From the Crowd – To the Crowd

Sep 3, 2019

From the Crowd – To the Crowd
Problem: Convey Business Principles So They Will Be Used – Solution: Audio Theater 
What if someone shows you a video of a person walking into an office and sitting down in a chair? You see it all. There’s nothing left for the imagination. All your thinking has been done for you. Every detail has been carefully thought out and presented on the screen. 

Now, what if someone says, “Bill walked into an office and pulled up a chair”? Immediately, your brain searches your memory for a mental image of an office and a chair. What have you done? You have participated in the story by using your mental energy to grab those images from your memory and insert them like props into the story. This is a form of experiential learning. Now you are “tagging” the action and the outcome within your own personal mental files. This mental procurement exercise will make it easier for your to recollect the story and, more importantly, the points about what happened to Bill. 

Mental Association

We’ve all had the scent of a certain flower or the melody of a particular song spark a memory of a past event. This is because we have inadvertently associated and tagged that memory to that scent or that tune when it took place. Memory is based on associations. Hearing a story and mentally procuring the props are a similar, though more conscious, exercise that help us remember and recall lessons when we need them. It’s sort of like, “Oh, I remember from the story what happened to Bill” when you find yourself in a similar situation. And now you are able to use the principles from that story in your business and in your life. 

From the Crowd – To the CrowdThis is the technique our crowd of students and businesspeople told us when we asked them what they liked about audio in general, and about podcasts and audiobooks in particular. We wanted to produce an audiobook from our New York Times bestseller, The Barefoot Spirit, How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart, Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. But we wanted to know more about why audio was suddenly so popular. 

We certainly appreciated the fact that with audio, unlike print or video, you were free to drive or jog because those other media immobilize your mobile device – and you!  But we hadn’t really thought about the mental procurement prop and set tagging that audio story engenders. 

Story as Lesson

What if someone described to you what happened to Bill? But wait! What if Bill had his own voice and interacted with others with their own voices in a skit that brought the action and outcomes to life and thereby demonstrated the business principles? Wouldn’t it be easier to identify with, recall, and utilize those principles? Yes! It would!

The other suggestion coming from our crowd was a desire for story over prescription, action over lecture, …and acting over narration. Imagine, acting! So we decided over a year ago to work with a Hollywood acting ensemble, Sherwood Players Productions, and communications expert Ryan Foland of UC Irvine, to see if we could satisfy all these asks. We had to convert written words into audio script, add music and sound effects. We created an audio play where actors played the parts to entertain with purpose.  

So, like mental prop procurement, story performance creates another kind of tag or association. You become engaged and interested in the story. 

Giving Back

Bonnie likes to say, “Our goal is to get the Barefoot Spirit out to the greatest number of people who can benefit from it.” Our new theatrical-style audio book is our way of doing just that. 

The Barefoot Spirit is the spirit behind the what became a top global brand. It is team spirit. It is fun. It is the spirit of optimism that overcomes obstacles. It’s the spirit of putting yourself in the other person’s shoes. And it’s the spirit of hard work and tenacity that can (and does) move mountains. 

Join Us at CSW Global 2019!

From the Crowd – To the Crowd

Golden Gate Bridge

We are thankful to the crowd for suggesting the form our audio book should take and we are happy to finally convey that spirit back to the crowd through business audio theater. We are excited and grateful to launch this new form of business audiobook at the CSW 2019 Global Conference in San Francisco on September 12th and 13th. Tickets remain available and here is a full agenda. Can’t wait? Check out See you in San Francisco!  

About Author

About Author

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand. Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and Performance-Based Compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

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