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Data Storytelling: How to Turn Insights into Stories and Present with Impact


MindSpeaking Podcast Episode 18 - Philipp Humm , Founder of Power of Storytelling





▶️ Watch the podcast with video on YouTube:


🕒 Timestamps:

00:00 Teaser

00:34 Intro

00:58 Introducing Philipp

03:04 Writing a book is not a romantic process

05:19 Why do stories matter?

09:35 Why you don't need to share everything right away.

11:57 How to break the ice in a meeting.

16:44 How to deal with embarrassment

21:24 Best and worst moments of your life.

25:36 When can you tell incredible stories

28:14 Takeaway

29:11 Conclusion



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Introducing Philipp Humm


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

So that's to start MindSpeaking. So hey, I need a few words to speak to you because it's a special day not really to tell us that tomorrow is a special day because it's going to be the story selling Netherlands we were given a half the book yet it's just a piece of paper that you wrote in your own words. And I'm excited because I live as far as the process you under you asked me for some some feedback. So maybe I contributed a tiny bit through your book and recited to see that you made it you made the finish line. So congrats with the whole team.


Philipp Humm

Thanks. I know you're an inspiration in the process thinks about.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, and I'm excited for today because we're going to talk about one of my favorite topics, which is storytelling, and your book. Story selling is also about storytelling. It was also explore today. Why? CES, the art of selling and storytelling is also important for dental professionals. The first I'm curious, how do you feel about the launch? Honestly, it


Philipp Humm

still feels surreal. I think pretty much a year ago I had a conversation with a friend and we're talking about hey, it would make sense for you to read a book writer no like this. I can't do this right. And so thought that I would never write a book in my life. I thought that I would pay you eventually those writer I was 30k to read my book. But then a few months later I saw this book and I think it was called write useful books. And that was a very scientific approach to just writing the book. When I read this book, I realized that the book writing it's not as romantic process we wait for inspiration to hit you, not just hey, you go there, you put together the structure, and then you just follow the structure. So for me then it was much more of a consulting project and actually this romantic idea of where I just go there and wait for inspiration to hit me.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Yeah, and write useful books. I think there's so many books out there that don't have a specific purpose, right? They don't solve a problem and that's why many books don't for functional walk and then you're there because they're really specific problems.


Philipp Humm

Yeah, for sure. People wanted to be a little bit more niche but I think right now it's it's good word status.




Writing a book is not a romantic process


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I'm very excited for you that you did you made it that you will go here with this although the project as you call it. Yeah, because it definitely is a big journey. Are there any stories that you remember from that process while writing a book while thinking about the topic? Do you have any stories that come to mind? Let me give it a thought actually, this morning.


Philipp Humm

I think my my story was actually that on one day when I at the beginning of started, hey, I would just sit down and write it by myself. But then I talked to this one friend, best friend. And when he gave me some feedback, I realized that he achieved all these people that I knew these people knew intense better or that have different perspectives that I can tap into for that I was still making records myself, but then I realized that all these friends who have these very qualified people that I then started building our process and that just made it much more beautiful, much more wholesome to just pick everyone's brain throughout and not do it by myself.




Why do stories matter?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

That's a good point. It doesn't what I remember from my journey I wanted to I thought I only had to write it by myself and writes carefully insights by myself can come up with new frameworks about everything. But in fact, if you refer to certain pieces of research in the past for very qualified people, or even closer friends, that also comes right. It's about giving value and solving the problem with the reader. Exactly. Yeah. Well, great. It's great to hear a little bit about your book process because I hear from many people it's a it's a difficult difficult Yeah, so what uh, we'd love to learn a bit more about this, the book, sort of story setting, setting method. First of all, of course, we need to dive into why why this story is that storytelling why does it matter why you can why should we care about it? Yeah,


Philipp Humm

good one, because I get that pushback a lot of times so and especially from people that are a little bit more into number specific. Why would I need it right now just trust me numbers. And what always respond to the situation to say, hey, sure, you can go ahead with your numbers, or do you really think that when you present your analysis that the other person remembers that a day later, two weeks later a month later?


Philipp Humm

if we're honest with ourselves, right, we realize hey, evil ourself leave if we're super data driven, we forget things very, very quickly. And so I still say continue using all these data points, but just by including one or two stories, in your presentation or in your communication, you'll become more memorable. It's such an easy way to hook somebody emotionally then make them remembering. So it's just a tiny change in the communication, which makes a big difference to help people remember you,


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

right? So it's even more memorable people will remember you more. And in your book, you also talk about that it's more persuasive. Right? It's, it's easier to persuade people why your insights matter or why what you're trying to communicate. This is important, man for sure.


Philipp Humm

And that's we at the end I know some people thinking I'm not a sales guy. I don't need storytelling. But at the end, we are all selling ourselves constantly, right? And we are all pitching our ideas. We pitch you analysis. And then if you're just relying on arguments, it's not that effective. The best example is have you ever tried to persuade someone that's the complete opposite political candidate? We like? us the best arguments of the world right to use bullet proof facts. Do you think that that person changes their opinion? So people just don't follow arguments that much. You need to appeal to the emotions if you really want to persuade someone,


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

right? Right. And what are some ways how the people listening can can use stories or can implement some tips about storytelling in their in their day to day work, or live in


Philipp Humm

touch? Yeah, I think there's one one use case that is just so easy for everyone to implement. And that's quick connection source. We can do it quickly, right? We can give maybe a shitty example of how a connection could go too fast. Oh, hey, Rick, how are you?


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

And then it'd be a bad example.


Philipp Humm

Good. Fun. Okay. That's one example. Another example is he talks about the weather right here. Namsom. They love talking about the weather. The sun is out and it's not raining. We talked about weather. We talked about weekend we talked about all these super boring things which are not backed by default, but just your relationship stays at the same level. And so there is an opportunity how you can bring in a connection story when someone asks you for what you do want to ask me how are you? How are you? I can say hey, you know what, I'm really good this morning and went to my favorite coffee shop around the corner. And right when I got my coffee, the owner, Jimmy said are good for this one but sell the house. Real why? Anyway, there was a last and it's similar was not nice to you for no reason. And how was that for you? And I give them some time to respond. You don't need to respond right now


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

to respond. Definitely on the second see, because see how that works. You know, because you share something about your life. It's a very small size story. And then I have the options to reflect myself what it means for me. So it's more about meaning rather than fence or the West actually.


Philipp Humm

Yeah, just share something about yourself, right? Take that relationship from the same level. Just go one level deeper, then sometimes you need to share now the deep, vulnerable parts of yourself. If you share something maybe something interesting that you've done, maybe maybe in a new skill that you've picked up, or maybe in some small thing that annoys you. Americans are usually very good at radiation. So could you call them pet peeves? Some smart thing that annoys him where you get very upset about it's usually fun to share some of that in the conversation.




Why you don't need to share everything right away.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

And I picked up on something you mentioned that you don't need to share. The most vulnerable things right away. And I think it's it's a challenge or a fear and many people have I don't want to overshare I don't want to be too vulnerable as well. Where do you see the border or anything? Yeah,


Philipp Humm

I get that every single workshop people are like, for you in business, right? I want to share with you some emotional every single time and I will say at the end in business. They're the same people, right? They're not any different to the people that you encounter in the streets. And so they're humans want to be entertained and want to feel connection. So is there really a reason why you shouldn't share any emotional things that are no sure. Don't go on. Tell your 10 Minute emotional breakdown that you have shared a tiny thing about yourself something vulnerable. That's an amazing opportunity to just build that connection.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I like that idea. And when would you use these type of connection stories? Because of course if you and people ask you well, how the hell are you just that's a nice way to to inject some of those stories. Do you see more opportunities or where why can we use these kind of stories in our work or in our personal life?




How to break the ice in a meeting.


Philipp Humm

What it is about some of you on this one? You can short share them as well, unsolicited? Let's say no one, no one asked you have already but I'd say want to see each one of us. We have dozens of chances when someone asks us Hey, so how's it going Bluebird? What are you up to? So in any of these opportunities, any of these moments is an opportunity to respond with a connection story. So I'd say other stories biggest source of benefit other times when these short connection stories, the idea of when you start up a meeting when he just wanted to break the ice a little bit.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

That makes sense. And I really want to try out more of these kinds of things, these these connections stories, because I do want to think about the interaction that I have. There. I still try to I still try to take the easy route every now and then you don't want to apply them to saying hey, I'm fine or I'm doing well without really thinking of damage connection between me and the other person staring up an extra story or any other way. Do you have any tips for me how to be more mindful in that interaction so that I'm aware and that I know that our auto shows as well instead of saying, Oh, I'm fine, or I ended the day?


