This is Episode #146 of Connect the Dots.
I collaborated with Theresa Francomacaro Business Storyteller and Executive Coach. Listen to our conversation about building rapport, leveraging stories to develop relationships and so much more.
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Connect the Dots Podcast hosted by Vicki O'Neill
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Episode #146 - Part 1 in a 5-Part Series with Theresa Francomacaro
Vicki O'Neill collaborates with Theresa Francomacaro in this episode of Connect the Dots. Theresa is a Seattle, Washington-based Business Storyteller and Executive Coach. In this episode our conversation focuses on connecting with people and building rapport in business, how it helps when life throws you a curveball and having a close network of people in your inner circle is a 'must' in personal and professional development before, during and after the ups and downs of entrepreneurship and as business owners.
If you prefer watching the interview, you can view the video here:
How we met online but never met in person. How crazy things have been for us over the past 2 years and connecting on LinkedIn, became friends and collaborated on projects.
Rapport Opens the Doors – it’s all about relationships. It’s the know, like and trust before they connect and buy.
Times where been down the rabbit hole as a female, entrepreneur and operating the family contracting business while raising two kids during a world crisis.
Life throws us curve balls.
Person in a hole is one of the 6 story arcs. That’s what this one is. As you bring yourself back up you realize you need people. That’s how you connect with people through story. The story is the differentiator.
We get stuck in a mindset where we need to present ourselves online as successful. But being fragile and being real and authentic it resonates better with our audience.
Theresa had to do a 180 pivot that she's calling "The Big Pivot". You either have to Pivot or Parish, right? When her world came to a screeching halt due to Covid, she was heavily invested in traveling, instructor-led training, executive coaching, 1:1 networking at events and on panel discussions.
She had to get tight with her inner circle because it was all about survival. People in survival mode are in fear.
Fear can be a powerful motivator. It can also take us in directions that aren’t authentic because we’re reactive.
We had to sit in the present moment and had to think through what to do. Tightening project pipeline, how to survive with certain support as an S Corp.
For Why Story Works she had to do a lot of pro bono work to get her business up and running online in order to boost the website and her brand. It was hard to switch to that model which is less revenue generating. It was a lot of psychological impact. A year and a half in she's asking herself if this business is even viable.
That’s where relationships are important and collaborating with others. Theresa was in a similar situation as a collaborator she met online, Ingrid, whom she connected with based on their stories and where they were at that time.
You have to figure out what your point of view is going to be. Everyone has a story.
Everyone has experienced loss, fear, anxiety, change. What we're in isn't a new normal – it’s just NEW.
Today is a new opportunity to reinvent, thaw and re-emerge to come out of our chrysalis. The story we get to tell is one of our own invention. And that’s what’s so exciting.
Know what your secret sauce is and what makes your story unique to you.
Theresa shares a story about her mom passing away and wanting to capture milestone moments with her, her aunt and uncle while she was on the East Coast traveling to be with her mom to help you close her final chapter.
There’s so much value in people’s stories. We are biologically hard wired for connection and story.
The 3 golden rules for being an effective communicator and storyteller: Be Real. Be Relevant. Be Brief.
You have to think of your audience. What do they need to hear.
What story do you have that you can share that helped you get beyond a challenge? The first thing is to acknowledge where you are. The second thing is to get out of your head. You have to know who you are and be willing to go out on a limb and be a little vulnerable.
You don’t want to miss milestone moments. When you truly pay attention, you’re real, in the moment authentically, and you’re thinking about the audience, not about yourself…it’s magic.
As you were spending time with your mom, did you put Why Story Works on hold or continue working to keep your brand in front of your target audience? She put WSW on the back burner. Those moments that mattered the most are stories she is now able to share. She calls those ‘Pocket Moments’. You slide the door open for a moment then slide it closed it's over. While the door is open we capture the story.
As entrepreneurs and small business owners we have to make decisions about milestone moments in our business whether we need to be present.
Getting back to creating content and posting blogs. She’s not going to post just to post because it’s not authentic and not true to her brand.
We all have people in our world that are experiencing things we don’t know about. People didn’t know she was spending time with her mom when she passed.
As individuals we need to pay attention to what others are really saying, why they have gone 'dark' on social (what’s really going on?). It’s important to understand why and what stopped that trajectory. How can we reignite it and flip the script to start a new story?
Let’s start with our current state to know where our desired state is and what can we leverage from our current state to get us there. That’s the connection. Rapport and people building. Those connections are invaluable.
If all your relationships are transactional, you might get that sale right now but down the stream you’ll lose that relationship.
You remember people based on who they are not just what they do. So when it’s time to need that person for business, they will be top of mind. You don’t need everyone to love you. You just need a few avid fans.
As an entrepreneur it’s important to be nimble. You can’t be an ocean liner (like the big corporations) but you can be more like a speed boat where you can change directions quickly while navigating smooth or troubled waters.
Advice: find people who do what you don’t do, who share your vision and get them in your inner circle.
There’s an intersection between storytelling and sales, and storytelling and marketing. But she knows she's not doing marketing well (nor should she be expected to as a storyteller). We need to lean into people who have the strengths we don’t have. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.
You have to begin where you are.
Action creates momentum. And momentum creates action.
Dreams without tactics become nightmares.
5 main neurological responses: FLLEA (fear love longing empathy action) which Theresa reviews at a deeper level in a future episode.
Two events in October Theresa is preparing for (both are in-person in the Seattle, Washington area)
Learnapalooza – in-person event in Seattle, Washington area
Innovation Incubator – only 12 seats available
If your brand is being authentic, what’s a really authentic moment that happened that shows vulnerable.
As a business leader maybe you talk about a time when you tried to launch a course, for example, and it fails miserably.
Fail is part of the innovation incubation of learning and launching something.
Rapport Opens The Door. So, what’s your story?
How to Contact and Work With Theresa:
First Podcast Appearance Ep #91
Story Starts and Business B.S.
Download to access 50 key questions to help clarify and craft your story plus 50 catchy and memorable Business 'Bumper Stickers'
Complimentary 20-minute coaching session
Schedule your 1:1 and be sure to mention you saw this opportunity on Connect the Dots!
All episodes including the HIGHLIGHT episodes can be accessed by clicking the image to the left or below which was used for episodes 1-100.
After episode 100 I needed to take time away from creating content for the podcast. When I resumed, I played 'catch up' in Q4 2021 by repurposing popular YouTube videos as podcast episodes.
In January 2022, I simplified and structured my content creation so that my weekly video was my starting point for video, podcast and blog. It's SO much easier now with this process in place. This is part of what I coach established, savvy entrepreneurs and business owners on which saves them time, eases anxiety associated with 'what should I post today?' and actually creates MORE time in their schedules to focus on the things they love. You want to do the same in your business?