Better Stories, Better Business: Insights from IBM’s Jeremy Connell-Waite

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How do you build better stories to inspire action in your audience? IBM Global Communications Designer Jeremy Connell-Waite made it his mission to teach just that. 

Join storytelling architect Jeremy as he chats with Aspire to Inspire cohost and The Narrative Age author Frank Wolf to dissect all things storytelling, from creating impactful stories to measuring their outcome for meeting business goals to integrating AI into communications workflows. 

Jeremy and Frank take a deep dive into storytelling to offer a wealth of tips, resources, and actionable insights for professionals seeking to be more effective storytellers and communicators. 


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About Staffbase:

Staffbase is the fastest-growing employee communications cloud, equipping many of the world’s leading companies with solutions to inspire every employee with motivating communication. With almost 3,000 customers, Staffbase helps organizations such as Adidas, Alaska Airlines, Audi, Blue Apron, DHL, and Whataburger to inspire their people to achieve great things together. Staffbase connects companies with their employees through a branded employee app, intranet, email, SMS, digital signage, and Microsoft 365 integrations, all of which can be managed through a single platform. In 2023, Staffbase was named a leader in the 2023 Gartner® Magic Quadrant™ for Intranet Packaged Solutions. Staffbase has also received the 2024 Choice Award for Intranet and Employee Experience Platforms from ClearBox.

Headquartered in Chemnitz, Germany, Staffbase has offices worldwide, including New York City, London, Berlin, Sydney, and Vancouver. Please visit for more information.


Frank Wolf: Welcome to another episode of the Aspire to Inspire podcast. I’m Frank Wolf, and I’m happy to have a great guest here today. It’s Jeremy from IBM. And, Jeremy, before I ask you to introduce yourself and a bit of your background, what you’re doing at IBM, I want to leave our listeners with one hook about this conversation.

So we’re going to talk about three topics. And I think each of those topics would alone make a great podcast. But we have three of them. So we talk about storytelling. We’re going to talk about measurement, the data and how this connects to storytelling. And we’re going to talk about artificial intelligence and how this connects to storytelling.

I think specifically also somebody who’s been at a large organization and has been working with IBM for quite a long time. And if you know IBM, you know they’ve done a lot about AI specifically, oftentimes when it was not en vogue, as it is now the last couple of years. So welcome, Jeremy. It would be cool to learn a bit more about you, your role, and your role description. Let’s start with where you are located today?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Thanks, Frank. Great to see you. I’m in very sunny Bristol, which is in the southwest of England, which makes a change because it’s not normally sunny. It’s normally very wet. I’m from Manchester originally; big Man United fan. So shout out to any big football folks. And, we’re used to the wet in the north of England, so I’ve moved southwest. I’ve been in London for about 15 years and my job’s been based in America for the last number of years. So I do a lot of remote work as well. But, yeah. Thanks for having me on the show. Communications designer IBM, I have the fortune of working with many hundreds of thousands of folks at IBM across AI and storytelling.

A little bit of my job is speechwriting, some of it storytelling. Some of it looks like performance and executive coaching. But I work with a team of AI assistants as well every day, which is incredibly exciting at the moment. So I’m sure we’ll get into all of that definitely.

Frank Wolf: Before we do this, I remember you talked about your role and where you are reporting to, and maybe we spend a bit of time there. Like, you’re not in communications, right? You’re not in marketing. You’re not in HR.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: It’s a good point. And also it’s when you’re looking at career trajectories. A lot of the folks listening to this pod as well, you know, maybe thinking of where can I have the biggest impact, where should I live? And you’ve got all the traditional routes that you would normally take, right? You’ve maybe got internal or external comms, you might have PR, some folks might even be in HR. You might have a learning and knowledge or some sort of training function, and marketing. You know, I’ve been in marketing a long time. I came from Adobe Salesforce, used to help to value audiences at Facebook many years ago. So I’ve kind of been in that marketing realm for a while. But one of the big changes I made in my career, which I’m thinking I need to try and remember now, I think it was the end of 2018, I moved into consulting, right into the heart of the business where the client conversations are, where the big technology deals are, where the transformation projects are happening, working directly with clients and with client teams.

And I did that for a number of reasons, because I started to see that communications didn’t have the respect it deserved. Just like marketing. I mean, in many ways, marketing still doesn’t, you know, CMOs is not on the boards of many companies. A lot of the marketing functions. That’s the first thing that gets cut. You know, it goes to training budgets and communications budgets, but that’s often because it’s positioned in the wrong way. So I just wanted to make sure that if I lived in the middle of consulting, if I can see a direct line of sight to the client, and if I were trying to have a little bit of fun and change the world, if I can put a financial or economic value on those communications, on those stories to a way that a CFO or a CIO, Chief Digital Officer, even going up to, say, an operations or a CEO, if they start to care about storytelling, not just when things are good, you know, we talk about the art and science when things are great and healthy. But even when things are tough, like this is why you now need good storytelling more than ever. That’s why I thought it was important to go to where the money is and to speak that business language.

I think storytelling, like communications, definitely like marketing, it’s got such a bad reputation over the years. And we need to kind of claim back some of that respect and credibility, I think; some of that trust.

Frank Wolf: That’s definitely the goal of the discussion today. To claim back trust and to hear your insights there. Just for understanding, for our listeners, I understand IBM like as the organization, like couple of hundred thousand people, like on one hand, selling like technology and real products, on the other hand, also consulting services. So, large teams of people helping other enterprise, I guess, probably mostly enterprise clients, in complex technology purchases.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Oh, yeah. Absolutely. I mean, just in a nutshell, we’ve got close to 400,000 folks, about 160,000 of them work in consulting. We have a big research division. It’s got about 3000 research scientists. We put about $6 billion a year into research, which is another side of IBM that many people don’t get to see. That’s where a lot of our generative AI sort of came from, it’s where our quantum fleet sits. We got the biggest quantum computers at the moment. I mean, that team, oh my goodness, has had about six Nobel Prize winners come out of that team. It’s insane. So we kind of have a $20 billion consulting business and a $40 billion tech business that has research and various of the things wrapped around it. So, yeah, based in New York, founded in 1911, we’ve been around a little while, you know, 113 year old startup coming up for.

Frank Wolf: And I think IBM has a reputation, at least for me, like we talked before, like I’ve been at Accenture and IBM was a competitor in the market. IBM has a reputation to market for being able to reinvent, going through ups and downs, but being always able also to reinvent itself like we did on the latest technologies. But if you go back to storytelling and now we hear all these brilliant people, Nobel Prize winners, all these awesome tech minded people, and now you are there. You come into the room like saying I’m a storyteller and I’m gonna teach you how to tell a story. What’s the typical thing? And you also said you are coaching executives. What is the typical situation or the typical thing people come to you with and what’s like the top two or three things you can teach them.

