and no small part of that is in the stories that we’ve shared, but also the stories we’ve created together. And so thank you for that, Karen.

Karen Eber
Well, thank you. It’s such a treat.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Okay, people who want to connect with you, people who want to learn from you, people – What’s the best way for people to connect with you? And what’s the best way for them to learn from you?

Karen Eber
Really, my website is probably your one stop shop. So, Karen Eber dot com. The brain food section are all these different blogs that touch on some of the things that we’ve talked about. And soon there will be a book page up there with information on that, when it is coming out in 2023, and how you can see a physical version of some of the things we’ve spent time talking about today.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Yeah, I cannot wait. I can’t wait to have it. I can’t wait to have you sign it, can’t wait to give it to people. I can’t wait – all of this. I will say, just as a personal acknowledgement, I mean, obviously I have you on the show, but do sign up for her newsletter. It really is one of the few newsletters that I read. And if I can’t get to it that week, I save it and I go back out and I read it. So please, you know, please, please, please, please check that out. Because there’s so much great insight. Karen Eber, thank you so much for saying yes to this conversation and joining us today.

Karen Eber
It was my honor. Thank you for having me.

Sarah Noll Wilson
Thank you for listening to this week’s episode of Conversations on Conversations, where I thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to connect with and learn from our guest Karen Eber, as we explored this topic of storytelling. A few things that I’m going to hold on to from this conversation that I starred in my notebook. The first was that idea that every story is personal, but not every story is private, was really powerful. And you know, at the end, we started talking about, Who am I okay to disappoint? This is something I’ve thought about when related to time management, but I hadn’t thought about it through that context, so that’s a gift. And then finally, that idea of the specificity. It’s something that I’ve known as a comedian and as a improvisation, but to look at it through the lens of, how do I do that to make even just my content and messaging more more specific and memorable? We want to continue to extend this conversation beyond the show. So if something resonated for you, if something sparked a curiosity or maybe even you just have a different perspective, we really do want to hear from you. So share them with us at podcast at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com, or you can shoot me a message through social media. And if you want to support this podcast further, please consider becoming a Patreon by visiting us on Patreon dot com backslash Conversations on Conversations, where not only your financial support will sustain this podcast and our amazing team that makes it possible, but you’ll also get access to some pretty great benefits and swag like Patreon only content and events. Also, if you haven’t, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show. You can do so on iTunes, Spotify and other podcast platforms. This helps us get the word out, and to be able to continue bringing on amazing, amazing guests like Karen. And if you’re interested in, for yourself or your own work with your team, to have conversations that matter, check us out at Sarah Noll Wilson dot com, and we would love to have a conversation with you. A thank you to our incredible team who makes this podcast possible. To our producer Nick Wilson, to Drew Noll for audio design. Olivia Reinert for transcription help, and Kaitlyn Summitt-Nelson for marketing. And just a big, final, heartfelt, full of love, thank you to Karen Eber for being an incredible guest and bringing such depth of insight and wisdom to help us all have better stories. Now, a final reminder that when we can change the conversations we have with ourselves and others, we can change the world. So thank you all so much for joining us. Please make sure that you rest and rehydrate, and we will see you again soon. Bye.

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