Topic: Storytelling

What happens when people hear a story?

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

Why do we do storytelling? Because we heard we should? Or because it’s fun? Or because the audience wants it?

Yes, it is about the audience. But not because they want it, but because it changes the way they feel. If you tell a story on stage, something happens with people.

What happens? For example these things…

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Getting closer to your audience in Storytelling

Category:Audience,Storytelling Tags : 

An important element in public speaking as well as in storytelling is to get close to your audience. The closer you get, the more powerful your story.

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How to keep your audience attention

Category:Audience,Preparation,Storytelling Tags : 

I recently sat in a presentation with a friend of mine next to me. After the talk, I asked my friend what he thought of the presentation.

“To be honest,” he said, “I got distracted halfway through and couldn’t get back on track after. So I missed most.”

It happens to all of us. We get distracted easy. For a speaker, that means it is crucial to put elements into their presentations that will prevent that from happening.

How do you make your speech unpredictable and your audience engaged?

You want to keep your audience attention. But how? By adding in unpredictable elements to your speech. Elements that will keep your audience on their toes.

Which elements are that? Here are five.

(Bold) Statements

“You all think smoking kills? Let me tell you something. Do you know that the amount of people dying from diabetes are three times as many people as dying from smoking?”

It’s how Mohammed Qahtani, 2015 World Champion Public Speaking, starts his talk ‘The Power of Words’. The statement wasn’t correct, but that wasn’t what mattered. He got what he wanted: the attention of the audience. And a chance to explain his point.

Statements and especially bold statements are a great attention grabber. You trigger people to listen to you. They want to hear how you are going to prove your statement.

Qahtani was quite extreme in his statement. You don’t have to go that far. But you can still trigger. When pitching you could, for example, say something like “We are better than Apple”.

The important part: you’ll have to prove your statement after!

Being funny

A second way to get and keep the attention of your audience is to be funny. Make your audience smile and they will love you for it. Being funny is a great way to do that.

At the same time, being funny is tricky. Be careful here. Not everybody has the same humour. And you have to know the difference between being funny and telling a joke.

When it comes to being funny, timing is everything. And not too much. A funny story can help, but it has to be relatable to the topic of your talk! A good idea is to keep it personal and not insult your audience.

It is a great way to keep the attention. But as said, be careful, not everything is considered funny.

Tell a great story

We know that people are hardwired to listen to stories. When done well, telling stories is one of the most powerful tools in a presentation. A story keeps attention because people want to hear what comes next.

Telling a short story in your presentation can do wonders for the attention. What you want to do is connect the stories to the content of your talk. In other words: make it relevant.

I often use stories in my presentations. The stories can be about my kids, about anything. But I always make sure they connect to the topic of the talk.

Give them bold or surprising statistics

“According to Comscore, 25% of internet users have an ad blocker installed.”

It’s a sentence from one of my presentations. These statistics are staggering. It will make people think. “That’s a lot!” (or in some cases “that’s not much!”. Whenever I use statistics like these, I can see people look up, take pictures or write them down.

I have their attention at that point. Statistics do that. But like with the stories and fun stuff, it has to be relevant and at least a little bit bold. Telling your audience 100% of people drink water won’t help much.

Your slide design

The last way to get and keep attention is your slide design. We all know ‘death by PowerPoint’. Too many bullets will kill your presentation.

A great design will keep people focused. This can be the use of the right colours, but also usage of the right images.

Personally, I use a lot of animated gifs. These to me are like the pictures used in Harry Potter movies. They come to life.

It’s all about relevance

With all the things you can do to keep the attention, one thing is important: it has to be relevant. It has to make sense.

To conclude, I’d like to share my favourite gif to use in presentations. Here’s why I use this gif: it’s funny, it’s relevant and it tells a story. I use it to explain how we should always be looking beyond the obvious because that’s where the real gold lies.


Misconceptions about Storytelling debated

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

I attended an office party the other day at which a few people started debating storytelling. There were a few who didn’t believe in the concept of storytelling at all. Others did believe in it, but didn’t think it was ‘for them’. It struck me how little informed some people seemed to be. Or better said: how presumptuous.

