I have this joke I use to make a lasting impression when I first meet people. Instead of saying “I have dyslexia”, I say “I have sex daily”. I say it with a totally straight face, which makes people unsure of what I just said.

“You have what?” they ask.

And with the same straight face I say, “I have dyslexia. You know: difficulties reading, a short attention span, mixing up words…”

Most of the victims think it’s funny and do not forget me easily.

Maarten Schäfer - I've sex daily... I mean Dislexia.  Fcuk

Maarten Schäfer – I’ve sex daily… I mean Dislexia. Fcuk!

Having a short attention span is not always a disadvantage. It actually helps for storytelling, and allows me to get straight to the point and skip all the superfluous information.

It forces me to talk to the right side of the brain in emotions or images, instead of feeding the left side of the brain with information.

In 2002 I started interviewing brands and my first question was, “So, what’s your story?” The vast majority of interviewees started giving me a long official account or even showing me PowerPoint presentations. Which for me with my short attention span was of course hard to process.

A few years later it struck me: brand representatives have trouble telling their story for two reasons. One, they know too much. They want to show you all aspects of the brand and therefore can’t distinguish between want to be complete and do not want to leave anything out.

Second, they aren’t dyslexic. They assume everybody has an attention span of 45 minutes or more, so they keep talking and think the information is being absorbed.

“Haven’t they ever heard of information overload?” I asked myself. “People
don’t want more information, they want your story!”

And besides, most people have a genuine distrust of top-down messages and corporate jargon. People trust information from friends and family. Something like 70 or 80% of all purchases are influenced by peer-to-peer communication.

In 2009, I decided to stop interviewing brands and go into third-party storytelling. I will tell the story for the brand. The tone of voice is horizontal, like in peer-to-peer communication. The story is written in a narrative way in which I engineer the main message. The stories are fun to read, easy to
understand and easy to transmit.

Ready for word-of-mouth.

More stories on:

Tags: 80 brands, 80 stories, Around the world, Around the world, around the world in 80 brands, Artist, Brands, Cool, CoolBrands, CoolBrands House, Creating Talk Value, Creative Mind, House, Maarten, Maarten Schafer, Schafer, Story telling Guru, Storyteling Guru, storytelling, Storytelling Artist, The Secret of a Storyteller, third part storytelling.

  1. tj-bard

    Brand Ambassador!!!

    As a student of storytelling myself, i learning to understand and believe what Maarten Schäfer has pointed put here…“People don’t want more information, they want your story!”. The story and how is key.

    Without them knowing. Anouk Pappers and Maarten Schafer are my adopted mentors when it comes to storytelling…Hehehe. Really hope i get to meet them someday.


  2. Rambaldi ( Dotun Akintade)

    Brand Ambassador!!!

    I quite agree with Maarten Schäfer on information overload… People get bored with those stuffs and all they want is something more engaging and puts them on the spot. They want a story that they can easily process and can easily connect with nit your corporate jargons.

    I love the Coolbrands House and how they have made a storytelling an essential part of branding and sincerely i hope to meet you guys someday.


  3. Sei

    Brand Ambassador

    *straight face* “I have sex daily”. lol.

    I love story telling. And I love this story. @Maarten Schäfer: You’ve made a lasting impression and I wont forget you easily either.

    Its true that brand representatives know too much and they want to tell you all they know. On the other hand, Its one thing to tell a brand story, its another to make if fun and easy to remember. Nice to know that you are using dyslexia to such a great advantage.

    Best regards.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: