049 – Second best thing to having the actual experience

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —November 7, 2019
Filed in Business storytelling, Podcast

Mike Adams recounts an event that he’s never forgotten, despite not being there. When you can’t experience something first-hand, stories are the best way to learn. 

049 red helicopter

Shawn is still away so, this week, Mike Adams joins the podcast. Mike is the head of our Story-Powered Sales program. He is also the author of Seven Stories Every Salesperson Must Tell

Mike shares a story about an event that he has never forgotten, despite not being there. It illustrates how stories are the second best thing to experience. 

The podcast Mark and Mike discuss in this episode is Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History.

For your storybank

Tags: aircraft, communication, memories, safety, storytelling

In the late 1980s, Mike was working as an engineer on oil rigs in China. His employers had a ‘work anytime, work anywhere’ policy, and soon transferred him to Australia. He would be based in Darwin and work in the Timor Sea for a few months. 

When Mike arrived in Darwin, another engineer from his company met him at the airport. He was there to escort him to a heliport, from which he would be taken out to sea. 

The engineer had two black eyes. 

“How did you get those?” Asked Mike. 

“Two weeks ago, I was headed out to the Timor Sea, just like we are, and I was in a helicopter crash…” 

The helicopter was flying at 3,500ft when its engine stopped. There were 15 people on board, including two helicopter safety specialists. 

The specialists gave the group a training lesson and told them what they could expect as the helicopter descended. 

“As soon as we hit the water, dive down towards the exit. We’ll help you get out and grab the life rafts.

“Before we hit the water, take off your headsets. Wrap them up and put them beside you.

“At our last accident, two people drowned after getting caught in the cables. They weren’t able to get out.”

When the helicopter crashed, all 15 people got out. The engineer was the last to exit and got kicked in the face by the person before him. 

The life rafts didn’t inflate, but the United States and Australian airforces were conducting an exercise nearby. They winched the group out of the ocean within an hour. 

Besides some chemical burning from the helicopter’s fuel, and the engineer’s two black eyes, the group escaped uninjured. 

Podcast transcript coming soon!

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:

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