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Standing Out Through Story with Jeff Bartsch

George Grombacher July 7, 2023

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Standing Out Through Story with Jeff Bartsch

LifeBlood: We talked about standing out through story, the power of narrative throughout history and in business, how to harness the ability to make people feel, and what tools you need to make it happen, with Jeff Bartsch, Founder of Story Greenlight, speaker, author and podcaster.      

Listen to learn how to make change happen through the power of story!

You can learn more about Jeff at, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Jeff Bartsch

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:02
Well, my place is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guests strong and powerful. Jeff Bartz. Jeff, are you ready to do this?

Jeff Bartsch 0:08
Absolutely, man. Looking forward to this.

george grombacher 0:11
All right, let’s go. Jeff is on a mission to empower people with life changing communication skills to convert more fully, or to connect more fully with people that they serve. He’s the founder of story Greenlight. He is a speaker and author and a podcaster. Jeff, I’m excited to have you on tell us a bit about your personal life’s more about your work and why you do what you do.

Jeff Bartsch 0:33
Absolutely, man. Well, so here’s the thing. When we are looking at the idea of business, we all want our business to thrive. And we all know that communication has to work in order for business to work. But it is really, really easy to communicate in ways that fall short. And when our communication suffers, our business suffers. That’s why it is so incredibly important that we elevate the way we communicate so that we can create human connection in the process, because I’m a firm believer that business may run by the numbers, but business is ultimately sustained by people. So when it comes to communication, most people they look at my bio, and they say, Oh, well, you spent 20 years in Hollywood, us, you know, you’ve created content and shaped stories and content for ABC and NBC and universal and Disney and apple. And they say, Oh, well, that’s where you learned about storytelling and communication. I say well, yes. But in terms of your question about a little bit about me, it actually started 40 years ago, when I was four years old, taking classical piano lessons. And as I learned more and more I loved doing Bach and Mozart, because they were super clean, super technical. You could play the notes on the page. And you could everyone say No, everyone would say, Oh, Jack, you’re amazing. Until there’s one day, there’s a lady at my church, she was one of the church musicians, she came up to me and said, Jeff, it’s all well and good to play the notes on the page. But when you get older, you’re gonna you need to learn to play from your soul. Now, I was, I was in elementary school at that point, I was about 10 or 11 years old. And I thought that was a stupidest thing I’ve ever heard in my life. So, so I ignored her until I kept learning more about how to play the piano and how to communicate with the piano in a way that people start changing how they responded to me. And so instead of Oh, Jeff, you’re such an amazing piano player. Good job. It turned into Jeff, the way you played that song made me think about the words in a new way. And especially on Sunday mornings, I was doing a lot of piano playing in church, every once in a while someone would say, Jeff, the way you played that song brought me into an encounter with God today. Thank you. Thank you, thank you. And I began to realize that that lady was right, that there is another level beyond just playing the notes on the page. And that’s what I’ve been learning to do ever since including 20 years in Hollywood. And that’s what I help people do now.

george grombacher 3:05
That’s powerful. Somebody comes up to you and says that to you.

Jeff Bartsch 3:09
You know, there are a lot of kids who just would completely blow that off. And just completely forget about it and not even listen. And I would I would probably be that kid. But for some reason. I think that message was just supposed to stick to us was is just supposed to stick with me. Because obviously it has. Yeah.

george grombacher 3:31
So learning to play from your soul elevate the way that we communicate. And that’s obviously applicable to, to most every interaction that we have with people if we’re in a sales situation, or customer service, or if I’m having a conversation with my loved ones. Yeah, well, and that’s the challenge, because it’s such a wide ranging, all encompassing thing.