Philipp Humm

Yeah. At the beginning, you almost had to prepare that a little bit after some time comes pretty natural. But at the beginning, let's say five minutes before the meeting around yourself and you think there's something maybe interesting that has happened in the past few days. I think I could use that. But don't only think about the story that you can tell. But also think what is the question that I ask the other person because storytelling, it's a little bit misleading storytelling is actually not that much about sharing the story. It's making the other person comfortable to share their story in return. So I have to think Hey, what is the question that I could ask the other person in return that way? That way you have them immediately into a conversation otherwise it's just


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

okay let him story. Thanks. So you mean the question that you asked after sharing so what exactly


Philipp Humm

example you share a sharing our story I have just tried to call the hobby yesterday was so much fun. Then ask yourself, when was the last time did you start a new hobby? And how was that for you? Then you probably can respond with some stories while in return.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

That's a great question. It's really something I like to think of every now and then hey, what's the last time I've tried something new? It's a kind of tangent here, but it's a great topic to discuss as well. And I think it's good for for variation and it makes me feel alive to try a new thing every now and then it gets more connection stories, for sure. And so, when we talk about storytelling and presenting one of the first things that comes to my mind and many other people's mind this conference, because how do you have the confidence to stand up there and speak with others and speak in front of a group and present your insights and tell stories which is, by nature, a bit of a bit vulnerable? Do you have any tips for that people aren't listening or watching how to become more comfortable


Philipp Humm

Yeah, I'd have some specific tips on how we can rehearse for presentation. So one thing that a few very, very strongly about there is this one tip that is around here and everyone keeps repeating. It's terrible. It's terrible. The one thing that you keep hearing is rehearse in front of the mirror. And it's honestly it's the worst that is out there. Why? Because if you're in front of the mirror, and you see yourself speaking while you see yourself in the mirror while you speak that's completely unnatural. The only thing that you accomplish with that, you'll get more subconscious because of the fear that's going on there. And so you become more self conscious. And so what you want to do instead, you don't want to rehearse throughout America, but you want to rehearse out loud. Let's say you're in your room, we have a presentation coming up instead of just thinking about no rehearsing in front of the mirror, you stand up in front of your room, you find yourself objects. So let's say the microphone is one object. Your spider is one object, you glasses, one object and then you move deliberately from one object to the other, and finish one thought in each object that just helps that you get more comfortable speaking aloud, but also having this delivered icon.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I like that, because what do I see with many presentations, whether it's data for stations or on presentations, is that people only look at one side of the audience right and maybe it was one person they feel very connected to or they trust, but of course the rest of the audience feels left out. So I like this tip about practicing at home rather than the mirror but looking at different objects and thinking about it there.


Philipp Humm

On this one, I have actually one that is even quite a notch higher when I prepare for presentations. That really matter. And I often struggle that my voice is a little bit too low. What I do there, I go into the park, I find myself a tree that is about 10 meters away, and I just start giving that presentation to that tree that is 10 meters away. That way I just treat myself to use my voice much more and it's awkward, right? Because people are passing by and they're like, why is this crazy person talking to himself, but it's powerful to just train yourself to speak out loud.




How to deal with embarrassment


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

It's a powerful and it also makes me think about it a challenge. I'm not sure if it's part of this challenge that you have the best, but I know you have done a TED talk about constructive embarrassment. So talk to us about


