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The Most Important Thing I'll Say Today

I have the opportunity to interact with people all throughout the day. That probably doesn't make me all that unique. I bet you have the same opportunities as me. Because I live in a very virtual world, most of my meetings are by phone, Skype or WebEx.

One of the big questions is, "how will I use today's God-given opportunities?"

I have been fascinated by the way story works in our lives. We have begun to host a variety of Story Seminars. In an ongoing effort to learn more, I have tried to read the titles that were recommended to me by people whom I respect. Several of these have related to businesses and their story. In the end, this is what we also call your brand. 

The theme and I have picked up in these books…difference, Story Wars, The Leaders Guide to Storytelling…is that it is important for those with a product to first understand the people they wish to engage. At the end of the day, we all have things we desire from others. Love, affection, respect, admiration, time, business, commitment, generosity, etc,

In the non-profit world the model is a bit different. People give time, talent and treasure to an organization so that they might serve others with fewer resources. In the for-profit world, you pay for your product or service.

In all of these things, those who have the most success are the ones who have a distinct attitude. They think first about the other, and then about themselves. This is closely related to Covey's first "habit of highly effective people" to understand before you seek to be understood. And this leads to the most important thing I say in a given day.

I try to say it whenever I'm with someone. I say it becauseI really mean it. I want to learn about the person God brings to me. At some level I have been deeply influenced by the Great Commandment. The most important thing I say each day is…

"Tell me something about you."


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Comment by Clyde Taber on August 19, 2015 at 8:17pm

Bryan, Wow! That's a bit deeper than I was thinking but I love your thought.

I am the guy will say, "hold on a second, rewind for second what did you mean by…?"

 Sometimes it is a simple question of continuity and sometimes it is a question of deep water.

Comment by Bryan Gough on August 17, 2015 at 9:59am
Great point, Clyde! A friend of mine (who practices psychotherapy/counseling) says he always listen for the "gaps" in people's stories—saying this is where many deeply rooted aspects of their identity lie, sometimes unknown even to themselves.
Similar to a Seinfeld episode where the uglier (and most telling) parts of a story/experience is covered with a "yadda, yadda, yadda." If we want to know and understand people, we need to hear their stories—and we need to listen for and explore the gaps. In comics, the gutter (space between panels) is where the reader is involved in connecting one panel to the next, by filling in the gaps with some relevant context. Gaps are important to understand.
"I grew up in a very conservative family. My father was very strict. When I was 10 my parents got divorced. {gap} In college, I studied..."

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