Some people believed storytelling is not important. Which is ok to think, but they thought so for the wrong reasons.

It’s a hype!

“Let me tell you a story”, that’s how the conversation started. “Hah, a story, are you doing ‘storytelling’?”, said the second person. “Storytelling is a hype!” was the third response. That’s how the conversation started.

Some of the people at the party thought Storytelling was a hype. They thought so because they had heard the term so often.

In a way, they were right. When you hear a term often, it feels like the start of a hype. And when agencies start offering a service related to that ‘buzzword’ as a service, all alarm bells go off. At that point, it has all the signs of becoming a hype.

But is Storytelling a hype? When something is a hype, it will also go away again. It temporarily has the attention.

But ‘storytelling’ isn’t going anywhere. In fact, it will be around longer than many other ‘buzzwords’. Storytelling is part of human DNA. It has always been around. From the stone ages until now. And it will remain part of our lives in the far future.

We’ve been telling stories forever. And we’ve been selling by stories forever. So is it a hype? It probably is. But one that actually makes sense. One that

This argument made one of the people in the conversation, let’s call him Mark, think. He tended to agree but didn’t give in yet.

It doesn’t work!

“Whatever, it might not be a hype, it sure doesn’t work! People want to know what they are buying, they don’t want to hear stories!”

This is an argument that you hear often within businesses. Many businesses aren’t using storytelling yet because they think it doesn’t work. These businesses haven’t looked well enough at how and why people buy.

People don’t buy because a product has the most features, they buy because they feel it fits their needs. And that goes beyond the features. When buying, people listen to friends and families. They read reviews, and they listen to the stories of the salesmen.

Did you ever think about why a salesperson always has a personal experience that happens to feel like yours? Yep, that’s because the story works. You start feeling a connection with the salesperson.

Stories also work because when buying, people want to learn. They want to know everything about the product, the service or anything connected. People’s brains need to learn. And the best way of learning is through stories. Because stories stick.

But that doesn’t work for B2B!?

Mark wasn’t convinced yet.

“Ok, it might work for consumers, but we are a B2B business. B2B is different. Here people want to know about facts!”

Again, this was an argument I had heard before. B2B and B2C seem to be very different, when in fact they aren’t. Like B2C, B2B is also all about people, about emotions. And that is not a made up argument. A Google Research showed that half of the B2B buyers are more likely to buy if they can connect emotionally with a brand. And the best way of getting that connection is by telling stories that show a connection.

The same study also shows that 71% buys because they see a personal value. 68.8% even wants to pay more if they believe in a business.

That is all emotion. That is all personal. And guess how to best get the message of connection across…

Not in my niche!

Mark started to see he was running out of arguments. But he kept trying.

“Yeah ok, maybe it works somewhere, but not with us! We are in a very specific niche. People don’t listen to stories in our niche. And even if they would, we wouldn’t be able to find or create stories anyway. There are no stories in our niche!”

To be honest, I always get a little bit annoyed when people say this. There is no niche in the world where you cannot find a story. There is no niche in the world where you can’t find a connection with your audience. If that would be so, the niche would not even exist.

When there is a niche, there is a demand. Someone wants that product or service. And if there is a demand, it means the product or service is solving some sort of problem, even if it’s very small. That’s where you can find the stories.

You could see that some people started to think storytelling wasn’t so bad after all. Even Mark. But if you know anything about the human mind, you know that giving in, is the hardest thing to do. Instead, ‘we’ try and change the subject, or at least find a way to make us look good. That’s what happened at the party as well. Mark shifted the topic.

Storytelling is difficult?

“Well, we don’t do storytelling because it takes too much of our time. We are in the selling business, not the telling business. When you do storytelling you need to find the stories or create them. You need to actually be able to think of stories! Our people can’t do that.”

Granted, good storytelling does take some time. But it doesn’t take that much more time than a regular marketing campaign will take you. Any work takes time. But it’s about choices. And knowing that storytelling is so much more powerful, the choice should be easy.

The good thing about storytelling is also that if you know how it is not so difficult to do. If you analyse stories, you can see that most stories have a similar structure. You need an obstacle, a hero, a beginning, middle and an end.

