Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible
You have a terrific idea—an amazing product, an incomparable service, a bulletproof business model—and you know it is so powerful that it could change a life, a market, or even the world.
There’s just one problem: others can’t or don’t see its power… yet. That’s what my guest on today’s show can help you with.
Tamsen Webster has spent the last twenty years helping experts drive action from their ideas. Part message strategist, part storyteller, part English-to-English translator, her work focuses on how to find and build the stories partners, investors, clients, and customers will tell themselves—and others.
Tamsen honed her expertise through work in and for major companies and organizations like Johnson & Johnson, Harvard Medical School, and Intel, as well as with startups that represent the next wave of innovation in life science, biotech, climate tech, fintech, and pharma. She’s a professional advisor at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and a mentor for the Harvard Innovation Labs. She’s also served for over eight years as executive producer and idea strategist for one of the oldest locally organized TED Talk events in the world (TEDxCambridge).
In our discussion, we talk about how to make your big ideas irresistible and storytelling for non-storytellers. Enjoy the show.
Artificial Intelligence Generated Transcript
Below is a machine-generated transcript and therefore the transcript may contain errors.
So Tamsen Webster, welcome to the show. Lovely to have you with us today. James Taylor, I’m delighted to be here.
Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible
Thanks so much for having me.
How To Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible
Now, I actually just recommended your book to someone this morning that we’re going to be talking about, which is find your red thread. So I should probably give a little bit of context to it. This person contacted me when a new member of their team was going to have to give their first kind of proper kind of like sales like presentation. And emailed me said, James, I want to get them to train and get them a book or get them something, what should I do? And I was thinking, maybe like Joseph Campbell’s book where the hero’s journey, as I said, this is gonna scare the living daylights out of them. And so I actually suggested your book, because it’s a really approachable way I feel of the kind of getting into this kind of world of storytelling. So we probably can get into it. We would love to know like, just give us a little bit of background on you. For the people that don’t know you haven’t seen your things online or read any of your books yet.
World Of Storytelling
Tamsen Webster 2:28
Sure. Well, I that my joking, not joking answer is that I’m an English to English translator is how I characterize my work. The more official answer is that I’ve spent 25 years now and branded message strategy, helping mostly experts be able to translate their ideas into language and concepts that people can understand and ultimately agree with and act on. So lots of background in marketing and, and branding, and all sorts of different ways. And I’m sure we can get into some of those things. But I am endlessly fascinated by how it is that people make a decision to create a permanent change in thinking or behavior. And so all my work is really about that, and about how to help other people create those long term changes in thinking or behavior and other people. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 3:23
Now something that really surprised me, is this book find your red thread, it only came out this year. Yes. I was gonna amaze it, because I’ve been talking to people about telling them about you and the red thread for like years now. So take us back where did this idea kind of come about, because this has obviously been germinating building. And I’m just so surprised that the book is only available now to the general public.
Tamsen Webster 3:47
It is, that’s because I’m also a master procrastinator and a perfectionist. And, and I would say just a quick story on that as it’s easy to get sucked in by what everybody tells you a book needs to be or should be. And sometimes you can, like just absolutely get paralyzed under the weight of those expectations. But the idea itself really started about five years ago, it didn’t have its name yet. But I was in a position in addition to my full-time job working at an advertising agency, actually in charge of their digital and social strategy. I was also the executive producer of TEDx Cambridge, which is one of the oldest and one of them, what’s known as now legacy level TEDx events in the world. And I, for reasons we don’t need to go into I suddenly needed to come up with a way, a new way to help these academic scholars, these people with these amazing beautiful big ideas. explain those ideas. essentially take their entire life’s work and explain it in a compelling idea worth spreading kind of way, in only three to 18 minutes and I was only going to have myself a few months with them to be able to do that. So I went looking for, okay, when it comes to how people make decisions, there is there are very specific things that happen in our brains that allow that to happen. There are very specific ways that our brain processes information. And that way that our brain processes information ends up being in a lot of ways, like a universal language, because all of us translate information this way. So what is this magical thing? Well, it’s story structure. As you might have imagined, James, it’s part of, you know, it’s the structure of stories that helps to make really great stories irresistible. But what I discovered, and really what my hypothesis was, was that any information put into that structure, whether told or a story or as a story or not, would, in fact, have the same impact appeal and effectiveness of a story. And I’m happy to say that four and a half years later, that seems to be true. That that you can, in fact, put any information into the structure of a story. And whether or not it’s a god, one once upon a time and rising action, falling action, or any of that. It is it will be more easily and readily understood and ideally acted on by the people who listen to it. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 6:34
It’s funny I was, I was thinking the other day, I was doing a talk the other day, and it’s really a Canadian client. So I was kind of geeking out on Canadian history, which I know nothing about. So, but one of the things I was I was learning about was this Mazur, nor pictograph pictographs that they have in Algonquin tribes, they have like Ontario’s just over the border from where you are in Canada. And they had these caves, these pictographs these marginal pictographs in a park there is called Bonn, eco Provincial Park, and escalate these cave drawings that you can sometimes see, I just thought storytelling is so hardwired into us, as humans. And I was just I was thinking we used to make the writing the book, for example, you know, we’ve, we’ve kind of only been doing the right thing, like 5000 years is a pretty new concept to us as humans. But we’ve been doing this, like speaking talking thing for about 100 250,000 years. So we’re kind of a little bit better at this as well. So, um, I mentioned like, when you were kind of getting into this whole world of storytelling, who were your kind of inspirations because it’s, it’s one of those fields where you can go very deep, deep, yes, very easy and kind of get lost. And I think for a lot of people, maybe executives, organizations, they have to go and get that speech, and they start getting into this world of storytelling is suddenly feel like, Whoa, this is like overwhelming. And I think one of my things, but your book and your method, red thread method here is it does have that kind of structure, as well. So when you get in who you’ll be kind of inspirations for this moment of storytelling?
Methods Of Storytelling
Tamsen Webster 8:12
Well, the immediate inspiration was the people that I was working with, which were, you know, on my full-time job side, which were busy executives who, who needed to figure out like, how do we tell the story of our company and these academics and scholars, most of whom didn’t feel like they knew about a story they knew the story was like a good thing to do. But they didn’t feel that they themselves are natural storytellers. And you’re right. So, you know, I knew the story was important. I went looking for exactly that kind of information. I said, Well, how do you? How do you do this? Like, how do you make this easy? How do you operationalize the idea of a story, because there’s a lot of information about what a story is, and what it does, and what characterizes the story? But there really is not a lot of information about how to actually create one. And so my goal was to create essentially a structure for storytelling for non-storytellers. I mean, it’s useful for people who are very comfortable in that area as well. But I wanted storytelling for non-storytellers. So I looked at it, and it looked for the kinds of people who were giving that kind of how-to advice on a story. And what I found was there they do exist. But the people were that were most useful to me in this were really three authors. The first was Shawn Coyne, who is the editor of Steven Pressfield. And he wrote this very thick, very meaty book called The story grid, which is I will I adore this book and it is you have to love story to like it’s -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 9:47
the best like the full SCAP method. I seem to remember that. Yeah. It’s like a very narrative style,
Tamsen Webster 9:54
very narrative style. And he really breaks down just this idea that you know, that that, you know, there are genres and There are tropes about how stories can be structured and there, they need to be structured in a certain way. And then all the pieces need to be there. And I loved it. And I was like, and this is for a novel or movie length. And this is excessive for me and my pharmacist for, you know, content updates and Ted Talks. So I went looking for Zuko Wolf, who else develops content at this length? screenwriters. So movie writers right there, there, they are building for an hour and a half to typically. So 90 minutes, but even so there’s probably about 60 minutes of dialogue. I mean, Quentin Tarantino movie or whatever, there’s a lot more but, um, but also, I was looking at TV writers. So this is partially informed by the sister, the fact that my sister is a TV and movie screenwriter. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 10:55
A very successful one as well, she is yes.
Tamsen Webster 10:59
And so I kind of went into that world a little bit. And so some of the other authors that were really helpful was Blake Snyder, and he wrote this great series of books called to save the cat. And that was very much about kind of a framework for planning out the feature-length films, like what elements needed to be there. And he also picked up on this kind of genre trope idea that Shawn Coyne talks about. And then the last one, which was a recommendation to me from my sister, was a woman named cam Miller, who wrote a book called The hero succeeds. And what I took from all of these books was that it was possible to create a starting structure for a story that had infinite possibilities from there. I mean, all of them were very clear that this wasn’t about like formula. It wasn’t about like, fill in the blank. Blake Snyder gets accused of that sometimes, then I could see how that critique could be leveled. But I said to myself, like, well, if this exists, and is successful for TV writing, book writing, movie writing, why couldn’t I create something that was similar for more business applications, like what would be the business equivalent of that kind of framework or structure, and the red thread was the result. So it’s very much the child and heavily informed by your Shawn Coyne, Blake, Blake Snyder, Kane Miller. And with all of that, of course, all of that’s derivative of Robert McKee. But I didn’t come to Robert McKee until later.
James Taylor 12:25
So that so your storyteller, your sister’s a storyteller? And if you’ve got another kind of siblings as well, like, Is it something in the water in Massachusetts that
Tamsen Webster 12:35
we didn’t grow up there? Yeah, I think it’s actually that we have an anthropologist for a mother. So that’s it. And we had a military father so that the two of us were and she more than I was uprooted and replanted fairly often fairly early. And you combine that I think this is my guess about this, my belief about this. You combine that with a mother who’s naturally wired to observe people and interactions and Cetera, your young child who has that kind of ethos around them all the time, you’re having to figure out how to navigate a situation fairly quickly. And I think you end up creating your own ways of doing that. So my sister was is definitely very much a world builder. You know, her. Her genre is generally science fiction, and she’s an executive producer of The Handmaid’s Tale, and she’s now working on Demimonde, which is JJ Abrams’s new show. She’s showrunner for that. And I took a bit more of use the word earlier operationalizing I just was always trying to figure out what’s the most efficient way for me to feel rooted and understand the situation and operate within it as quickly as possible. And so you know, I came to storytelling late frankly, part of the reason why I was so interested in sex starting to explore it so deeply within the last 10 years was that I didn’t feel that I was good at it. And it felt like I needed to be good at it in order to do what I did. And that’s where my frustration led me to say there isn’t this book that I want on storytelling doesn’t exist the book on how to find the through-line of a message on how to find and really find and articulate the power of an idea like that. I just maybe it does exist I couldn’t find it. And so it really left me with no other option than to say well, let me figure this out for myself see if it works, and then I’ll once I’m sure that it works, I’ll capture that book for -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 14:41
Brad you saying that you know, the army kid as well. Something I noticed a lot of Army Navy, Navy sorry, apologies. Any of my friends at Annapolis watching this? apologies. So, if something I noticed with a lot there’s any like kids all kids have a lot of ex-pats that travel around a lot They tend to be quite good pretty quickly read a room. Yeah. And understand what we were classed as understanding the audience. Yeah. And, and kind of like figure out kind of what that audience is, I know that. I feel like Simon Sinek would say start with y start with the y and something. But something like a Nancy Duarte would perhaps say, actually start with the audience. Like, who is the audience that you’re trying to convince? Yeah, so I’m interested in your take because you work with all these TEDx-style speakers as well as executives. Is there a difference there? Because I imagine a lot, you know, executives are having to give a that big presentation, that big sales presentation, give that keynote, for example, then not so interested in maybe the why, and maybe more interested in the I need to know who I’m speaking to, to make sure this message can land with this audience?
Tamsen Webster 15:47
Yeah, I think the connective tissue between those two is, lies in a couple of things. One is to remember that Simon Sinek, was originally talking about a kind of internal messaging, that his great TEDx talk was titled How great leaders inspire action. And it wasn’t with the external folks, it was like internally. And even though the big takeaway line from that is that people don’t buy what you do they buy, why you do it. I disagree with that at some level, because people actually have to want what you do before they care about why you do it. And that, to me, is where the link to Nancy’s work in the audience comes in. Because in order for someone to agree to an idea, so if you’re an executive, and you’re trying to figure out how to get you to know, you’ve got something that you want people to think or do coming out of your, you know, your yearly sales meeting with your high performers, or whatever, you, you know, who’s in the audience, you know, your idea. But in order for them to be convinced of your idea, you need to build their case for it. So, yeah, you need to understand you’re why because that helps you feel grounded. But really importantly, you need to understand your audience’s why would they care about what they do? Again, not for the reasons you think they should care? But why would they care given how they look at the world? And why would they agree, and so this is really the big shift that if I have any kind of lasting effort, you know, effect in the marketplace, I would hope that it just starts to see this idea that the most powerful use case that you can build is not your case for your ideas. It’s your audience’s case for your ideas, and really understanding how it is that they see the world. So that when you explain, not just your way, but why you do what you do the way that you do it, because we actually need all of that before it will read is something that’s really it really is key to start with. How does this person see me now? How do they see this idea? Now? Where are they now? -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 17:54
I’m James Taylor, business creativity and innovation keynote speaker and this is the SuperCreativity Podcast. If you enjoy listening to conversations with creative thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs, artists, authors, educators, and performers then you’ve come to the right place. Each week we discuss their ideas, life, work, successes, failures, creative process, and much more. You’ll find show notes for today’s episode as well as free creativity training at jamestaylor.me.
If you are enjoying learning about Tamsen Webster, then check out my interview with Professor Roger Kneebone where we discuss why experts matter and how to develop mastery in your chosen profession.
Hear my conversation with Roger Kneebone at JamesTaylor.me
After the break, we return to my interview with Tamsen Webster where we discuss her top books on storytelling.
This week’s episode is sponsored by SpeakersU, the online community for international speakers. SpeakersU helps you launch, grow and monetize your speaking business faster than you thought possible. If you want to share your message as a highly paid speaker, then SpeakersU will teach you how. Just go to speakersu.com to access their free speaker business training.
But that also picks up on your kind of maybe anthropological background as your mother. Because I would just think as you’re saying that is also I mean, I love to start with when Simon Sinek stuff. But I also sometimes think things need to pass the grunt test to see Yeah, so like, you know, our brain. I mean, I think like the average human, we’re using about two and a half 1000 calories a day, our brain is using about 12 150 of those calories a day. So our brain is always very good at trying to find ways to save energy to save. So there’s not burning sugar in things. So you know, web designers have known this for years. You know how AI works. When you land on a page, you’ve got a say immediately, like, how is this either going to save me in terms of survival? Yep, was how’s it gonna help me kind of thrive and you can go into almost those instinctual ways that we can operate and then you can like thread in your thing, but I’m always I’m always Thinking and I guess social media is like probably the worst culprit on this when you just go you know watch on Tick Tock and it’s just going straight for that every single time is that that’s it there’s a there’s a lack of depth into there in your in your methodology you talk about these these components and especially the framework which is starts with the goal identified the goal that the problem that you’re you’re trying to solve the truth the change and then providing actions and then you just kind of go we visited and you’re gonna have to get a copy of the book which can go into depth on this but yeah, the one I was really I was I thought you were yours was different from our sometimes use this idea of for peace, so that you come out with it any type of presentation, you start with the position, where are we now then you move them to the problem this is what the real problem is may not be the problem. You think it was right. And then your mission to the possibilities, you know, the image, you know, the Nancy Duarte or the Dr. Martin Luther King, this is where we are now But imagine if and then finally say the proposals. Were yours was a little bit different. I thought was that bit between the truth and the change? Yes. Can you describe because I think is something that you have a USP and you’re different from how other people talk about structuring kind of think about presentations?
Moment In Every Story
Tamsen Webster 21:22
So the the the truth, which is so named, it’s because it draws from that moment and all stories where there’s a moment of truth. So it’s a shortening of that. And I would say I love that you went there because that to me is is the element of story and message, particularly in a business standpoint, that is dropped out the most. Because what ends up happening is we can essentially present problem, you know, you know, as just reading this great article, but we present problem solution, and then benefits. But what we miss is the inarguable reason why that problem is such a problem that it must be solved in a specific way. And we try to kind of spackle that over and plaster that glows cracks with like, Don’t pay attention to that just look at all the great things that you’re going to get. But in every great story, there’s a wonderful word for this a Greek word for it, that I discovered, as I was doing the research for the book, called the Anak neurosis. And it’s just it’s another word for that moment of truth, that point of no return that moment in every story where, you know, as officially defined, and ignores is the moment where the character recognizes the true nature of their circumstances. And it is in that moment, because they’re like, Oh, my gosh, this is how the world really is. And this is what’s actually happening, that at that moment, in a story, it creates an extraordinary conflict, internally, as psychologists call it cognitive dissonance, because it forces a choice, because if somebody still wants the thing that they want the thing that I call the goal, and they agree that they have been looking at, you know, doing certain things in a certain way. And, you know, they believe this true nature of their circumstances, then something in there is going to be in conflict with each other. In other words, if they if this is in fact, the true nature, their circumstances. And it probably means that in order to succeed, like they, if they continue doing what they were doing before they actually cannot get what they want like they will not be it will not be possible for them to achieve that goal. And the example they use in the book is one of my favorites is the De Beers diamond tagline of a diamond is forever, which to me is the perfect truth statement. Or at least it’s a perfect example of a true statement. Because it really exhibits exactly this that I’m talking about. I mean, think of it this way. Back in 1947. When this tagline first existed, it was developed in two beers wanted to increase its market for diamonds. And so if we look at it and say, Okay, well what is it? What was the goal? What is it that people buying engagement rings wanted at a time where they wanted the best symbol of their commitment? Now the real problem is I like to define it that that got introduced was that people were looking for diamonds through the lens of excuse me looking for these rings through the lens of that the ring is the symbol of forever, you know that an unbroken circle a circle has no beginning and no end was a circle or forever. DeBeers wanted them to focus on the kind of ring. So this tension between the ring and the kind of ring the thing they weren’t paying attention to kind of ring is what De Beers needed to use. This is why this tagline of a diamond is forever was so powerful because think of what happens, first of all, I mean, it’s one of the criteria that I like to have in there for truth. Same interest that most people would agree that it’s true. Literally, engineers often fight me on this, but it’s really hard to destroy your diamond. So when someone hears a diamond is forever, they’re like, Well, yes, based on my education experience and intuition, that is a true thing. It’s a literal truth statement. But when is brought into the story that’s been built of, I want the best symbol of my commitment, you know, of our commitment. And I’ve only been focusing on the ring itself, the circle of metal when I’m told that a diamond is forever. And I agree that that’s true. You see, suddenly, there’s a conflict there, you’re like, Huh, well, if I only pay attention to the circle of metal, and I, but I also agree that a diamond is forever, then if I don’t pay attention to the diamond, I’m not going to get the thing that I want, I’m not going to get the best symbol of my commitment. But if I do pay attention to the diamond, then I can like double down on the forever I can have a forever Forever reign because they don’t have a forever circle of metal for that forever diamond on it. Look punny, I’ve got the best symbol. That’s why it can be so powerful. And so you know, when I’m working with people on this, oftentimes, the truth is, is it and the problem pair, as I like to call it are the two hardest things to find, mostly because
we already believe those things to be true ourselves. And it’s if they end up being such baseline assumptions for how we see the world that we forget that we need to articulate them, clearly to other people. And so yeah, to me, this is like the truth is everything. And it can be very subtle. It doesn’t have to be a thing that you make a huge deal of in your presentation. But without it, it’s possible that someone can rationalize their way out of whatever you’re asking them to do. They’re gonna be like, yeah, here’s -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 26:56
the change, as you move into that change. This is what the change you’re suggesting to, I think, is that part of that bridge. Sometimes when I watch a spit, I mean, one of the great things about doing so many virtual events now is normally like when you and I were going to give a speech we give the keynote or the opening or closing keynote, then we leave. Yeah. And we don’t always get a chance to hear some of the other speakers. And sometimes it’s quite nice now because we don’t have to jump on a plane and go, we get a chance to listen to other speakers. And, and I’ve noticed recently just going to thinking about your model, is that almost a difference between that change that truth change, it’s like, the reason that you’re going to is to create a transformation. Yes. And if you’re not doing that, you’re really just an entertainer. And there’s nothing wrong with entertainers, my family or in stores, butcher or T Chambre Absolutely, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Now, if you haven’t used that opportunity, whether you’re CEO of an organization saying, I’m going to have you create that kind of paradigm shift here in the way that you think, or if you’re always, if a speaker, to create that transformation in the room, that people are leaving that room, different in some way with a different conception of something. I think it’s a wasted opportunity.
Something They Can’t Unheard
Tamsen Webster 28:09
I do too. And that’s what am I powerful, like, that’s always been a powerful driver to me that it, whether it’s my own work or the work that I do with others, it’s not enough for me just to Wow the crowd, I want to change them like I want that to happen. I want them, I want that, I want to give them something they can’t unheard of. And even if they don’t immediately take action, I want something that’s going to sit in their mind is something that when it comes down to it they can’t argue with and that, fundamentally is what that truth statement is meant to do is try to create is to give you an inarguable reason to change. And, and what’s counterintuitive to that is that it’s usually not a new belief. It’s and this is one of the things where, you know, I gave a whole keynote on what I call getting the green light. And the whole idea of it is that if you’re interested in creating change with long-term change, not just action, that creating, you know, the best way to do that is not to challenge people’s beliefs, but to preserve them and to champion them. Because the this the whole thing comes down to this, you know, one of the reasons you know, one of the things that I say, you know, the subtitle of the book is making your big ideas irresistible. And to be the most irresistible, is irresistible ideas are the ones that are our own right or that we have, we have come to believe our own. They’re most comfortable to us, they’re most familiar to us. So when we can create the case or the argument or the presentation about our ideas, that just aligns with that kind of rationalization that justification that explanation with that story will tell ourselves about it. It becomes the most natural easing into a new behavior that doesn’t actually feel all that new at all because it’s anchored in something that somebody already wants, it’s -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 30:02
anchored in what is resonance? Almost It feels like, Really? Yeah.
Tamsen Webster 30:06
Yeah. I mean, if you think about it, DeBeers couldn’t just say, Hey, I mean, they could have, but it wouldn’t have been as effective as like, buy a diamond ring. It’s a better symbol. But that’s essentially the equivalent of what we often tell people to do. We’re like, do this because it’s better. In other words, do this, because I already have presupposed that it’s better. And so I’m going to tell you, it’s better. And I just want you to instantly believe that the reason why it works so well for DeBeers is that was anchored on something that people already believed to be true someplace else. And because they are like this literal truth of a diamond is forever, like in that context of that story that was suddenly built-in people’s head, it became a metaphorical truth if it took on symbolic foreverness. And so this is really like this, you know, to me, is the joy. And the challenge, when I’m working with clients is kind of finding that thing, like what is the thing that you can tell people that makes them go? That’s true, because the moment you can get them to go, that’s true, not because you have like, you have had to convince me that it’s true, but because I know intuitively that it’s true, then what you’ve essentially done is you’ve gotten people to agree with every premise of your idea with every premise of your change. And just the way a logical argument works that if somebody agrees with every premise, it’s nearly impossible for them to disagree with the conclusion. So that’s what it’s really about, rather than just trying to get a big yes to like, you have a question, here’s my answer or you have a problem. Here’s my solution. Do you agree? It’s about breaking down that process a little bit more and saying, I had this question, do you have this question? Now, most people look at it this way. Do you look at it this way? There’s another way to look at it. Do you see that? There’s another way, I’m not telling you what to do. I’m just saying Do you see there’s another way to look at it? Yeah. Okay. Do you agree this is true? Yes. And then their brain will go, oh, because all of a sudden, there’s that tension that exists in that conflict that that exists. So when you present with them with this change what feels like a logical conclusion, it feels like even sometimes when it’s a major shift in thinking or behavior, it feels like the most natural shift of all because they actually haven’t had to change anything, but their perspective on something. And your perspective doesn’t typically tie as tightly to your identity as the things that you want to believe. So in a short timeframe, which is usually all we have as executives or presenters or etc. That’s why I go for the perspective because you can shift someone’s perspective, in seconds, you it’s much, much more difficult to change their beliefs in seconds, much more difficult to change what they want in seconds. So part of what I was thinking with all of this is, why not go for the easiest and most movable lever when it comes to those levers of change. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 33:03
I’m always reminded like this up book, we had him on the show a while ago, personality isn’t permanent. So perspectives aren’t permanent, where identity is a hard one to change is it’s long the campaign that you’re doing for that, to make campaigns, your book came out during the middle of a global pandemic it did. And when I speak to publishers and agents and writers, some of them this has been actually a great time because people are consuming more books, they’re reading a lot more, as well, their home, they’re looking for stuff to do. There’s only so many Netflix shows that you can watch. But then I’ve also seen others like, I think Chris Guillebeau got a show a guest on the show before his book was due to launch, like the week everything closed down, he had 100 date city date, too, and they all had to get canceled. So how is a book launch been for you? During a pandemic has been a good thing, a bad thing is to be opportunities. What’s been the
Find Your Red Thread: Make Your Big Ideas Irresistible
Tamsen Webster 34:02
The good news is I had nothing to compare it to within my own experience. I only had the observed experience of other people. And so I would say, all things considered, it was fine. I mean, it’s you know, for you know, for a book that isn’t in physical stores, it’s selling really quite well and has had inquiries from for other public you know, other language publishing rights on it already, which is super exciting. But I think a lot of that came from what my hopes and dreams were for the book in the first place. And I really wanted to create a timeless book, I really wanted a book that would sit on people’s shelves and even preferably on people’s desks as a thing that they would just go back to and back to and back to a perennial Yeah, I wanted it to be a thing out of time. And that was something I even said when I was working with a designer Have it as like, I want it to look like a found object like that. I want it to feel like a thing that, you know, yes, there’s a lot of examples in there, but there that it was timeless and that there was that ability to do it. That also meant that I freed myself of wanting to like, hit any kind of major list. Because that wasn’t what I wanted. I wanted a long-term, I wanted a long-term piece of it. Yeah. And, and, you know, I think, and I’m still obviously very proud that it in its launch at clients 17 of all marketing books on Amazon. So not just some like random, little tiny category, like it got pretty high up there. So it was like, but mostly, it was about making sure it got into the hands of people who’ve been asking for it. Now you had said, You’re like, how is this only coming out in May. And I’m like, Oh my gosh, because it’s a master procrastinator. I just really wanted to make sure that it was as tight, tidy, and as good of an encapsulation of everything that I could put together as like, it as it could be. And I’m probably most proud of the fact that no one has yet told me about a typo in it. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 36:19
I did, I did. I’ve got a mutual friend of ours, who is who did see his first his book to write the first copies, you know, there are early copies. And he opened the first page and there was a typo on the first page. And he said he just his heart just dropped. But you know, but actually what you’re saying that about that credit. Now perennial, we are another guest on the show a little while back. David out and David Allen, getting things done. Yeah, that was, he said, and that book came out like 1015 years ago. And he said he does an interview he does I think there are two or three interviews every single week. And he’s been doing that. And it’s probably the number one book on productivity, you know, for goodness knows how long so it’s great, maybe, maybe you’re gonna have to get a V for Vendetta that that movie is like it just kind of creeps in suddenly, all the things they found the guy at Boston TV show like it’s just like, the first thing when it came out in the first series, like, there was like a kind of cult, everyone kind of was into it. But he was like series two series threes. Like, it just kind of went and it just really took off. So
Tamsen Webster 37:20
yeah, I mean, I think that’s all I mean, all I ever wanted for it was a way to either start or continue a conversation. It really was written for people who already had some contact with me in some way. I didn’t write it to be something that you’d pick up at the airport bookstore. I mean, I think you could and I think it would make sense to you. And I think it’d be attractive to you. But by really my primary audience was people who already knew me at some level, or had seen me or someone else had told them about me and what was missing. You know, as a marketer, what was missing in all of that my grand plan of which I have done, by the way, was an ability for someone to say, this is what she does. And or if someone had just seen me speak, to say, I want to know more about that, like, What’s an easy way for me to know more about that. And so that’s really what I wanted. Ultimately, what I wanted the book to do, and I feel, I feel very proud of the fact that I think it does that like I wanted it to feel like that you had a Tamsin in your pocket, you know, like sitting next to you, as you were trying to either articulate an idea that you already had or in certain cases to find a new one because it can be just as powerful as an approach for that. -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 38:39
So what was great about it, as well as I mean, I’ve seen your, your speech, you’re speaking your, your videos, you do really nice little kind of short, like bite-sized chunk videos, and then the book as well. And we all can learn in different ways. And I just think the book is such an amazing ability to condense a huge amount of information into like 10 years, 15 years of someone’s of your knowledge of your brilliance of what you do into something that costs like hardly anything, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s in terms of value for money, it’s, it’s amazing. So we’re going to have a link here, people can get their copy of the book if you haven’t already had a copy of the book, and anywhere else people should go and check out if they want to learn more about some of the concepts in the book or some of the ideas or some of the other kind of services you mentioned, you work in a lot of other kinds of clients, corporate clients, because where’s the best place to go all that stuff?
Tamsen Webster 39:30
That I am literally the only Tamsen Webster in the universe, so I am easy to find. So all things like what I do, how I do it, additional information, links to those YouTube videos that I do. We’re all at tamsenwebster.com, which is a great place for people to start. And if people are just kind of curious as to what does it does a What does an argument or kind of baseline message sound like based on this framework? I put together a worksheet called the conversational case, which is theconversationalcase.com. And it’s meant to be going to a quick and dirty way to find the red thread of an idea. I will warn folks that Well, the first thing I’ll say, no matter what, if you put your idea into that format, it’s going to make more sense than probably how you do it just now. Second, it’ll also start to show you some of the places where perhaps your idea hasn’t been working. Because once you start to pull it into those component parts, right, as I mentioned, it’s the premises, what it does is, it starts to tease those out, you can start to see places where you’re like, actually, I knew I say those two things next to each other. But now that I see them next to each other, there’s actually they don’t make sense next to each other, there’s something missing that connects those two. So it can be useful for that as well, to generate or to diagnose. Fantastic, -Irresistible Big Ideas
James Taylor 40:55
we’re gonna put all these links here, people go to jamestaylor.me, you’ll find all the links here that Tamsin was just talking about there, Find Your Red Thread is out now, please go and get your copy. It’s amazing. I’m just still sort of surprised. It hasn’t been out before. So thank you for finally writing this. Because it saves me a lot of trouble. I just pointing them to people into this book now makes life much easier for me. So thank you for helping me with that. Tangent. I really look forward to hopefully getting a chance to see you on stage again, sharing some of the ideas from the book, as well. And please, thanks so much for coming and sharing all your absolute brilliance on the show today.
Tamsen Webster 41:32
Oh, my pleasure, James, thank you for lending your audience’s delight. Thanks so much.
James Taylor 41:38
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-Irresistible Big Ideas