Philipp Humm

how this relates to talking to this is true. So constructive embarrassment for those of you who've never heard it starts with embarrassment is when you put yourself on purpose in an embarrassing situation. Everyone's like, why would I do this? Or hey, this is pretty awkward. Why should I do this? I have enough embarrassing things in my life. When you put yourself on purpose in the embarrassing situations. You learn how to deal with feelings of judgment. Learn how to feel judgment feeds on your body because think about any time you give a presentation. Why do you deliver it in not the best way? It's because you're scared of what other people think about you and they proceed if you are smart you are and the moment you can stop caring, tiny, tiny bit less. You will be more comfortable on stage and you will you will be much more confident delivering your presentation. Now. Let me give you some examples that it's good example is you ready to go out into the street. Next stranger comes to you and you ask the stranger. Hey, excuse me. Could I give you a hug? If you feel that this is not COVID Come forward or whatever. You can give them a high five or you go to the next Starbucks. Find yourself the cozy spot on the floor Sit down, sit down on the floor or line on the floor. Or what else would stuff have it on lately? recently had the idea from a friend from Saudi from Saudi you go up towards went up to the guy there and I asked him if I could give him my blessing. So I went touched his feet to give him my blessing. We asked him why you to give him your blessing. I just wanted to give you my blessing. So the options are infinity. Honestly, anything that gives you a little goosebumps that is a little bit uncomfortable, are great opportunities to embarrass yourself.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I really liked that, that perspective on health plans and I was trying to furnish that because I think it's so important to put ourselves out there in cultural situations, but we never get the chance to really present to practice a presentation with the same kind of nerves or feeling of judgment, right and in this way it is possible because like six, six years ago I was looking at the option to VR to create an audience you know, visualize an audience so that you can get the same feeling as if you were present to an audience. Because I want to like mimic and stage that representation and but this way, you know, talking to heart out loud during your presentation or the other kind of stuff we've done. You're really practicing the skills. Yeah, presenting and kind of get out of your comfort zone and become more comfortable with the judgment.


Philipp Humm

Yeah. And on this one, you can do it in two ways. Either. The best way is obviously if you do one exercise every day for some time that will change your confidence and how comfortable you are from other people. But another one is if you just want to have a quick fix up. That's right. You can do that before a presentation that matters. So let's say you have a big presentation coming up an hour before you go into a meeting room. It just something awkward in the street in front of strangers. After that match, I can do that I can do anything. For example, when I gave my TED talk a year ago, I had to take the train from Amsterdam to South Midlands in the train. I said no, give a try. I stood up in the train and like, Excuse me, can I have your attention please? I want to say what does he want? And I said I want to sing a song for you. And start singing that song for you. For those of you who know me I'm a terrible singer right and terrible singer. And I sang that song for about a minute long. When I did that when I felt the judgment right everyone was hating it. Everyone was ignoring you. I notice hey, I can do this right now. Easy peasy. Can I be on stage in front of a few 100 people this is harder right now doing this in the subway or it wasn't a subway it was a train that actually being on the stage of teta


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

so you can even use it right in front of a big attention high stakes event or anything that you want to do. I really like that. There must must have been the longest minute of your life which


Philipp Humm

surprisingly is extremely awkward and when you started so super, super awkward. And then if someone has to tell you that I can do this. Amen. I am right out doing something that no one else dares to do. And then you at this point where you're just like, hey,


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Right. Oh, I really love that. Idea. i Oh, people are gonna try it out and people share their their experiences on YouTube or LinkedIn. Because I do believe this makes a difference and we need to do some of these trials together as well.


Philipp Humm

Everyone has a favorites work right now. I was actually looking to start a new challenge 30 days. Exactly.




Best and worst moments of your life.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

So you will see that coming. So when we talk about stories, you know what I hear from many data professionals business stakeholders are that the web at that people are local sizing or they try to include so many details and this is something you read in your book that you should simplify their stories and be concise and so do you have any tips for for my audience and also for me to be more concise and more to the point in the presentation or conversations, pretend stories


Philipp Humm

but for sure for telling stories. And it's a good rule of thumb. Your story in a business setting should be between one and two minutes. Three minutes. It's maybe an incredible story. Once you have let's say a story ready? You want almost write it down once at least the bullets of that and then you want to go line by line and ask yourself is this really this is really needed right now. Right? Does it add any emotions that it doesn't add any surprise anything that makes the story better?

Just cut it right? What I always suggest there is to focus on much less things especially in business wolf giving so much context where they need to understand this, this, this this this and I'd say just go right into that. And if people have a question they usually come back to you and ask you about since a cut down on the context as to services contracts really needed. Are all of these side characters needed all of these million other people that were part of the story or they needed not? And then also are these moments of a non crucial moments that maybe you don't need to tell the story? And say, Would you ask yourself these three things and then it's very easy to cut it down to one two minutes. Try to be very concise. Also one thing that I noticed especially this is communication, is people speak way too complex and laughing and that he uses foreign words to sound extra smart. And then what I learned it's it's pretty subjective team and the smaller the more people use foreign complex language, the less I trust them almost that they're actually qualified because I know they are pretending or trying they're trying hard. The real skill is to speak so that the other person that a kid could understand that right. Your goal should be that a fifth grader understands your presentation, we get that that's the best communication.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

I completely agree. And it's it's hard, right? It's hard to talk in a simple way. I saw this quote last week or a few days ago. That Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. I'm not sure who said that doesn't matter, but I think it was a really nice quote because it shows that, you know, it's it's, it's not easy and if you're managing to communicate your message in simple terms, and that's actually a huge, huge skill.