“Oh, so Storytelling is easy? Anyone can do it?”

Well, yes, anyone can do it. Anyone can create a story. But you want the story to be good. You want the story to have an impact. And for that, you need to know how to fill in the details that create a persuasive story. And no, not anyone can ‘just do that’. If so, anyone would write novels.

Everybody can learn how to create a story!

Finally, Mark was convinced. He realised Storytelling was a useful way of getting a connection with his audience. He realised his business needed to “get” storytelling. And see it as more than a hype.

“Ok, now I get it. Storytelling is about reaching the human brain. It’s actually a very natural way of connecting with your audience! We should do this. We’re going to allocate time and resources to this. First, our staff will take the class and then we’ll tell stories! We’re in!”

Are you in?


What Ajax and Spurs can teach us about Storytelling

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

The 2019 Champions League Quarter Finals between Ajax and Juventus and between Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur were more than football. They were stories.

We can learn from the stories of two games played in the Champions League: Juventus vs Ajax and Manchester City vs Tottenham Hotspur.

They follow the same path as any good story follows!

Do you want to be able to create stories like this, without having to step one foot on the pitch? You can! Join the Storytelling Class and start making a real difference!


Storytelling: Hype or Real?

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

Is ‘Storytelling’ a hype? As a marketing strategy, maybe, but only when done wrong. Because stories ARE important. Why are they so important? Because stories are part of our everyday life. Each day we tell each other stories. Each day we listen to stories. Stories are part of our DNA.

When we hear a story, we listen better. We remember more. And we trust the source of a story.

This is why storytelling is such a powerful marketing tool. And this is why storytelling needs to be part of public speaking.

In fact, when you do a talk, treat your talk as a story. Craft it like a story. Your audience will remember you for it, will believe your words and will trust you.

Don’t tell stories because others do. Tell them because it’s part of who we are. Because it’s personal. That’s storytelling done well.

How to do Storytelling?

Good storytelling isn’t easy. It’s a lot of work. You need to be prepared. Here are the steps that are important:

  1. you need to get information on your audience.
  2. you need to show the situation
  3. you need to have a character (the hero)
  4. you need to have conflict
  5. you need a goal
  6. you need to bring it all together

We are going in depth on this in our Storytelling Class which is now open to everyone!


Why telling stories will help you win pitches

Category:Persuasion,Storytelling Tags : 

Pitching is often seen as hard-core sales. You are there to convince your audience to buy your product or service. Or to invest in your company. All you are after is ‘winning’. Closing the deal.

That’s why many believe pitching is all about broadcasting your message. About stating facts. And about convincing by showing how amazing you are.

These people are dead wrong. In pitching, it is about one thing only: trust. If you are capable of winning the trust of those listening to your pitch, they will buy anything. That is why pitching should be about winning trust. And what better way to win trust, than to tell a story?

Storytelling is often referred to as a marketing tactic. Telling stories isn’t often seen as a good pitch strategy. But it should. Because it is. And for more reasons than winning trust. In pitching, storytelling skills are important. Let me explain why.

Stories will take people out of the role of the critic

Someone who is listening to pitches has one role that they want to play. One that they feel they have to play: that of the critic.

As a potential client or investor, I’m thinking: “You are trying to sell me something. And I don’t that. I want to make my own decision.”

And because I want to make my own decision, I want to prove that it wasn’t you persuading me. To do that, I must be as critical as possible. This is why those listening to a pitch, will focus on finding loopholes. They will try to find something wrong with your product or service.

The best way to get people out of this role is storytelling. The mind works in mysterious ways. And one way is that when we hear stories, we become part of it.

When people listen to stories, they will step into another world. No longer are they the critics. They are listeners, trying to relate to the hero in your story.

A story will show real life

If there is one thing that those listening to a pitch think is ‘how does this fit into my life or business?’. We want to make sure that what we buy is something that will help us forward. It has to improve our lives.

Listening to a ‘dry’ pitch means that we have to do the translation to real life ourselves. We hear the facts, we see the functionalities of a product. But how will that work in our real-life situation? It is hard to imagine.