Jeff Bartsch 3:58
It’s like, it’s like, everyone talks about skinning, you know, people might talk about, oh, I have a business that sells skincare products. So well, who’s your who’s your customer, everyone, because everyone has skin that’s kind of like, well, we all communicate. So we all need to learn about communication, but it’s because of that it’s so familiar. We do it all the time. And it’s so easy to sleep on it, especially, especially when it comes to creating human connections in business. And so that’s really where I like to help people or my team and I like to help people dial that in within their business. So as you say, either it can be external one to many with marketing, it can be it can be when a sales context one to one or it can be internal. If you’re a solopreneur it can actually really there’s a very legitimate conversation going on inside your head. That’s that’s a very real thing. But then when you have a team and you have employees then communication internally becomes much Much more important than we a lot of people realize.

george grombacher 5:04
So funny, like, What do you mean, I need to work on my communication? I do it all the time. Yeah. Like, well, like all the time.

Jeff Bartsch 5:14
Yeah, it’s one of those things. But when you think about okay, well, where are where are the high value? Communications? Where are those critical, important communications? And how are we doing in those moments? And what kind of tools are we bringing to bear in those critical conversations? That’s, that that’s the that’s the kind of thought process that I like to help people go down. Because you’re absolutely right. We’re communicating all the time. So it’s easy to you know, it’s easy to splatter and just doesn’t may not feel like it’s this big, important, powerful thing. But man, we have all experienced powerful communication before. And it can actually be really intimidating to say, Okay, well, that’s something for them. I mean, they’re, they’re talking on the TED Talk stage, they’re giving keynotes there, they have this amazing magical gift. And I’m here to tell you, there is a certain level of propensity that some people have towards that. But all of it boils down to skills. And if it’s all about skills, skills can be learned by anyone.

george grombacher 6:28
I think that that’s such a powerful thing. And I couldn’t agree more. And I mean, there’s levels to everything. If we’re talking about martial arts, I started out as a white belt, and then I progressed along. And why is communication any different? And it’s absolutely not, it’s super easy to just stay at a basic level and be good. But what could be different? If you did learn and apply these skills? How much more effective would you

Jeff Bartsch 7:00
be? Yeah, absolutely. I mean, and a lot of people might think that when it comes to this stuff, when it comes to things like storytelling, which I like to elevate the idea to strategic storytelling, you know, a lot of people might think that oh, well, that, you know, keep going with the martial arts idea. Well, this this guy is he’s a black belt, or she’s a black belt in storytelling and communication, I could never be like that, well, we are all white belts in different areas of our lives. And we’re all black belts in different areas of our lives. And what a lot of the time that the clients that I work with, they are they are Logis sevens degree blackbelts, in their industry expertise, yet, they have come to the realization that they don’t, that they are not even close to that in their communication. And so it’s such a privilege to help people say, Okay, you have this whole world, these wealth, this lifetime of experience. Now, let’s distill that into powerful communication moments that really connect with the right people when you need to.

george grombacher 8:12
So what are some of those high value critical communications?

Jeff Bartsch 8:17
pitches, presentations, conversations on podcasts, public appearances, emails to the whole list, get featured posts on your LinkedIn profile, the About Me video on your website, anything that is putting you as an expert in front of the public, and they say, Okay, you have information. Awesome. So does everyone else? Why should I listen? Why should I care? Why should I choose you? That is an important communication moment.

george grombacher 8:56
And super easy to just be crossing those off now. Did it did it did it? And I mean, that’s probably what happens more often than not, and it’s good, but it could be so much better.

Jeff Bartsch 9:10
Well, I mean, and the challenges you have, it used to be, you know, you know, with my, with my career in Hollywood, everyone was in a place where people would come to Hollywood and say, Please, can you please let me tell my story on your platform? You know, it’s it’s one of those things, you’re coming to the gatekeepers. You’re coming to a studio head or a television executive and saying, Okay, please, can you can you grant me permission to share my message to the world on your platform? And so they’re all these gatekeepers? And of course, those gatekeepers do still exist and they’ve evolved, but the world of communication has completely flipped upside down to the point where it If you have a phone with a camera on it and an internet connection, you now have the network. And so everyone is now empowered to say something. And everyone is, and it’s the really, really noisy place out there. So the question is, how do you stand out? How do you say, this is what I’m about? This is what my business stands for. This is why I do what I do. And this is why you are the perfect fit to engage with our business, our product, our service, instead of everyone else who does what we do.

george grombacher 10:37
So is the correct question, what are those tools that we need to master or incorporate?