We can start with a very easy . . . probably they put it in a PowerPoint deck.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Oh my gosh, this is going to go long isn’t it?

Frank Wolf: Let’s make it very concrete. Like they put it in a PowerPoint deck and like we have this big client engagement. We want it like it’s a big deal. We want it. We want to win this deal. And here’s the PowerPoint. Yeah. Like Jeremy, what can you tell us? Like what’s the . . .

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Well, if they’re talking about PowerPoint, I’ve got a red flag straight away because that’s definitely, you know, there, you know, there’s a root of a problem right there if we’re not talking about story and narrative. But, I mean, look, we have a lot of amazing communicators around the business, but with just the sheer laws of probability, when you have that many people, you’ve got very different levels of storytelling ability. You also have, just looking at left brain and right brain, if we talk oversimplified, we might get into some neuroscience later, you start looking at . . . You know, some people are much more comfortable telling stories than others. We have a very big technical community, you know, going into architecture and software and systems architecture, and they might see themselves as not naturally creative people.

So one of the things I’m usually trying to start from, before we get into any of the systems and the frameworks and the structures to try and help them win and whatever winning looks like for that particular individual. Usually just to try and bring everything back to emotions, for me. If I was to start from the simplest idea, it’s just first of all, get rid of any notion that storytelling is a soft skill, and I’ll usually show them something. Maybe one of the speeches that I’ve drawn. I sometimes post them on LinkedIn, these big one pagers, and I show them how complicated really, really good presentations are and then talk about how storytelling is a hard skill. It’s not a soft skill. And straight away they’re kind of like, okay, now you kind of slightly terrify me a little bit.

Well, we’re already overwhelmed, so what can I do? I’m a technical guy, right? I’m not a creative. I’m not a storyteller. And, well, first of all, we’re all storytellers. The only thing we’ve got to remember is we’ve got to tell stories as fast and as compellingly as possible. And in most cases, our audience is going to be the hero. So if I was to give you one piece of advice and we could look at why this is important in a minute, you’ve got to tell stories that make people feel something. If you want somebody to have an action, which is generally the purpose. We’re not in the entertainment world now, right? We’re in business. So ultimately we want someone to do something, whether it’s work for me, buy my stuff, sign off my patent, you know, do this deal, give me whatever budget, headcount, we need an action.

Great stories make you feel something, and they make you feel something because they have a structure and a shape. But in business, great stories make you feel something so that you do something. What does the audience do? What’s the action? And you need to be able to figure out that action. So generally, to start with, I’m just trying to help people to see, look, you want them to do X, Y, and Z? Great. In order for that to happen, we need to become students of emotion and understand how the most left brain person in the world is going to have some sort of an emotional connection. Could be empathy. There’s lots of ways we can do it in order to have a connection with them that triggers an action. So it’s going to make us feel something, to do something.

And once you reframe emotions like that, you start getting into economics and science and structure. And business leaders love that because they can see it as a means to an end of “how are we going to get to this outcome?” But straight away they’re also saying, oh, you’re not the fluffy storyteller that I’ve heard of. The guy that comes in with his nice PowerPoints and talks about hero’s journeys and Pixar and I’m like, no, we’ve got important stuff to go down. It’s like, how can I help you do your job faster and more effectively? So it is just reframing the language. We’ve got an image problem.

Frank Wolf: Yep, yep, I love your like . . . probably it’s even something you could print on a T-shirt I guess, like, Storytelling Is a Hard Skill. I guess that’s such a strong reframing, specifically for a leadership and tech audience. Right? To tell them like that’s exactly what we do here. Right? But I would love to stay for one moment on the emotion side. And I have, like, also a very specific question that specifically, if you talk about leaders or business, there are good emotions like things where you say hey, that’s the upside and this is what could happen, and here’s the downside. Like you said, there are these negative and these positive emotions. Let’s put it like this. Do you have a particular opinion? Like, I think in sales a lot of people say, take this away language, it’s seven times more powerful, like the fears and the risk, what people have and not so much what, but how you help things to get better. Like, this versus that. Do you have an opinion on that? When to use what or is this . . .

Jeremy Connell-Waite: I do, and fear’s the key one. Like let’s take it a step up. Okay, well why is fear a challenge? We need to remove that. We’ve got this negative mindset. If we look at the data at the moment, a big part of what IBM does in our institute of Business value is we crunch a ton of data around what C-suite feel like.

What’s the mindset of right now? What are the stats that I come across a lot? Four out of five executives feel overwhelmed and underprepared for the challenges that business is going to go through over the next three to five years. So okay. Four out of five are overwhelmed. Anxiety, fear, stress. As a result, they often make big decisions with their gut, sometimes going against the data.

So there’s almost this fear mindset. And I see in business — I’m sure you guys do all the time — you see that these questions of what keeps you up at night, as if it’s like a really good question to ask. Because if you tell me what keeps you up at night, I can come in and solve your problems and I can help you.

It’s totally the wrong way to look at it because it’s a very left brain transactional view. What we want is what gets me out of bed in the morning, what gets me excited. So really, the question that you’re asking is, okay, well, we need to try and convince people to tell better stories, which is going to be alleviating fear.

What we’ve got to understand is what are these two mindsets that we have: up at night / out of bed? Positive / negative. MIT has been doing some studies for years, and really really smart guys in Boston have been making these assumptions that the average Westerner has about 70,000 thoughts a day, right? Seven zero, 70,000. Now, they say about 90 [percent] of those thoughts are the same as yesterday.

Just autopilot, you know? Breathing and walking and doing all the stuff that you do. But when they look at the active thoughts that you have each day at the moment, there was this case that was suggesting 80 percent of our thoughts are negative. Okay. So that makes us kind of tied up with this four out of five business leaders are overwhelmed.

We’ve seen loads of data around that at the moment. We could talk about Edelman’s Trust Barometer all day long. 88 percent of people are scared of losing their job in 2024. Negative mindset. So back to your question about story. The purpose of making someone feel something so that they do something is really a question of how do we pull them from a negative mindset to a positive one, which is why we’ve got to become students of emotion.

So if I was going to boil down my three-hour lecture into the next two minutes, it probably goes something like this: If you Google emotions right now, do an image search. You’ll see a wheel. You’ll see thousands of them, periodic tables. There’ll be loads of different rainbow charts. But if you believe Daniel Goleman, who wrote the book Emotional Intelligence in the late ‘90s, probably the number one book on emotional intelligence, he says there’s only eight emotions, only eight.

