What was the last story that connected you with a stranger?
How do you know you connected?
I love the meaning that Donna Pisacano Brown gave to connection. She wrote,

Human connection is an energy exchange between people who are paying attention to each other.
And when they do they are able to deepen connection, inspire change, move each other to action and build trust.

And this was proven at a BBQ at my friend and LinkedIn Expert, Viveka Von Rosen’s place last night.
I met Viveka in person through the Women Sales Pros community a few years ago and like everyone else, fell in love with her style and personality.
The woman on the left of me in the header image is Kate Paine, a friend of Viveka’s and personal branding consultant. We had only ever met on social, yet never in person.
The woman on my right, Ava Diamond, is a leadership expert I had heard so much about. I was not connected to her on social, nor have we ever met in person.
So last night began with a room filled with friendly strangers.
Once those initial introductions were done – BAM!
A story was told that relaxed us, humoured us and yes, we began to connect and form trust.

And this is exactly the result we want to achieve with our buyer.

This newsletter is about understanding what actually happens behind the scenes, so to speak, when we connect with someone for the first time.
How, through our core premise or value frame, we can truly differentiate ourselves by using a story based approach.
In future publications, we’ll get practical and break those concepts down.
But for now, there is one key principle I’d like to share around the power of effective connection.

Understanding a powerful tool of trade – our brain.

Bernadette StorySeller Speaker
In 2017 I visited the Amen Clinic in Orange County where I had my brain scanned. That process involved undergoing an extensive and comprehensive written assessment and two SPECT scans over a two day period.
A SPECT scan is a ‘nuclear medicine procedure and includes an injection of a small amount of a radioisotope through a small needle into a vein in the arm.
The IV is only inserted for about 10 minutes and that is repeated the following day’. Each scan follows exercises in a resting state and a concentration state so that changes in brain blood flow patterns can be seen and compared.
Why did I do this?
a) To see if I had a brain – which I do 🧠
b) To also see the blood flow and activity patterns of my brain and how it connects with itself and with other people.
Bernadette StorySelling Speaker
It showed how parts of my brain lit up and were supposed to light up – the parts that work well; it showed parts that lit up that perhaps weren’t supposed to – areas that work too hard; and it also showed parts that didn’t light up as much as they were supposed to – areas that don’t work hard enough.
All the while oscillating between survival and connection and how I could improve my outcomes by improving my brain function. Amazing!
When we are with a group of strangers, parts of our brain will light up based on survival.

Do I trust you?

The same happens with our buyer when we meet for the first time. And truth be told, it probably happened last night for that initial split second, too.
Stories, however, trigger neurochemicals in the brain that force us to pay attention to whoever is telling a story… It’s so much more than simple rapport building.
As social creatures we don’t just crave stories – we actually need them for survival. Stories release a chemical called ‘oxytocin’ – the bonding drug and BAM!
We connect whether we are aware or not…. (or we don’t connect at all!)
So imagine for a moment you and a group of your friends are all hooked up to a MRI machine and it’s measuring your brainwaves.
Logic would tell you that nobody in the room would have the same brave wave movement. Everyone’s would be different because everyone has so many different thoughts, beliefs, preconceptions and ideas moving through their brain.
Bernadette McClelland StorySelling Keynote Speaker

Now imagine one of your friends begins to tell a story (or suggests an outlandish pose for the camera!)
What happens?
Every person’s brain waves begin to fall into sync. Meaning that the blood flow in every persons brain starts going to exactly the same regions of the brain, at the same time, PLUS in an identical pattern to the story teller.
That is exactly what we want to have happen with our buyer – for both of us to fall into sync with each other when we first meet.

Stories do that…

And they don’t have to be war and peace stories – they can be vignettes or sound bites or mini-conversations.
As for me telling you the real story that connected total strangers last night?
Well, as the saying goes ‘what goes on at Viveka’s stays at Viveka’s’ 😇

Stay Bold, Brave and Brilliant! 

Keynote Speaker - Bernadette McClelland - Sales Leadership and StorySelling Speaker Selling in the Connection Economy. A 5-step sales philosophy for franchises, associations and corporates


EVENT ORGANISERS (Video below) – As a speaker, my programs help CEOs of future-focussed sales organisations, who are concerned as to how to help their sales teams stand out more in a heavily competitive environment, gain the lead by securing more profitable and purposeful sales.

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