Jeff Bartsch 10:45
That’s a fantastic question, which I will say you George asked lots of great questions. I had sip and huge respect to you. I’ve been listening to a bunch of your episodes. You’re a great, great listener and a great question asker. I would say the I would say one of the one of those big questions is what are the tools that are most important and most applicable in any given situation. Because if you try to take the tools that a Hollywood screenwriter uses to write 120 Page screenplay, most of the times, you will not even get out of the gate in business, because Hollywood talks about long format. Business, nine out of 10 times we’re talking short format. So within that, within that context, it is it’s a hugely encouraging thing for anyone who wants to learn how to communicate succinctly and powerfully, especially in a story format, because you don’t have to have a three act structure with 82 plot points, you can have three, you can have something as simple as your while I always tell my people that the definition of a story is where a character wants something overcomes obstacles to get it and experiences transformation. As a result, you can boil that down. It’s desire, obstacles, or conflict and change. And if you had to, if someone said, Jeff, what is the definition of what’s the most important thing about telling a powerful story? Two words show change. That is the core of powerful storytelling and communication right there. Now is all communication story. No, it’s not. There are other tools for that. But that’s, you know, that’s where you go down the rabbit hole. And you say, okay, so what is this powerful communication moment that I want to have happen? What are the tools? Which one is the right fit for this moment?

george grombacher 12:49
I love frameworks. And I like simplicity, even though obviously, once you dig in, it becomes very, very complicated and complex, but

Jeff Bartsch 12:58
it can. Sorry, I totally interrupted you.

george grombacher 13:02
No, not at all. It’s unnecessary, but it can but just be able to show this is the change that I’m assuming that you are interested in this is the change I make happen. And let’s find out if you are also someone who could experience this or if this is the change you’re interested in whatever it is.

Jeff Bartsch 13:25
Absolutely, I mean, because when you look at the big picture, storytelling feels so familiar, because we are all living a story ourselves. This is what we’re all doing. Every single moment of every day of our lives, we are characters, we want things, we are running into obstacles, and we want to see changes happen. This is why storytelling, strategic storytelling is so powerful, because it taps into the very existence of who we are as human beings. So when we can align our knowledge of who we are, who our businesses who our product, what our product or services, and how that comes alongside our clients or our prospects, who are the heroes of their own story. And we can be the guide to to help them get what they want. So they can experience the change. We are literally agents of change in the world. We have the possibility to use our business to bring positive change to the world. And that is an incredibly powerful thing. Agreed.

george grombacher 14:32
Are there when when you’re talking to people, do you ever hear well, that doesn’t work for our industry. We don’t need to you know tell stories to get people to to do

Jeff Bartsch 14:43
this? Well, it is very easy to think that especially in the b2b world, because God help us b2b is where human connection and marketing goes to die a very slow, boring death way too often. But man, when you think about who does business serve, business serves people who makes the decisions in business, people make decisions in business. It is ultimately all about people. And so if we can, if we can communicate in ways that help people get what they want, it is ultimately about helping people get that and see that change in their life. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling toothpaste, whether you’re selling asphalt, it doesn’t matter whether you’re selling annuities, or you’re selling dental fillings, it all comes down to people and helping people get what they want. And

george grombacher 15:43
that is that is the fundamental purpose of an enterprise. It’s, I’m in a lawsuit, oh my gosh, I want to get out of this problem and move past it and not have to worry about it, I want financial peace of mind and not worrying about my money running out I am, I need to help my sales team to to close more deals it is, I want a change. I want this is this is what I’m looking for. And if we’re able to craft that, then people recognize that Jeff is a person that can help me deliver this.

Jeff Bartsch 16:24
Well, I mean, some people will realize that ultimately, the goal is for people to realize it for that for themselves. And to realize that and and to help their clients and their customers realize that for themselves.

george grombacher 16:40
So I realized for myself that, that I can help somebody to make that change.

Jeff Bartsch 16:45
Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. Because so often, we talk about young people talk about in sales and marketing. People talk about don’t sell the don’t sell the products, sell the features, but they say don’t sell the features, sell the benefits. And and really, a lot of people talk about, you know, the classic, the classic iPod campaign with Apple where they said were everyone else was saying we have mp3 players, you’re Ken Scott honored 28 megabytes of storage and everyone. Everyone says, Who is it? How much is that. And then along comes apple and says you can fit 1000 songs in your pocket. Everyone says, Oh, I get it. But really what I want to help people understand is it’s not just about the 1000 songs in your pocket. It’s about what that means for you. It’s about the feelings. When you saw those commercials back in the day, and you saw those silhouettes jumping around and spinning around and waving their arms and running down the street. It was not just about having 1000 songs in your pocket. It was about the joy of having the freedom of the soundtrack of your music and your life. That was really what drove that and what that’s what people connect to. And so when you there’s a concept that I talked about at story, Greenlight, it’s the idea of the thing under the thing. We don’t just talk about the things that’s on the surface, it’s talking about, okay, what can we connect that to? What are the deeper level things that human beings always care about? How can we connect what we do to that deeper stuff. And that is when you start helping people feel things. And when you feel help people feel things about what they care about? They start caring about you your product or your service or your message. And they are far more likely to say yes. So

george grombacher 18:38
what does that process look like when somebody knocks on your door? And they say, Hey, I heard you on this podcast. I, I see the opportunity here. I feel like I’m operating at, you know, I’m at 25%, I want to get closer to 100. What does that engagement look like?

Jeff Bartsch 18:56
It depends on the person, it depends on what they are wanting to see happen. It depends on how they’re showing up in the world. It depends on what are those crucial moments that that really move the high leverage crucial moments in their business. For instance, right now I’m working with some CFOs. And they have deep industry experience. They can do a cash flow projection with their eyes closed. But when it comes to the idea of really succinctly and powerfully communicating what they do, and representing their company, to, to attract new clients, that’s where they want to grow. And that’s where we’re focusing right now. So it’s really something that ends up being tailored to the person and who they are, and what they want to see happen and how they’re showing up in the world.

george grombacher 19:52
That makes sense. And when we’re inside the jar, we can’t read what’s on the label.

Jeff Bartsch 19:57
And so it’s incredibly difficult to do that

george grombacher 20:01
I see so much value in, in, in having a sounding board partner to sort of, like, just walk me through those things that you just described. And because I live in, you know, I’m swimming and kind of a thing. So being able to get that other set of eyes to guide me through that process of, of pulling it out of me of what I’m actually doing for other people,

Jeff Bartsch 20:24
I’ll tell you, it is really, really difficult to pull those pull what I call Power Stories, it’s really difficult to pull them out, just by yourself. It’s not impossible, but is very, very difficult. And that’s why it is so it is so incredibly powerful to have someone who can come alongside and help you do that. And so that you can communicate that in a genuine way that you know, deep in your gut, because you’ve lived it. You are this, you know this and when you communicate with that kind of a passion and confidence and clarity. People get that and people hear that.

george grombacher 21:01
And then what Jeff, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you? How can they engage?

Jeff Bartsch 21:07
Yeah, listeners of lifeblood have a special link just for you. It is at story That story And we have a link to my podcast there if you want to keep listening and continue being part of the conversation, got some resources there on how to start unlocking stories for yourself. And of course, when you come to the point where you’re ready for some help, there’s ways to get in touch with us there so you can work with us to have it.

george grombacher 21:38
If you enjoyed as much as I did show Jeff, your appreciation and share today’s show with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to story And check out all the resources and tools Jeff’s making available. Listen to the podcast. And if the timing is right or even if it’s not happy, have a conversation to find out how much further along you can be in your desire and ability to influence others and do better work. So thanks again, Jeff. Thank you, man. And until next time, remember, do your part doing your best

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