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Have I Got a Story to Tell You…

Actually, that’s the worst way to start a story. The first rule of storytelling is: never say the “s word”.

As a communicator who has operated in many buttoned-up business settings, I’ve often been tasked with creating inspirational messaging that resonates with key stakeholders.  Intuitively I knew the best way to connect with the audience, and thus change their minds, motivate their actions, and influence their decisions, was by touching their hearts with a poignant story. Yet I struggled to draw stories out of many leaders.

Try as I might, executives and managers resisted my efforts. Perhaps it was fear of appearing vulnerable or unprofessional, or perhaps it was performance anxiety, but storytelling was not on the table. Many times, the best I could get out of them was a generalized example, or perhaps an analogy. Neither of those are stories, and neither of them pack the emotional punch I sought (nor the full results they intended).

Earlier this year I was having a quick pub dinner with my husband when he received a work call. I used the interruption to open Twitter and there I found a retweet that caught my eye:

Anecdote Shawn tweet

I had no idea what expertise Shawn had, but I’m always open to networking opportunities. A quick click of Shawn’s Twitter bio and Anecdote’s website, followed by a Twitter conversation, which turned into an email conversation, and led to a meeting in New York City, then two week later, I was in Los Angeles to experience Storytelling for Leaders myself. I was immediately hooked by the idea that it was possible to incorporate pointed, strategic stories into any business environment.

This isn’t acting lessons – no Shakespeare or fables here. This is storytelling for leaders. A leader is anyone who needs to influence, engage and inspire people. That’s pretty much all of us.

Now I’m thrilled to announce that I am Anecdote’s first partner in the U.S. who will be certified to deliver Storytelling for Leaders program. If you want to learn more about bringing this program to your company, contact me.

The program itself is much more than a one-day workshop. Not only do participants learn how to spot, tell, and trigger stories, they also practice their story telling technique through a deliberate practice program that encourages behavior change and reinforces learning by engaging the workshop participants for six months after the workshop. The results are that minds will be opened, patterns will be broken, and change will occur. It can’t be helped. That’s the power of story.

Storytelling for Leaders

Influence without relying on authority.

Build fast rapport.

Change minds and inspire action.

Anecdote’s Storytelling for Leaders program will teach you the techniques you need to better influence, engage and inspire others – just as hundreds of leaders already have, from Melbourne to New York, London to Singapore.

Organizations are changing quickly. Structures are flatter and reporting lines more complex. Staff and customers are spread around the world. And everyone is deafened by the ‘noise’ of information inundation. Yet the modern leader still needs to be able to influence and persuade in this constantly fluid environment.

The sharing of stories orally is a powerful way of cutting through. When we tell stories, people ‘get’ what we are saying – and they remember it. This is the case whether we are communicating informally (which is what we do most of the time) or in a more formal environment such as a presentation.

“Other presentations were dry and heavy, but the Yammer presentations really stood out because we were telling stories versus merely sharing data.” A Storytelling for Leaders participant describes the way storytelling changed her presentations. Click here to hear more.

More than just storytelling

Storytelling for Leaders will teach you a systematic method for becoming a better, more confident storyteller. However, the program goes further. You will also learn how to use the magic of stories to get more from others:

  • Story-triggering involves a leader doing something remarkable enough that it inspires people in the organization to recount what happened. We show you how you can do this successfully.
  • Story-listening is the art of getting others to share stories. You’ll learn how to elicit stories from others, building stronger connections and gaining a better understanding of what’s really happening.

More than a workshop

Storytelling for Leaders is not a one-off workshop but a complete six-month program. It includes:

  • A full one-day workshop. The workshop is highly interactive as we strongly believe in the power of practical activities to foster learning. Throughout the day you will engage in hands-on activities designed to build your storytelling skills and confidence. See the workshop in action here.
  • Our unique Deliberate Practice Program (DPP). This workplace-based program includes six modules, spread over six months, which will embed and enhance what was learned in the workshop. Most of the learning you do will occur during in the workplace, during the DPP, rather than in the workshop.

The Deliberate Practice Program includes online support, with the opportunity to ask questions and share your experiences at any time.

“The workshop covered a lot of territory in a way that combined analytical rigor with a clear and informal delivery. I recommend it without reservation.”

Who should attend?

Storytelling for Leaders is beneficial to anyone whose role requires them to influence, engage and inspire others. Previous participants have included senior leaders, project managers, salespeople, consultants and trainers.

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