So we want to become students of emotions as storytellers so to understand what they are. Five of them are negative: fear, anger, disgust, shame, sadness. Right? So fear, the one you brought, fear, anger, disgust, shame, sadness. Those are the negative emotions. Now the positive emotions that we really want our audiences to feel, are either love and trust or joy and excitement, and we could get into reasons why those are important later on.

But generally, a story is to drive away from one of those five emotions towards one of the two positive emotions, and the only emotion that is capable of doing that is surprise. We talked about it on our prep call, Frank, remember? I think when we get about the nine principles and you make one of them because it was like the storytelling, surprise being that key emotion? When you experience surprise, your emotions intensify by 400 percent. The number one goal of a great storyteller: surprise your audience. Because if you do, especially if they’ve got a negative or an anxious mindset, you want to get rid of that. Especially if you try to sell. Surprise. Goes from what’s called a survival emotion move to an attachment emotion. So that’s the key, folks. How is your next story going to surprise your audience? Have that printed on your wall. Make a bumper sticker, put a Post-It note on your computer and you won’t go far wrong.

Frank Wolf: That’s that, I love that. So let me try based on this, to sum this up, if I understand you correctly. So let’s say I come to you with a story that I want to tell somebody else, like, say, hey, Jeremy, here’s what I want to do. And you would look at this pretty much and say, okay, what’s the current emotion or state of things that we think our audience is in? Like, where do we, like do we really want to make sure we catch them at the right, because we think they are fearful and they are not. Or if they think they were overwhelmed, they’re not. I think the story’s not going to resonate. And then you’re saying if you get that right, think about where you want to move them, and think about like what’s the, ideally it’s out of that emotion. Not so much keeps you awake at night, right? And think about how you can do this using surprise. It’s a very powerful way to actually get them moving. But would you agree?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: That’s it. Yeah. You did it much more deeply than I did because you’re the better communicator. You did it in seven words, you know. How are we going to move them? That’s it. That’s all that matters. How are we going to move this audience? I write for some quite prominent politicians, and some of them, they’ll always judge a speech by, you know, oh, how good was it? How did it feel? It’s like, no, they don’t care about that. What did the audience do afterwards? How did it, just like good writing, how did it move from one place to another? A great story? How does it transform the protagonist from one place to another? It’s all about movement.

Frank Wolf: And one thing like, I’ve written a book about narratives in the last year and I’ve read a lot about storytelling, and the most memorable thing for me that I didn’t know about storytelling was, somebody, Kindra Hall actually, I’ve learned from her. She said, story, if you think about stories that resonate well and make people care, it’s stories that get the normal right.

So in your perspective, if you can actually get the emotion and describe what people feel right now, and if you get them there, they will start to care, like surprises is then a great way to really get them moving. But I think the beginning of a story is highly important, and I’ve seen another quote that I really love about this, it’s like, if you come to a doctor who gives you, and you have a pain, and the doctor describes the pain pretty well, you have a great deal of trust in that he also will be able to cure it, he or she. Right? So if this really feels seen, we feel somebody, they understand me. I think that’s a very powerful start of a story of the arc to the end.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: It just links back to emotion, doesn’t it? Because if you think about . . . I mean even if we went all the way back to the ancient Greeks and we spoke to Aristotle, they’d start talking about pathos, ethos, and logos, you know, rhetorical appeals. And for anyone that doesn’t know, just go and Google pathos. It’s where the words empathy and sympathy [and] empathetic comes from. But it’s the root of emotion, really, because empathy triggers oxytocin, which delivers heightened levels of trust, generosity, and bonding. That triggers all the hormones in the right hand side of our brain to make us feel good things, to connect with the audience with empathy so that hopefully they go and do something. There it is. It’s the absolute trigger.

And I think this is where a lot of businesses go wrong. I’d love to know what you guys do at Staffbase to try and alleviate this, because we’ve never got any time to focus on the audience. I see at IBM, it’s one of our biggest challenges. Everyone’s so busy, but yet the job of the great storyteller isn’t just to tell the story, it’s to have so much empathy with the audience that you tell the story in a way that resonates with them. But in order to do that, they’ve got to have the time to research the audience, you know what I mean? So I’m not just trying to teach people to tell a better story. I’m also trying to sometimes help them with time management so that they can find more time to research their audience, to see what matters to them, not just what you want to say. It’s like, what do they need to hear?

Frank Wolf: Yeah, that’s probably also the whole narrative topic and the whole inside. Like what you say is not what people hear. And what they hear really also connects to what they already have in their mind and what they’re thinking about. And maybe one small tip that I learned through my research on the audience research side. We do a lot of quantitative research, like big amounts of data and trying to find the averages and so on. Like what’s way more important for this is to get into qualitative research and have focus groups and actually listen. What are the words people say? Like, what’s the . . . how do they talk about the problem? You know, like, what’s that? Because that is the basis for building really resonating communications and talking in their language and really touching their minds. So that’s it. Quantitative data is always good. We agree on that.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: That’s . . . well, I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but that’s where our AI friends come in. Because when you don’t have time, just give me those 20,000 documents, give me the demographics of every person in the audience. And now we can have the AI work out for us how to repurpose and recraft.

Frank Wolf: This is true. But [let’s say] if I have 20 interviews recorded, maybe speech to text, whatever you have it there, and now with AI you can say, oh, give me a summary of these interviews, right? What from AI . . . what you might be missing is exactly that, the language you get is the large language model summary of, you know? And I want to hear the words, like, how do they talk about the problem? I do a lot of coaching for other startups about positioning and go-to-market strategies. Like, my first thing is always like, do you understand how your audience . . . what’s the problem? But even more important, how they talk about this, what are the words they use to describe them? Because that’s pretty much . . . it tells you already a lot of things that you should write on your website. And it’s not your language, it’s how they talk.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: And that’s that intersection isn’t it of humanity and technology or technology and liberal arts as Steve Jobs used to talk about, That side of stuff . . . as much as I’d love to think AI, but it’s miles away from being able to do that properly, because it often can’t see for the context in the language. Where it gets really interesting, though, is if you can start using large language models to try and understand the personality of the audience, so you know what type of emotions are going to trigger, and then as humans, we can think about, okay, well, what story do I need to tell to trigger that emotion at that time to that personality type so it can help give us a little bit of the framework within which to try and, you know, craft that compelling story.

Frank Wolf: Absolutely. I would love to move on to more of the measurement side. And before we do this, I have a very specific question I wanted to ask you about PowerPoint, because like, a lot of storytelling in business happens in PowerPoint and I’m very sure IBM is using also, like tons of PowerPoint for the presentations, and we all know that. Do you think PowerPoint is a good tool for storytelling? If yes, how should one do it? Probably you say not too many or what do you think is the most powerful way to kind of visualize and tell the story in a business context?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Gosh, what a loaded question. That’s right there to trip me up. And you know what the answer to that is probably the answer to the vast majority of storytelling questions. Depends what your audience wants. The audience is the hero. It’s not up to me to decide. I’m not a massive fan of PowerPoint, an amazing tool when it’s used in the right way. It’s like any tool. But the conversations, first of all, should never start with what’s on the slides. That’s when we know that we’ve gone wrong. I spend a lot of time in the C-suite, and when I’m spending time with senior leaders, I often find that it’s really not about the slides anyway. They don’t want to see that.

