International Working Out Loud Week #WOLWEEK has started and I would like to contribute to this worldwide movement by sharing innovative ways (“Hacks”) to deepen relationships and create a legacy with professional story telling. This list is not complete, it`s not a theory- just a collection of helpful recommendations from my experiences over the last weeks.

Listen. Without instantly looking for a time slot to tell your stories.
I guess you have already experienced this phenomena in conversations: You can observe it in nonverbal signals that your conversation partner is just trying to find perfect timing to tell his or her thoughts, stories and pitches which sometimes have nothing to do with your main message and what is really important for you. One of the most important communication skill to deepen relationships is very easy and incredible difficult: just listen and be fully present in the dialogue. Don`t think about your perfect answer and when to add it which decreases your concentration. It is indeed difficult in business conversations where great answers are expected. But we usually answer to quickly and it makes more sense to paraphrase and make sure that we really understood it. 101 of active listening.

Be interested in what your relationships are currently working on

When using Working Out Loud Methods we are mostly focused on reaching our goals and achieve more, in a different and new ways. I spend a lot of time with Social Media Channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to find out what drives people which can help more to reach my goals. What can I do if I am not connected on Facebook or they are not using Twitter or Instagram Stories? On a daily basis I use Linkedin Sales Navigator to find out more about professional relationships which I want to deepen. Small talk about weather is over. I can start a meeting, call or email on a different level.

Use Machine Learning to re-connect      

For the last year I have been using Machine Learning Approaches to re-connect my colleages and contacts.

Office 365 MyAnalytics is part of the well-known Collaboration Suite and is going to tell you (if enabled) that you haven`t contacted a colleague by eMail or Meeting in the last weeks and it knows that you worked closely together in the past. I have used this innovative approach of engaging in the past and results are significant for deepen relationship. Please keep in mind that people are not always pleased if you only reach out to them when you want something from them. Focus on helping them, so that they achieve more and solve things and situations.

Create a Legacy by Professional Story Telling

I spent time over the last days to think about how to create and increase a legacy – after leaving a company, organization or physical presence. About which kind of things should people talk about me when I am dead? What are the leading themes at my funeral? As you can see, it`s all about stories. Please correct me when I am wrong but I assume that we can`t create legacies without story telling.

The next helpful infographic from Talkabout / Mirko Lange covers a Story Circle and emphasizes that it`s not the IT collaboration platform or Social Network that matters. What matters is the story and message. Tools like Content.ly help to migrate content and files from one Solution (like OneDrive for Business, SharePoint, Box, Dropbox, GoogleDrive to another). Highly valuable content like WhitePapers, Best Practise Sharing shouldn’t be stucked in one system. Your legacy lives longer than a predefined Cloud or en Premises Document Storage.

  • In the core you find the customer journey, Personas, objectives and the lead ideas
  • These ideas are packaged into stories for products, support, services, guidance etc
  • Stories are used by Protagonists like customers, employers, influencers, Management, SMEs, Celebs
  • Stories are published into different formats like blogs, surveys, whitepaper, studies, reports, status updates, chats, videos, photos, VR/AR animations, webinar, interviews, crowdsourcing etc
  • Now the formats need to get into the right channels like Barcamps, Facebook, Instagram, Inside Sales, press conference, collaterals, YouTube Live Streaming, Ads and much more
  • On the relationship and contact level it is important to see that we have differences in engagement styles: Push vs Pull vs Meet vs Match.

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Please let me know if you find this useful to choose your right strategy to deepen relationships and create a legacy. The way you use the Story Circle can be different in each context, culture, project or situation. Hopefully it helps you to reach your goals quicker and more efficient and improves long term relationships!

Ragnar Heil (MVP Office 365, Microsoft Alliance Manager EMEA at Metalogix)