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Stories are Powerful: An update from the ATD Conference 2017

Posted by  Mark Schenk —June 2, 2017
Filed in Events, News

Last week I was in Atlanta with two of the Anecdote team (Lucy and Shelley) at the Association for Talent Development (ATD) international conference and exhibition.

For the first time ever we had a booth at the exhibition. The exhibition was open from Monday to Wednesday and we were inundated with people wanting to know more about how to use the natural power of stories to achieve business results.

We have lots of follow-up to do for the next few weeks – hundreds of interested people and potential new partners in 10 countries.

I was intending to do a few videos during the quiet periods of the exhibition but it turned out there were no quiet periods. Here is a video we did on the second day of the conference, before opening hours:

Video Transcription:

So, good morning everybody. It’s day two of ATD 2017. It’s just before the action starts. The big keynote, Kelly McGonigal, is on right at the moment and in about twenty minutes, here in the expo hall, we’re going to be smashed, people everywhere.

We had a fantastic day yesterday but before I talk about yesterday I just wanna say how amazing, how happy we are with how the booth looks and so a big thank you to Kerenza and Lucy who put it all together.

Yesterday, one thing that we noticed, well, firstly there’s 11,000 people here at the ATD conference. It’s a huge event but we were still very well prepared with how we were going to attract people into the booth.

It turns out we didn’t have to worry about that because we were inundated pretty much the whole day with people wanting to talk to us, learn more about storytelling and I think the simple messaging was one of the key things that people were attracted by—that stories are powerful. That was the opening line that we used for a lot of people and it worked really well.

Some of the other things that people were really interested in yesterday; there was an equal split between interest in storytelling for leaders and storytelling for sales. And this being a training and development conference I was a little surprised that there was a lot of interest in that.

Interestingly, there were a whole bunch of people from China who wanted to licence our products but we already have a distributor, a channel in China. We really noticed that people loved the deliberate practice programme. That was a key part of people’s interest. They recognised that storytelling is behaviour change and you can’t just do that in a workshop so that was really a key message that people loved.

And we are looking forward to another huge day today introducing people to storytelling for leaders. And, just a final thought: the thing that people were most attracted by is the fact that our approach is that stories are powerful; they’re not an end in themselves.

They’re a powerful tool to achieve business results and when we explained that was our approach (and it wasn’t about storytelling. It wasn’t about performance. It wasn’t about entertainment) people really bought into that and were really engaged and then they were asking, ‘so, what business results?’ –so, a great lead into a conversation.

So, signing off. This is the start of day two of ATD 2017. We’ll do another update tomorrow morning. We’re looking forward to another huge day. And we’ll see you tomorrow.

Well defined processes to make your strategy stick, training programs to build your story skills and a process to ensure stories are shared regularly. Learn how Anecdote can help your business

Mark Schenk About  Mark Schenk

Mark works globally with senior leadership teams to improve their ability to communicate clearly and memorably. He has been a Director of Anecdote since 2004 and helped the company grow into one of the world’s leading business storytelling consultancies. Connect with Mark on:

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