Steve Jobs always used to joke, if you know what you’re talking about, you know, you don’t need slides. You get out a napkin, flip chart, whiteboard. I’d rather have that. Like, let’s draw the solution out together and have some sort of shared experience where we kind of build in the story along with the emotion and this experience of whatever goes on within that room. But we build it step by step organically. The second the PowerPoint comes out, we know where that’s going to go. But also we know that there’s a forced, very linear progression of how that’s going to end up. If you can use PowerPoint really well, and I sometimes have “presenter view” on a separate iPad with all the numbers of the slides, so actually when I’m giving a presentation, it doesn’t go in order because I might be typing in 12 enter, 24 enter, 36 enter. But what I’m doing is I’m jumping from slide to slide based upon what the audience is asking. So it feels like it’s highly personalized, but I think at the end of the day, it’s if we understand the audience well enough, we know what it is that they need to see, if it’s delivery and if it’s to a mid-level team, if it’s a manager, if it’s a procurement, if it’s going to be to a . . . they need to see architecture, they need to see a bunch of slides they want a leave-behind deck but a great quote, maybe want to write down in your notebooks, folks, from the leadership guy called John Maxwell. Just a beautiful guy, Doctor John Maxwell. And he said, “At the end of the day, people are not persuaded by what you say, but by what they understand.” I love that. Some people that’s back of a napkin, somebody else needs a 50-slide deck. You know, somebody needs a five minute off-the-cuff conversation. Somebody else needs a six-hour deep dive workshop with design thinking. It’s like, as the storyteller, we can’t go out with this kind of binary approach of, this is the right way that we must do it. It’s why most storytelling coaches fail because they’re not thinking, “Depends . . . what does the audience want?” Well, that’s not, you know, empathy isn’t it? My job is to put myself in their shoes. And if they like me, we’ll figure out how to do that with empathy. If they don’t like me, that brings out a whole other discussion. But we could talk about tactical empathy. It’s how do you win over the hearts and minds of an audience that doesn’t like you, that has no shared values? That’s an interesting question. But yeah, depends. Yeah, I dodged the question well, didn’t I?

Frank Wolf: To be honest I really liked the nuanced answer because as you say, there are situations where a team, maybe a technical team or whatever, wants to see the details and wants to see if you can deliver. Right? And that’s the moment when storytelling becomes a hard skill, when you also realize that I cannot always just have the story and nothing else.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: That’s why I do some of these, Frank. I mean, I draw these not just for fun to try and make them pretty, but I draw decks and slides and ideas purely so that I can understand, so that when I’m in front of an audience, when I’m on with the C-suite and I’ve got, you know . . . I can draw it. I know what I’m talking about. I understand the structure. And then based upon what they say, we can repurpose it on the fly. Can’t do that. You know, so it’s like, that’s why I’m called a communications designer, because I kind of joke that I draw speeches. I don’t write them. But I want to communicate in a different way.

Frank Wolf: Drawing a speech is probably . . . that’s a topic. Let’s leave this for another podcast. That’s really interesting because I would agree with one thing you said is being able in a like, probably also meeting setup, to stand up, go to a whiteboard, and kind of summarize things or like draw, like you have the attention of the room like it’s it’s a moment of, as you say, surprise, but you can take a whole discussion in a new direction and say, okay, here we are. And the very powerful thing, as you also said, is this sort of . . . people can say things and say, yeah, that’s cool, but this is missing or whatever and you draw it in. It’s a magical tool to kind of build a story together with the room.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: The problem is you need to really know your shit to be able to do that.

Frank Wolf: That’s why I say like . . . it’s not an entry level thing. But if you can do this, that’s a point where you can turn around . . . like people at the end will take pictures and pretty much say “that’s it.” And they feel like we’ve all done this together. That’s an amazing skill to have.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: It’s easy to hide behind PowerPoint. I think that’s the thing for some storytellers. They treat the . . . it is a weakness and it shows it’s too easy just to rely on “presenter” view. And it’s like come on you’ve got to know your stuff so well. Like don’t practice it till you get it right, practice till you can never get it wrong. Your focus shouldn’t be worrying about what words you need to say next. You should know it well enough. Your focus should be obsessing over every person in the audience. What are they doing? They on the phones? Are they making notes? Are they bored? Are they multitasking? Are they on Slack? It’s like, you know, trying to understand where the audience is at . . . much more important.

Frank Wolf: Fantastic. Let’s try to kind of, go to the next level in terms of the numbers here. And I understand you’ve done some research at IBM and like you have, I guess, a very good insight into the organization. You’ve done some research on storytelling at scale and like things that work and don’t work. Are there any patterns that you can share with us from this research or any like, maybe even open questions that you have around storytelling in an organization like IBM?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: So it’s a great question. And there is, I mean there’s a really simple little device you can use. I used to use it at Facebook years ago to try and value audiences. I wrote a white paper about it when I was at Adobe, helping to build their marketing cloud and then we built upon that a bit at Salesforce, and that was 12, 14 years ago or something. But I still use it today and it’s the idea, it’s . . . imagine a Trivial Pursuit cheese, you know, the little cheeses with the little, little pieces of cheese in the middle, three on the left, three on the right, and so much like left brain and right brain. One of the things I was doing was analyzing, I think we worked out we’ve analyzed with AI and some of it manually, but a lot of it using automation, about 57,000 stories, decks, pitch documents, keynote speeches. Why does some work and some not? And also, I’m trying to understand why on the page, sometimes a deck or a story looks great and you can walk away and it’s like, well, that just did not work for that audience. Like, what went wrong? And the other ones, which were just completely spontaneous, just smashed it and just ended up doing wonderful things. How does that happen? And that’s what gets me out of bed. I like taking stories to pieces to see why do they work, so I spend a lot of time deconstructing, and a lot of it, I mean, there’s a lot about outputs from this, but the simplest one is left brain, right brain. So write this down. The best stories do six things, not in equal measure and they’re going to move throughout, you know, over indexing one to another. Imagine these six little KPIs and on a scale of 1 to 10 you’ve got a dashboard that’s going to be moving towards left brain. It’s going to inform, it’s going to educate, it’s going to solve a problem. A lot of business stories, that’s generally what a lot of business storytellers do. Strategy, go-to-market, you know, especially software stories. We inform about what’s going on, we educate about a tool, and we show how we solve your problem based on what keeps you up at night. Okay, good for you. But it’s very left brain. There’s no emotion. I don’t really care about what you do, what you stand for, why I should work with you, trust you. I’ve done nothing to trigger the emotions in the limbic system. That triggers the hormones, that helps drive that decision. So instead of inform, you’ve also got to inspire. Instead of educate, you have to entertain or excite in some way. You’ve got to engage the audience. And instead of just solving their problems, you’ve got to challenge them with a unique point of view.

So I would say that you’ve got to have both, and it’s going to be up to you as to which one at which part of the story you overindex with. And it might even be six different executives that represent each one of those, but it’s got to inform and inspire, educate, entertain, challenge, solve a problem. So in all of my storytelling documents and even AIs that I’ve trained, they’re all trained upon that, as to at certain points in the story that are relevant to that audience to get the outcome that we need. This is to inspire, that bit needs to inform, here’s where the education piece comes in. Here’s where our opinion comes in to challenge the audience, and then we end with our offerings and solution. Here’s how we solve your problems everybody. And then we have a nice urgent call to action that hopefully, you know, is one that’s hearts and minds. But that’s it. It’s like you want to make someone feel something so that they do something? Those little six things, it’s a great start.

Frank Wolf: Fantastic. And I guess the idea is, or your goal or the goal should be long-term to say we have a certain set of like, we have an audience, we have a situation, something we want to do, and some logic to tells us, hey, based on this, this is how you should mix these six ingredients to actually make the story work really well. And I guess that’s sort of the goal here, right? To have this — a cookbook — let’s put it like this.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Yeah, and that’s where the job is to get away from generic storytelling. We’re all going to have one-size-fits-all scripts, especially in business. We’ve got to have some sort of a, you know, first call deck or a message or whatever it is. You might have a stump speech as a politician. The job of the storyteller, of how you turn that presentation into a performance, is applying everything that makes you special and then telling that story from your point of view, through a lens that matches everything that makes that audience special. That’s why I obsess over personality traits quite a lot, because it’s like you’ve got to understand the mindset of the audience because, you’ll see yourself, you know, I’ll see a Ted Talk and go, Oh my God, Frank, this is the best thing I’ve ever seen. You’ve got to check out Michael when he did this thing! And you’d DM me and you’d be like, Yeah, it was all right, but did you see Jackie when she did this one? And I’d be like, Yeah, it just didn’t do it for me. And it’s that subjective nature of storytelling, which is what makes our job so exciting but so complicated. You know, it’s why podcasts like this are so important, right? Because there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. Humans are really flipping complicated, but as long as we’ve got systems and frameworks and we know that we can look for the triggers of the audience and I can think about what’s my view of this topic so I can bring this story to life in a way that I’m the only person that can tell the story. Once we start thinking like that, we’ll be fine. You know, and that’s why we go wrong at business conferences. You can always tell who’s written their own speech, or you can tell who’s reading somebody else’s deck. You know, it stands out like a sore thumb. The audience knows. They know with the tone, the body language, the comfort, all the stuff that’s got nothing to do with words, you can tell.

Frank Wolf: Absolutely. From out of the six points you, like, and I guess you said like the left side alone doesn’t work. And I guess also the right side alone doesn’t work, right? So you would have to have all six together. And the one that resonates really well with me is the challenge. This was a book, The Challenger Sale, I’m not sure if you, like, it’s also like a lot of data, actually, data driven, like, a team has looked at a lot of deals in business, like, I think it’s B2B deals and has seen which seller’s most successful. And they found the different types of sellers like, like did relationship relationship sales, and the lone wolf actually is part of this . . . But they found the most successful sellers, the challenger sale, right? The person that really is challenging the prospect or like, you could say, the audience, with their thinking; teaches them something new and really comes across as an educator, more than somebody who wants to sell something. I think that resonates very well with me and I guess that’s also probably something you are talking about a lot at IBM.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Yeah. And I think the way that I look at kind of the role that I’m trying to deploy around storytelling, I’m taking business economics, I’m taking the entertainment industry, and the world of politics, and I’m trying to mash those things together. It’s like politics, business, entertainment. And in the middle of that kind of sits the way that we would start to tell the stories in a different way. And that’s where a lot of our folks just go wrong, you know? They’re just either all left brain, which is great, very transactional or very tactical. You’re going to land some deals, it’s going to be fine, but there’ll be no loyalty. Or you might go out with all emotion, but you then understand why this most amazing marketing campaign you did didn’t translate to any sales, you know, and it didn’t feel something, it didn’t give them the left brain to make them do something. It doesn’t resonate . . . trying to understand which side is most relevant for which audience. And it’s tough. It is. It’s really hard. And we need to use as many tools as we’ve got at our disposal. AI, whatever, to try and understand how we can do the best we can with what we’ve got.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. Talking about measurement and your role, is there something you can share? And I guess from a communications perspective, the big question about measurement is — there’s typically two — like one is How can I improve my work? How can I learn what works and what doesn’t? And I think we talked a bit about this like about the six dimensions you have, but the other one is always also, How do I justify my work and justify my team and what we’re doing here, right, and the resources we are getting? Do you have this challenge and how do you deal with that?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Oh, gosh. Yeah. And, we definitely do. How could I answer that question without getting sacked. I sometimes half joke that we need to often do the, you know, get people to do the right thing for the wrong reasons. You’re kind of looking at . . . it’s a little bit like the, you know, what’s the best format? Dunno, depends on the audience. It’s like, well, what’s the best metric to measure your story? I don’t know, it depends on who I’m trying to influence. But the fact that we’re asking that question is unusual in itself. A lot of marketing are looking at engagement metrics. It’s going to go through preference, consideration, awareness, all the usual stuff. Might look at NPS, you might look at some of the softer metrics. But again, a lot of those metrics just don’t have the credibility and trust that they deserve in other areas of the business, which is why budgets and headcounts and those things.

So I’m constantly looking for What is the one metric that the person cares about that I’m most trying to influence? So even though, you know, let’s say I’m running a program inside IBM to help a couple of thousand storytellers tell better stories. A certain type of consulting in a certain market. Well, I’m going to be helping them to tell stories using all of these frameworks. And I’m helping the outcome of that is going to be how I might have moved the needle on that level of confidence. They might have been beginning, you know, two out of ten telling an IBM story, end of it, eight out of ten. We got all sorts of metrics, it might be linked to, you know, an increased win rate, but there’s always going to be someone that’s ultimately sponsoring your program or someone that’s paying for the budget or the head count or my promotion.