Philipp Humm

Huge Yeah, it's tough.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Um, is there anything else from the book that we have not covered that you would like to mention you'd like to share about the writing process or about some of the practical insights? Yeah.


Philipp Humm

And same with storytelling people fingered, amen. Not a natural born storyteller. This is so hard for me. I get nervous. What if learned, and I found myself in these situations a few years back a few years back, I was still a terrible public speaker was a terrible storyteller. What I learned actually it's 90% Almost in your own head, right? The moment that you start getting a little bit more comfortable with no through constructive embarrassment, or coming self limiting belief, whatever it is, the moment you start to be uncomfortable with yourself, you know, audience, you can tell incredible stories you can tell incredible stories and huge, amazing presentations. So if anyone is listening and thinking like oh, man, I want to become a better public speaker. I want to become a better storyteller. It's just don't focus on the stuff that people make you believe that Oh, raise your arm this way. Or you stand exactly that way to the fact that right? No one cares about that at the end. You want to you want to learn how to be most comfortable in the moment that matters. That's meditations to overcome his self limiting beliefs, visualizations and constructive embarrassment. Everything that makes him uncomfortable, is excellent research prepared for that.




When can you tell incredible stories


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Wonderful, great tips that people can put into practice. Yeah, I cannot emphasize enough the storytelling is so important, whether it's data professionals or other people, but I would say and especially the professionalism you learn, if you learn a skill if you learn how to communicate your data in simple terms into story, people understand that people will be convinced that your insights matter. Something else I know, I know you did on the personal side as well. And I know you like a chunk of that. So you travel around the world as well to to show your skills and to connect with other people. I was wondering, we haven't really discussed this, but I was just wondering if you see the parallels and the similarity between the Delta dancing and storytelling, or constructive embarrassment, you can take it anywhere else. And


Philipp Humm

yeah, it's actually very close to what I said in the last thing and I'm only starting to learn that right now. Because that's when I started the chapter and completely in my head, but that doesn't lessen working. That's completely my head particularly. What is the mood right now? Emotionally, this dude just in my head, right? What I learned over practicing the chatter for three years I'm starting to be in the moment where I can just enjoy it. Be very comfortable, feel the music be present. be grounded. And all of that stuff. I know it's always sounds a little bit hippie, right? It sounds a little bit spiritual. But the moment that you can start being present, connect with another person, you're not in your own head, then that's incredible for any relationship doesn't matter that it's a chapter within its business, or your girlfriend or boyfriend, whatever it is, right? The moment you start to be present around and try to connect with that other person. That is huge.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

antastic I completely agree. It's a game changer. It sounds a bit abstract, like you mentioned, but it makes all the difference. Because at the end, is there one last takeaway that you would like to share with my audience about, about storytelling, about confidence about book writing the things you have learned?


Philipp Humm

Not to be honest, I would only encourage people Hey, give it a try. Right? I know it's very easy to listen to the podcast, but you learned today two very specific things that you can start writing for UPS one, someone asked you, how are you? You respond with a tiny, interesting fact about yourself? It's option one. Option two is you do something embarrassing, and that can be today, right? You just go into something embarrassing. It can be completely low stakes, but just get yourself a little bit used to a comfortable feeling and do one of these two things, and you will already feel more comfortable to attack any major problems or big goals that you have to lash.




Takeaway


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

Thank you so much. Flawless shout out for your book. Whoo this piece of paper which has more papers from tomorrow onwards, and by the time this is will be published. This podcast won't be published. The book will be out and will have many buyers. So storytelling methods by filling us I'm still messing up your last name, but I think it's sounds better internationally. I know what it's like to have a really complicated name, actually. Yours is reading music. Anyway, I really enjoyed talking with you about storytelling about confidence and lots of practical tips for the audience and takeaway. Let me know what you liked about this episode. And I'll speak too soon again.



Philipp Humm

Thanks for having me.


Gilbert Eijkelenboom

All right, thank you.

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