If you’re presenting in a pitch, you can help your audience imagine real life. By telling a story. It will make it easier for the listener to imagine how things will work in real life. Because they show a part of reality. Even if they are fictional. It takes people into a world where they can picture themselves in a new situation. Using your product or service.

Stories get them to talk

A misconception about pitches is that it’s all about the salesman talking. Trying to show the product or service. If a pitch goes well, the ‘receiving end’, those that are making the decisions, are talking a lot as well. In fact, the more you get them to talk, the higher the chance you will make the sale.

A great way to get people to talk is to tell a story. It will trigger them to relate to and talk about their own experiences. It will open them up.

They will hear something, will relate and when you let them, they will talk.

A story trigger emotions

We think we are all rational buyers. We buy products and services based on checklists. On functionalities. And on well-researched documentation. Right? Wrong!

Most of our buying decisions, both personal and professional, are emotional. In fact, over 80% of our buying decisions based on emotion. Because we feel good about a product. Because we like the salesperson. Or because of peer pressure. Our friends have it, or even worse: our competitors. That’s why we need it as well!

A story is a great way to trigger emotions. Once the listener can relate to the problem, it will feel emotionally close to the hero. This means that the emotion is decisive when buying. Because they feel a relationship. They can see themselves. And if they are emotionally involved in the story, it will mean they will make the right decision. Buying into your product or service.

Storytelling is crucial in a pitch

You see? Storytelling is very important in pitching. In fact, it’s crucial! When you use stories, you will have a bigger chance of winning the pitch. Go for it! Tell that story!

And if you need help, we have the Story Pyramid Template for you that will help you create a story or take our Storytelling Class below!


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Create great stories using The Story Pyramid Template

Category:Storytelling,Structuring Tags : 

If you are struggling to structure your story, use The Story Pyramid. It guides you through the story. And we have a template for it!

Storytelling. We all want to do it. It’s one of the most asked about topics in relation to marketing these days. Of course, it’s also a huge element of any presentation. It does wonders when you are speaking at a conference. And it’s a big asset when you are pitching or speaking in front of small groups.

But creating a good story isn’t all that easy. Not everyone has the storytelling skills and some don’t believe it works. There are a lot of elements that play an important role. In storytelling, having the right structure is crucial.

Storytelling skills are important to have for any speaker.

There are various ways to structure a story. They all have a beginning, middle, and end. But what structure is the best? One way to make sure you have the right structure is to use The Story Pyramid.

What is the Story Pyramid?

This method is often used for summarising. It also is useful as a tool to write, especially when it comes to business stories.

Why is it called a ‘pyramid’?

If you look at the storyline, it has a rhythm. You work up to a climax, followed by a falling point going towards the new situation. In the new situation, everything calms down. If you picture this, it looks like a pyramid.

How does it work?

The Story Pyramid shows the structure of your story in one view. The Pyramid has 8 steps in three categories. The main categories are the start, the middle and the end of the story. In each step, you write down the essence of that step.

The beginning

At the beginning of the story, you introduce the characters. You explain the situation they are in and what conflict they need to overcome.

The middle

In the middle part, you describe the ‘rising action’. This is what happens in the lead up to the climax.

The end

In the last part of the story, you describe the ‘falling point’. This is what happens after the climax and how your character takes action on the situation he or she is in. You then describe the resolution and you end with the new (successful) situation.

Once you have written down the essence, you can start writing the details of the story.

One overview

The Pyramid makes sure you have all the important elements embedded, in the right order. This way you are sure you have everything that makes a story interesting. In one overview, you show the storyline by writing down the key elements.

Step by step

The Pyramid has 8 steps divided into three categories. The main categories are the start, the middle and the end. In each step, you write down the essence of that step.

The eight steps are:

  • Introduction, in which you introduce the characters of the story;
  • Situation: you describe and explain the current situation the main characters are in;
  • Conflict, which describes the most important problems;
  • Rising Action, where you are working towards the climax;
  • The Climax shows how the hero handles the problems;
  • The Falling Point shows the action
  • In the Resolution, we see how the characters change their lives
  • In the New Situation, we see the new and improved situation.

The Template

To help you structure, we’ve created a template to use this method.

The Story Pyramid Template is a step by step approach to crafting your story. We guide you through the process.

What’s in the template?

In the template file you can find:

  • The Pyramid Timeline: a template to help structure
  • The Pyramid Details: a template to write out the details of your story
  • An explanation of how to use the template

This WILL be useful to you! Your storytelling skills will get better!

As a bonus: this method is not only great for using in your talks, you can use this method in your blogposts, in your social media and content marketing in general. You can even use it when writing a book or short story!

And if you need any guidance or help, don’t hesitate to get in touch!

You can download your FREE Story Pyramid Template below


Small businesses should focus on storytelling!

Category:Storytelling,Structuring Tags : 

As a small business, it’s hard to compete with brands. Storytelling is the solution!

  • You can’t win on price
  • You can’t win on marketing
  • You can’t win on advertising

You can win on a great story!

Watch the video:

When you are creating the story keep in mind…

Don’t talk about how great you are but:

  • Understand your audience
  • Understand where you come from
  • Understand where you add value

Create a story that resonates and you’ll be remembered forever!

More about storytelling you can find here.

The full transcript of the video:


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How to Create a Compelling Story

Category:Storytelling,Structuring Tags : 

We’re giving you 25 minutes of tips! On Storytelling this time. This is the presentation I (Bas) have done at the Benchmark Conference in Manchester in September. The talk was recorded by Omi Sodi. Enjoy!

Find the slides of that presentation here:

 

Learn how to do storytelling yourself by joining our Storytelling Class!


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The power of storytelling

Category:Storytelling,Structuring Tags : 

These days you hear a lot about storytelling as a marketing strategy. Many marketers, therefore, believe they should ‘do storytelling’ as well. Whenever you do something, you want to know they ‘why’ (as Simon Sinek told us).

So, you might wonder why storytelling is such a powerful tool. What makes storytelling worth it? Do you invest time in it? And in what way? It’s important to know why it is powerful to be able to do storytelling right.

In this article, I’d like to dive into those questions. We will look into the power of storytelling.

We can’t resist a (good) story

The number one reason why storytelling is such a powerful tool has to do with the recipients’ mind. The minds of those that hear the story. As recipients, we can’t resist a good story. Stories are deeply wired into our minds.

It’s been like that for centuries. Humans have been telling each other stories forever. Even in the stone age, people used stories to send messages to other people and help and teach them. Cave paintings are a great example of that. They tell a story that has to help the next person that passes that cave.

We are basically raised to learn from stories. Have you ever thought about why you can still remember most of the fairy tales your parents told you?

As soon as we hear the words ‘once upon a time’, our brains are ‘in’. From that point on, we can’t resist. We have to hear what happened. It’s in our DNA and, of course, we are trained to listen and interpret stories. All the stories our parents told us when we were kids, made us crave for more.

We don’t only love stories, stories helped shape our minds. That’s why most fairy tales have lessons in them. Stories go directly into our brains. That means the best ways to give children messages, is through stories. The message behind the story of Cinderella is to not take food from strangers. The message behind the three little piglets is to not be lazy. And so do all fairy tales have a message.

Imagination gets us involved

When we listen to stories, we need imagination. In our brains, we picture what we hear. Good stories are crafted in a way that, when they are told, we can ‘see’ them. The stories come alive in our brains. We picture the lead characters, we ‘create’ the environment. This makes us part of the story. Imagination makes co-creators of the story. And since we are part of the creation, we remember better and feel more ‘close’ to a story.

With imagination also come emotions. It brings the same emotions shared by the characters in the story. When we imagine things, they almost become real. What you hear comes alive in your brain. And when it feels real, it has more impact. It will be easier to remember more. You will also, and especially, remember the feeling the story. If the feeling is good, it will make you happy.

In marketing, this means that when we are part of a story, we are closer to a product or brand. And when we are closer, we buy easier.

A story benefits the storyteller as well

For listeners, stories give joy and structure to a story. But storytellers also get a lot of benefit from telling a story. They have the chance to send a message and have that message resonate. Besides that, it makes the storyteller important.

You can say stories bring status to storytellers and actionable insights to the good listeners. It’s good for everyone!

Where is storytelling useful?

Powerful stories can be used everywhere. Whether it is for teaching children, marketing or other purposes. You can see the power of stories in presentations from politicians, tv, music videos, movies and books. Even commercials are stories.

As marketers, we can use stories in many different settings. We can use it when we are pitching. We can use it in a presentation, or as marketing material.

To create a connection, personal stories work best. But don’t overdo it. Important is to realise there has to be a message in it. Stories which show a struggle and are authentic are the best.

As you can see, the power of storytelling is big!

How to create that story?

There are many ways for crafting a story. But it is important to realise that building a story needs close attention. It’s easy to create the wrong story. A lot is also in the execution. How the story is told, determines a lot of how it is received.

To learn how to craft that perfect story, the one that everyone loves, the one that has real impact, next to the email course, we created a Storytelling Class. Sign up now!


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Talk review: Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

As a public speaker, it is good to look at how the great ones are doing it. You can learn how they move. Learn how they craft their story. Learn how they inspire their audience. Here you can learn from Renny Gleeson.

Renny Gleeson: 404, the story of a page not found

This talk is from 2012. That might seem old., but it’s on a topic a lot of marketers will understand. Especially those in SEO: the 404 page. In this talk, Renny Gleeson discusses the 404 page and how it’s ‘history’ changed.

Watch the entire talk (only 4 minutes) here:

There are a few things I’d like to highlight about this talk.

The message

The topic of a 404-page may seem empty. And the “solution” he shows is quite simple. So what makes this talk ‘special’? It’s the message behind the talk. The message that only comes at the end of the talk: opportunities. You can handle a 404 page in two ways: as a mistake or as an opportunity. Gleeson goes for the latter.

The structure

Gleeson sets a very clear structure for his presentation. Even though it’s only four minutes long. He sets the problem. He makes sure people ‘feel’ the problem. He explains the problem. And he shows the solution. It’s a story on its own.

The body language

Gleeson is calm and controlled in his talk, which comforts the audience. At the same time, he can be very visual. When he explains the ‘404-feeling’ (around the 2-minute mark), he shows the feeling, which is very good. He uses his hands to explain what he is talking about.

The one thing that does annoy a little, is that he looks back at the screen several times. A bit too much to be honest.

The humor

In his talk, Gleeson explains the problem of the 404 with a lot of humor. He uses analogies, connects the 4xx errors to sex and shows timing when he reacts to a video he shows. Having humor is of high importance in a talk. But you shouldn’t overdo it. Gleeson is on the edge here of trying to be too funny, but he just stays away from being annoying.

How did he do?

Even though I liked the talk, I don’t think Gleeson delivered a perfect talk here (if there is such a thing). As mentioned above, the danger of trying to be too funny is there. One or two jokes or analogies he could have left out. And he looks behind him at the screen quite often, which is a bad idea when it comes to body language. But in the end, the talk works. I would say because of the powerful message in the end.

Your talk

If you want, we can review your talk as well (not for publishing 😉 ). Want to have your talk reviewed? You can! It’s one of the options in the personal speaker plan. We have more examples of great speakers in our email series!


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Why Research and Storytelling are Important in Public Speaking, from the expert Jono Alderson

Category:Preparation,Storytelling Tags : 

Speaking at conferences is great for building a personal brand. It’s something that helped Jono Alderson a lot. His speaking at conferences is legendary, because of the way he speaks and the amount of content he is able to get in. That takes a lot of preparation.

I talked to different speakers, asking them about how they prepare and what tips they can give you. Listen to Jono explain why research is important, why you have to be ready and why you need to tell a story.

Find more insights here and be sure to sign up for our weekly speaking and pitching tips!

Are you looking to become a better storyteller yourself? Check out our new Storytelling Online Class!


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The Ultimate Storytelling Guide

Category:Storytelling Tags : 

People can’t resist a story. So brands try to do storytelling. Often enough, they fail. Because stating facts isn’t a story. Maybe this Storytelling guide can help!

(see more about Storytelling here)

via

(see more about Storytelling here)


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