You know, I want to enhance my team. I want to get more people. I want to get promoted. All that good stuff. And those other agendas like, okay, well, what’s that metric look like? Is it increased sales? Is it that if you go through my program versus somebody else’s program, you close 5 percent more deals? You save five hours a week constructing deals. The pipeline of this class versus that class is an additional $300 million or whatever. You save five hours a week of your time if you use my AI tools instead of someone else’s. But depending upon which metric, and I usually only choose one, there might be several kinds of secondary metrics, but depending upon who I’m trying to influence, that will be the one metric that I start championing. And it happened on a call this morning. I can’t tell you exactly what it was, but I just kept banging that drum of this one number. And I think the reason that this program was successful is because a lot of other programs might have had multiple metrics. They do a dashboard and it’s got five, seven, nine things on it. Great. I’m going to move the needle on one. But I guarantee you whatever that is I will have done my homework to see that is the one metric that this leader is being judged on themself. So I’m helping them to do their job better. So it means to an end. You help me run my storytelling program here by me helping you achieve your metrics over there.

Frank Wolf: Great. I guess it’s helping that a lot of the deals that you’re working on are like multi-million dollar deals.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: But I’m trying to tie it to dollars, or euros, right? And that’s the thing. I’m not tying it to OKRs, I’m not tying it to NPS scores, I’m not looking at an engagement which could be heavily manipulated anyway. Your video got 20 million views. Good for you. Where did they go? What did they do next? Tell me that. Did you move? Did it sell more products? Did it change consideration amongst the CIO in that particular office? That’s what we want to know. Give me a hardcore economic value with a methodology that can be trusted. You know, no assumptions. And I think that’s where I comms and marketing struggles the most because the attribution model’s all over the place. It’s been flawed for decades, and that’s why most marketers and communications folks struggle so much because they’re still using the old style of measurement.

Frank Wolf: I couldn’t agree more. [Having] a career sort of in both, like I’ve been the chief marketing officer of Staffbase for quite a couple . . . I studied marketing, so I’m coming from the marketing side. I’ve also worked in the comms industry for 20 years. I would say marketing figured out earlier than comms certain real outcome metrics.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Did you use lead gen when you was looking at value, cost per lead, conversion. You was looking at dollar values?

Frank Wolf: That’s exactly . . . like in marketing you found the language to talk about value. Like you build a pipeline, that’s something that’s there. You can measure this and you can say, okay, I might have conversion rates or other things, but marketing found this way to move from an engagement metric to an outcome metric. Not like, say, how many people went to the webinar. So like that’s an early indicator, but like an outcome metric is actually pipeline build or something. Marketing generated something. I think marketing is like, as in all, like we all want to have better measurement. It’s one step ahead of where communication is because communication, most teams are on an engagement, as you say, like how many people clicked the article or do we have an interaction, and we are really lacking sort of the outcome metrics. That’s worldwide and that’s one of the things and outcomes of this whole narrative book topic that I’ve been writing, because a narrative is something that you can build like the goal of communication is to say, I want to change hearts and minds, and how can I measure this, like how can I measure that my audience thinks differently about a topic, and how can I really validate this over time that I made this shift? Instead a lot of — also our customers — they are measured against things like employee engagement, which is a huge global measurement. If I have a bad boss or a bad market environment or whatever, like there’s so many influencing factors for employee engagement. So a lot of comms teams say, yeah, sort of we are connected. But by no way, and they are right. We are really responsible for that. And that’s what I really love about what you just said is, pick one metric, right, which matters and which people understand, and double down on this and really deliver on this and not try to have like, vanity metrics or like metrics that are too big for you. And I think comms is sort of trying different strategies here. And the wording is, pick a metric that’s really important and that’s sort of an outcome-based metric.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: I’m trying to find the name of a guy. He’s called Andrew Canton. This is going to sound a little bit out there, but this is my favorite comms story of putting measurement on it, and it’s 60 years old. There’s a paper from Wharton and it’s called “I’m not Mopping the Floors, I’m Putting Man on the Moon” Title of the research paper is “How NASA’s Leaders Enhanced the Meaningfulness of Work by Changing the Meaning of Work.” And basically, this paper that was written in 2018 went to try and understand, how could one piece of communications genuinely change the world? And it was a piece of communications; it was only 17 minutes long. Was the moon speech by President Kennedy, the 12th of September, 1962, gave the moon speech. You know, we’re going to put man on the moon within a decade. We choose to go to the moon. And what this paper did is it was trying to look at the value of that speech. This is why I love this paper so much. And what they did is they used AI to measure the performance reviews of all 400,000 NASA contractors from 1962 to 1969, and the one common thread that they found in everybody’s performance review was they cited the speech as being the one thing that, against all the odds, technology hadn’t been invented yet, multiple assassinations, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Cold War, everything else. In the middle of all of that, they still, with budgets, with different changes in administration, still managed to achieve the goal, put a man on the moon, 1969. And the fact that they cited a 1,000-second speech for me just shows how you can quantify the value of a story, even if it’s a TED Talk. Now, it might be that there’s a long tail and you’ve got to do some clever, you know, analytics to figure it out. But you can do it. You’ve just got to start thinking more creatively about how you measure the impact. So I don’t, whether it’s a speech or a story, whether you look in as part of a big narrative arc, “I Have a Dream” as part of the Civil Rights narrative, you can measure it all.

