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Notes from Donald Miller’s Keynote at Echo

This entry was posted on Aug 06 2010

The opportunity to hear Donald Miller speak was one of the main reasons I decided to go to Echo. I read his latest book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, recently and it changed the way I think about life. During and after his session, the #echo10 Twitter stream included some comments from people who were disappointed in his presentation. Even Donald Miller himself tweeted that he “felt ick” about it. I think people were expecting the man who wrote an entire book about the importance of story in our life to tell us stories. Instead, he presented statistics and step-by-step ideas on how to make those stories happen. Once I settled into what he was saying, I was excited that he was giving us all the secret to inspiring ourselves and others to live great stories. I was furiously taking notes through his whole speech. Here’s what I managed to capture:

Donald Miller
Keynote Address – Echo Conference 2010

In his book “Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us,” Daniel Pink reveals what really motivates us. External, financial rewards actually hurt production. Having a clear, altruistic purpose is what really motivates people. (He referred to several other statistics that supported this idea, but I couldn’t catch them all!)

People will buy the story every time. Tom’s Shoes are OK-looking shoes that don’t last very long. They’ve become popular because they have a great story and a goal to help others.

To tell a story that will change the world:

Start planning by creating a Single Climactic Scene

  • This tells the story of the people affected by the project.
  • It is a fully-fleshed, personable end goal with a visual image that is intellectually and emotionally engaging.

Questions to ask as you develop your Single Climactic Scene (SCS):

  • What is the project?
  • What are the outcomes you’re responsible for?
  • Why is this good for your organization, your customers, and your community?
  • Describe one of the scenes that can ONLY happen if you bring about the SCS.

After you’ve written the SCS, ask yourself:

  • From my associates’ perspective, why might the SCS not be engaging?
  • Have I captured a scene that employees and customers can envision?
  • Can my people make an emotional and intellectual connection with the SCS?
  • Does bringing about the SCS mean we’ve accomplished all we are responsible for?

After the SCS is finalized, ask these questions as you begin to work to achieve it:

  • What are the most obvious conflicts that we’ll encounter as we pursue the SCS?
  • List all MAJOR conflicts that you can anticipate. If these go unaddressed, the SCS will not happen. (This step automatically sets priorities.)
  • What is the deadline for the SCS?
  • With that deadline in mind, when must we respond to our anticipated conflicts?
  • Enlist/hire the appropriate characters to overcome the conflicts.

God wants you to take responsibility for your life. Take a risk; tell a hard story.

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