Geography was never my strongest subject, but it wasn’t my weakest either.
At least, I didn’t think so, until I got introduced to someone who lived in a place that made me pause for a moment and ask myself,
“Wait… that’s a real place?”
I’m not proud of that, but at least what I lacked in geographic knowledge I made up for momentarily in resourcefulness, and I went straight to Google Maps.
There it was: The Isle of Man.
A single island in the Irish Sea between England and Ireland, it has all of 222 sq.mi (just a little smaller than Chicago) and 83k inhabitants (just a little larger than Bismark, ND.)
25 years ago, this week’s Speaking to Influence podcast guest, Chris Hall went to the Isle of Man to help build (and later lead) Manx Telecom and ended up putting down roots there, eventually co-founding Stacuity, Ltd.
But as Chris soon discovered, small islands, with their small-island traditions and small-island locations, came with big business challenges. Just to name a few:
- Upon arrival in the late 1990s, they discovered that leaders and inhabitants alike on the island “didn’t believe in the internet.”
- In the early 2000s, Manx used the Isle of Man as the test site for 3G mobile technology in Europe (3G made the leap for cell phones to stream data), and the world was watching… literally.
- Later in 2021, as a well-established telecom executive, he co-founded Stacuity, Ltd., with new and groundbreaking technology in the space of the “Internet of Things” (IoT), and ran into two other barriers: age bias and geographic bias.
Wait – what kind of bias?
Well, in an industry in which the stereotypical image of the successful “unicorn” tech founders are Zuckerberg-like, hoodie-wearing, 20-somethings in Silicon Valley and similar hubs, Chris found that investors were dubious about investing in a white-haired, middle-aged, self-proclaimed tech expert who lived out “on a rock” that they’d never heard of… or at best had heard of but still couldn’t likely find on a map.
He had to establish his credibility all over again.
How did he eventually break through each of these barriers and get to “Yes?”
Ushering in not just one but TWO technological paradigm shifts in his career, (the internet era, and the IoT era) one of the lessons Chris both learned and taught was about the utterly essential power of storytelling.
Chris explained how he regularly had to leverage the power of storytelling when facing those who were reluctant to embrace change. Most importantly, he explained, stories have a way of making concepts relatable and relevant.
But why do they work so well?
That’s exactly what I will be digging into tomorrow (Wednesday, October 4th) on LinkedIn Live is with Dr. Jenni Byrne, MD, in our conversation, “Stick the Landing: How to Pitch with Confidence and Impact.”
Dr. Jennie is a neuropsychiatrist, and we’ll be looking at how we’re wired to listen to stories, and why we need to use them when we’re pitching our business, our product or service, or even ourselves, like during an interview or annual review.
And how do we do that with confidence, without accidentally sounding arrogant, and still being our authentic selves in the process?
Yeah, you’ll definitely want to join us for this conversation.
You can register for the event here.
And just for fun, tune in to Marco Torres’s “Marketing Boost” podcast, as Marco and I dig into the role of speech in marketing.
From using your voice and body language to project confidence, to strategies for connecting with your ideal market or audience every time you speak, this was a high-energy conversation that was jam-packed with content.
But first – go ahead and ask Siri where the Isle of Man is. You know you want to…