Frank Wolf: Yeah. That’s a perfect example for what I just said was based on a narrative. This speech probably was responsible for a big part of it, but a lot of other things also for building a narrative in the mind of everyone involved in the program. Like, say, we can do it like by the end of the century, we can actually do it to see if we all work together and we are not mopping the floor, we are putting a man on the moon. Right? So that said, you can if you can measure this narrative, that people have it and that you can like the speech, I guess created a large part of it. That’s the thing. Fantastic. Looking at the time, I’d love to, and we already started to talk about AI a bit. I’d love to talk about AI, and let’s try. . . I know it’s a big topic. Let’s start with the more specific things that you’re doing right now. And then I would come to a more general “Will AI replace all of us?” sort of discussion. But with the specific things, you started to talk about AI assistants that you’re using. Could you tell us a bit more? How does AI help you in your storytelling work today?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: I’ve always liked the idea. I used a phrase back in 2016, I think it might have been, 2017, and I was Chief Strategy Officer at Watson Customer Engagement. Watson’s a big part of the AI engine that IBM has. And I liked the idea that it’s not about AI, it’s about IA. I started talking about intelligent assistants. It’s just like having a really, really smart best friend that is with you all the time, that can do 10 million records a second, that doesn’t get tired and emotional and, you know, can work any time. And it’s just always on and it’s always accurate to within a degree. [It] needs training, could talk about that, and it hallucinates a lot. But that idea of an AI being able to augment your behavior as an intelligent assistant is something that I’ve kind of over-obsessed with in a good way over the last eight years. So what I’m doing today is I have many assistants, but there are 16 main ones I use, and each one of those 16 assistants corresponds to a different personality type. I started off with just a fun experiment, because back to our conversation before we want to put ourself in the audience’s shoes, right, we need to understand the audience’s mindset. I might need to figure out a KPI of a leader. Okay, well, I need to understand how they think, which is down to personality traits. I might need to make a presentation on my own, especially if someone else has given me their words. Okay, that’s down to me to be able to interpret that story through the lens of my personality. And there’s a load of reasons that we probably won’t have time to go into about why Myers-Briggs people can debate the pros and cons, but there’s tons of publicly available data. If you were to assume that you could be different personality types at different moments in your business day so you don’t have one fixed personality, which is what Myers-Briggs is built on, when I’m speaking to you right now, I’ve got a different personality type. I might be an ILFJ, you know, it could be somewhere else. I’m an ENFJ. You know, if you can understand what that is, you could use one of my assistants that’s been trained on Myers-Briggs data, all of the things that makes me special, all the things I’m passionate about because it’s my own personal assistant, including my CV, my LinkedIn, everything. And then I might even take all of the stuff that I’ve taught around the art and science of storytelling. If I was you, I might be feeding in, you know, The Narrative Age and all of the stuff that I’ve published. I’d go into my AI model and then that would be Frank. And every morning I’m going to be working with Frank to do my job for every email, every pitch, every story, every keynote. And it’s going to answer it all and give me that data in a language that suits my personality type. And then I could even use another assistant. So you might have the Frank assistant, and then you’ve got a map to the Jeremy assistant of “How are we going to have the best connection on this podcast?” based upon the nuances and our personality types, and we use that assistant to suggest, Use these questions, don’t use that one. Don’t let him talk too much because he won’t shut up. Jeremy will just keep going. Or whatever. You know? How do we keep the attention and the dynamics between us? AI can help you with that so much with the structure, language, sense and structure, mapping to emotions, the density of language, the readability of texts, what emotion is it likely to trigger, why you need a story there [or] you need to start there. Don’t use that customer success story as an example for that executive, use this one instead. Don’t use that word in Germany, use this word when you go over to Stockholm. AI gives me all of that. And that’s amazing because it just helps me do my job better. I’ve still got to write it. I’ve still got to do a thing. But now it might be saving me hours and hours of my time by being that really smart, intelligent assistant. And I think for a lot of people listening to that now, that might sound like the moon for them, because they might be playing with ChatGPT or something with very mixed results. But don’t be disillusioned by it. You know? It’s the Wild West out there right now and a lot of these models are breaking every two minutes. The stuff that I’m seeing inside as a global communications designer for a big company. I am using it every hour, every hour of every day. It’s that good. I’m using this assistant. And that’s not because I’m being lazy. It’s because it can do it to a better degree than I could do it on my own, which frees up more of my time to focus a bit more on what matters. Which might be coaching some folks. Research in an audience, whatever. So it’s IA not AI.

Frank Wolf: Jeremy, is this something that you are using yourself or you are providing these assistants also for others in the organization? And so like here is this storytelling coach. . . .

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Everybody at IBM has access to them and we’re using them as assistants. They can have a login. You know, they’ll just patch to my impact storytelling program. They’ll see the 16 assistants there. They just choose the one that maps to their personality type INFJ, bang.

Frank Wolf: As one example, INFJ, what’s this, for our listeners? What would be a typical personality type?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: So within our businesses, IBM and Staffbase, we’re probably going to have most of our folks would be INTJ or ENTJ, which is generally an introvert, somebody that’s intuitive, someone that’s thinking, so they’re a little bit more left brain than right brain, you know, they’re more thinking and feeling and they like things to be structured, you know? And we like things to be kind of process driven. But I’m an S. I’m not a T, which is somebody who genuinely makes more decisions with their gut. But it’s a really good process to go through. And you can actually read . . . I mean, I also use AI to predict the personality types of some of the people I’m spending time with, you know, especially if I’m going to try and influence them, because it really helps with language and story, because as an INFJ, I might sell something that’s a little bit more visionary. And as an introvert, I might not want to talk about myself. But actually I’ve got to influence someone who’s a hardcore thinker and very extroverted, and they need to see that level of leadership and credibility for me. So one example is the AI assistant might encourage me to talk about myself in a way, in a leadership environment, in a way that’s going to resonate with this person. Because it’s like, I need you to follow me. I need you to trust what I say.

Frank Wolf: Just that I get this right, because that’s really interesting. What you just said, like, is, I come, I have your assistant and let’s say, I have to give a presentation and, two things are important. One is my audience. These are senior leaders. Is this tech people? It’s just maybe HR or marketing people. Like, who are they? And I can add your advice and we come back to “know your audience,” right? But, what we’ve just learned is [that] this is another dimension you can look at your audience, right? And just gives you another point of view on your audience. And you could look at yourself and like, say, maybe also what are my biases? Like how is my presentation style and so on. And match this together and say, how can I or should I adjust for specifically this audience? Correct?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: That’s a great point. Yeah. Because that unconscious bias . . . often we don’t know what we don’t know. And you can’t see it. You can see when it’s yourself. It’s like, that’s why you go to a coach. Because a coach is going to help to remove the obstacles that are [keeping] you away from being successful. I just train my AI models to act like coaches. So it’s trying to help you kind of mitigate against any unconscious bias. So look, I know you don’t want to say that or I know you’ve not thought about this, but try putting this there and maybe just have a second story about, you know, such and such a time just to establish a bit of credibility at the beginning to engage the audience. Exactly right. Love it.

Frank Wolf: Okay, technically, just to, I suspect it, but it’s technically the AI like the small change model that you’re using is IBM, like it’s Watson based? Not sure if you’re allowed to talk about that.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Yeah, well it’s all open.

Frank Wolf: Yeah, absolutely. You can just go on IBM, just search for Watson X, you know. If you just, if you search you’ll find your way there and search anything to do with IBM Academy. You know, you can find what it is. The one that I use a lot is the Meta. So the parent company of Facebook, Meta, has a model called Llama 3 which came out maybe 5 or 6 weeks ago. And it’s open source, by the way.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Competitor to GPT4, right? But one of the things that we do that is very different, which is what you need in an enterprise level AI, which is why the Wild West out there for people using kind of free platforms, you’ve got to have an AI that shows you, Where did I get the data from? You’ve got to have the compliance and the governance. You’ve got to show me what’s the decision tree? How did you come up with that suggestion? Where did the data come from? What confidence level do you have that you give me the right answer and where are the links I can go and double check myself so there’s no hallucinations. Once you start looking at that, you’ll be fine and AI will be phenomenal. The problem with a lot of the models out there at the moment, I mean, I use Llama 3 as part of our Watson X platform, because we have that level of governance. So we’re showing transparency. So I have to see that if I’m going to trust an AI with my work, that’s why I use it every day. If I was just on a random bot that was just churning out answers and I didn’t know where it came from, there’s no way I’m going to trust that. I’ll use it for fun, but I’m not going to use it every day as part of my job. Not yet. And that’s why a lot of these other models are not quite there yet.

Frank Wolf: Yeah, I would agree with you totally on this in terms of, like you can go to ChatGPT or other models, like for inspiration, and say, hey, that’s just another opinion or I get an idea on how to do things. The closer we get to business processes, the closer we get to things where we say we need to go from 98 percent to 99.9 percent. Things like that, and as this is happening and what I love about your example about the AI assistant is I think it’s a very concrete use case, how to use AI in the communications and storytelling context. And probably like one of the most advanced examples that’s out there right now, which is probably at least some that I and I think part of your job description to do that. But it helps our listeners also to sort of see, Oh, this is where this could go, right? It’s not just a, Hey this is a writing assistant . . . it can do a lot of different things very well, but it also can be a storytelling coach and like, really help you to think in a sort of very strategic way about it.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: You’re right with the writing of emails. And I see that all the time, people using a bot to try and synthesize a big task. This is 1994, right now. Right? You remember when we saw email for the first time? Some of your younger folks won’t remember this. And we knew like, this is going to be a big deal. Like, I can email the White House and get a response or whatever. And we had no idea what the internet was about to do. This is going to be as disruptive, if not more. And we’re right at the edge, and it’s exciting and it’s terrifying. And it looks like there’s good use cases and a lot of people are going to abuse it, and it’s going to go through a trough of disillusionment and there’ll be some dark night of the soul before, you know, everything’s great. But, it is, as long as we bear that in mind, like, use it, but use it carefully, you know? Be respectful. Don’t believe all the hype. You know, be responsible.

Frank Wolf: And I mean that sort of already sums up the question that I wanted to ask about AI and communication in particular. Is there a specific thing you would advise communicators to do right now? Because many of them look at this technology and say, Hey, this actually part of my job, or feels, sort of, it could also be done by AI, there a couple of, like, discussions going on, others not. But will leaders and will others really see the difference and so on? So what would be your advice right now specifically to storytellers, communicators? What should they do?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: There’s some data that the CIPD in the UK talk about a little bit. I don’t know what the amount of the global stats are, but CIPD is suggesting that 80 percent of our workforces are going to need to reskill by 2030. I mean, that’s a lot, and I suspect that that number is going to be a bit lower than that, but it’s still going to be a high number.

Frank Wolf: And it’s very close. 2030, right? So it’s not really far away.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Right. Exactly. It’s not that far away. So it’s kind of like, Okay well what does that mean for me? That sounds pretty scary. You know I’ve got to reskill. It’s like, and obviously this is very relative as well, it depends on where you are in your career and what you want the rest of your career to look like. But one of the ways I like looking at this, and it’s a music analogy, I love music, and whether or not you’re classical or whether you might like EDM, so you’re either a DJ or you’re a conductor. I’d like taken on that analogy of the way that we should be treating AI right now. You’ve got to embrace it whether you like it or not it’s coming. It’s going to change everybody’s jobs. It’s going to make a lot of our jobs better. There’s a dark side to it as well. But your job is to understand. Say, as a conductor, how can I get all of these different models and all of these different assistants, along with all the stuff I know to be true of storytelling and everything about internal comms and all the stuff I’ve learned from my business and my audience. Your job as a conductor is not necessarily to create some amazing symphony, which is sometimes what people think about storytelling. You’ve got to be creative. You’ve got to write the thing. It’s the wrong way of looking at it. These AIs can now help you so much. Think about your role as being a curator. It’s like you’re a conductor of this orchestra. You’re curating the first strings, you know what I mean? And the flutes. You’ve got the percussion at the back, and then you’ve got the second violins and all. Your job is to get them telling the right story at the right time, in the right tempo, and coming in and out at the right moment. That’s how I’m treating these models. And I’ll use different storytelling structures. I’ll use different personality assistants, I’ll use Llama 3 for something. I might use Mstral for something else. I might use IBM’s Granite . . . And I think that’s a really healthy way of thinking about your role as a storyteller in comms, especially if you’re nervous, which a lot of us are right now. Like we said before, the Edelman Trust Barometer report 88 percent of people are scared of losing their jobs, and I think it’s somewhere between 50 and 64 percent of people who say technology is changing too fast in ways that are not good for me.

So just start learning. And if I was going to give one piece of advice, it would be Just spend 15 minutes a day just learning and just go and . . . you might even start on YouTube. You go on my LinkedIn if you want. I’ve got loads of links. There’s a great guy at IBM called Armand Ruiz. He’s always just posting free courses on AI. Everyone’s got them: IBM, Microsoft, they’re all over the place. 15 minutes a day. And what some leadership coaches think is that 15 minutes a day for one year adds up to 100 hours, and sometimes 100 hours is all it takes to put you in the top 5% of your field. So maybe today that’s your goal for the next year. Just start small. Don’t get scared 15 minutes a day with a cup of tea.

Frank Wolf: Sounds easy. Yeah.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: It’s dead easy. And you’ll be up there and you won’t be overwhelmed. It’s going to feel like it’s scary at the moment. Fine. You Learn. Learn fast. Deliberate, dedicated learning. Just be hungry and find an intelligent way to use it, and then teach other people how to use it. I like that.

Frank Wolf: Fantastic. I think that’s already a fantastic closing note, Jeremy. It’s been so insightful and I think we’ve made a great tour about the storytelling, the measurement part, the AI part. Still, the one thing I want to repeat here, storytelling is a hard skill. Never forget. Like, I love this. One last thing I wanted to ask you. Is there anything, I think you have a website, where you’ve written a bit about storytelling?

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Yeah, and it’s all free. It’s just fun. I’ve got no agenda. There’s no data capture, no signup, nothing to sell. And all I’ve done is really there to try and help people tell better stories, especially future leaders and some younger folks. But it’s really a collection of all of my favorite assets, all the stuff I’ve learned around storytelling over the years. I just thought, I’ll dump it all in one place so that then people have got somewhere to go and have a dig around in these videos and tutorials and cheat sheets and stuff on there. So yeah, Check it out.

Frank Wolf: Fantastic. And I would say, like, if anybody’s interested, connect with you on LinkedIn, check out the website, and, yeah, at this point I would say we are a bit over an hour, but I think it was very well worth it. So thanks a lot for your time, for all the insights, Jeremy. And, yeah, to all the listeners, hope to see you again. Bye bye.

Jeremy Connell-Waite: Thanks, everyone.

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