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Stories that Change: Event Hosted by Association of Change Management on February 11


photo by Dominic Campbell /BY CC

The Washington, DC chapter of the Association of Change Management Professionals is hosting a special free event on February 11, 2015.

Stories that Change: Winning Hearts and Inspiring Action (register) will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at the North Highland offices in Rosslyn (1501 Wilson Blvd. Suite 900, Arlington).

Amanda Marko from the Connected Strategy Group will discuss the use of storytelling as a communications vehicle. If you are leading new initiatives, responsible for changing other people’s behaviors, or need to convince others that a different way of thinking is necessary, then you should learn these concrete communications frameworks that will make you a better leader.

After the event, head on down stairs for extended networking at Heavy Seas Ale house. We look forward to seeing you and your friends!

Light Up Your Business Storytelling Skills

photo by Giacoma Carena / BY CC

photo by Giacoma Carena / BY CC


A guest post by Christopher Kogler, president of Narrative Intelligence

Using stories in growing your business is a unique skill that is easy to master but few take full advantage of. Unlike a PowerPoint presentation or a written report, stories, especially those that are spoken, engage stakeholders on an entirely different level.

The three essential elements of business storytelling are:

We believe that stories used in business are best told orally. Certainly you want to outline your story and make sure your thoughts are coherent, but throw the script away and work from your notes. There’s no requirement to tell your story word-for-word exactly the same way you told it the last time. In fact, you might develop a long version and a shorter version of the same business story which will give you some flexibility in terms of your presentation, i.e. the time you have to present and the audience you’re presenting to.

The best stories are personal and are drawn from your unique, personal business experiences. When leaders draw from their personal experiences – whether it’s a great success or a failure you’re sharing so others may learn – magical things begin to happen. Because you’ve lived the experience and are now sharing it with others, your story brings a strong sense of real world authenticity to the words you’re speaking. Being authentic in your storytelling is essential for building trust and rapport with your audience and stakeholders.

The third essential element in creating powerful business stories is your stories should be emotional. Stories that are emotional make your listener want to care. And, if your listener cares about what you’re saying and trusts you, they will be much more inclined to remember what you’ve said. Also, if action is needed, they’ll be much more inclined to take action based on the concepts and ideas you’re sharing with them via your stories.

Presenting orally, drawing from your personal experiences and engaging your audience and stakeholders emotionally are three of the most important elements you need to create powerful and compelling business stories.


Increase your influence by becoming skilled in the three dimensions of story-work during the interactive Storytelling for Leaders training presented by Connected Strategy Group and Narrative Intelligence. Register for a workshop or inquire about bringing the program to your organization.


The Three Story Skills Used by Influential Leaders


photo by Instant Vantage / CC BY

guest post by Christopher Kogler, President, Narrative Intelligence

Although we talk about storytelling most often, there’s more to stories than just telling them. In fact, we teach those who participate in our Storytelling For Leaders  program that there are really three important components to story work. The three critical components of story work include: storytelling, story listening and story triggering. Each has a unique and valuable role in a business leader’s story quiver.

Storytelling is just what you think it is – telling a story. But, in the world of business storytelling this takes on another important dimension. Recounting a business story such as a personal business experience you’ve had, has the purposeful intent of making a business point. It might be a teaching moment for your staff, it might be a change management initiative or it might be a story that you’re using to persuade clients or colleagues to move in a new direction. Whatever the reason, the intent of business storytelling is to make a business point in an effective and memorable manner.

Story Listening is something we are much less likely to engage in unconsciously. Story listening is a very conscious act. There’s a real art to story listening and it involves getting someone else to tell you a story. By actively getting others in your organization to tell you their stories and listening carefully you will be not only be able to get an “insider’s view” of what’s going on in other parts of the company but you’ll also be able to understand more clearly the organization’s values through the stories you hear and collect. One of the keys to developing your story listening skills is to ask lots of open ended questions like, “How did you arrive at this approach?”

Story Triggering is the third skill that leaders can develop and use to influence, engage and inspire their people. Simply put, story triggering involves a leader doing something so amazing that people throughout the organization will recount what happened via a story. Story triggering happens when leaders lead by example as opposed to simply paying lip service to their ideas.

One example of story triggering that comes to mind involves the Mars Company, the makers of Mars Bars, M & M’s, pet food and other food products. The company is the third largest privately held company in the United States with annual sales of US $30 billion and is still owned by the Mars family.

In a meeting several years ago in which a Mars family member was attending, one of the florescent lights was flickering in the annoying way that only florescent lights can do. At one point in the meeting, Mr. Mars simply got up and left the conference room. Attendees wondered what was going on and were a bit on edge as he left without any explanation. In a few minutes, he returned with a ladder, removed the flickering bulb and put the bulb and ladder in the corner. He then sat down without saying a word and the meeting continued.

What’s remarkable is that Mr. Mars could have demanded that a maintenance person be called to deal with this problem but he dealt with it himself. Simple acts like this one speak volumes about the values and character of an individual leader and in this case triggered a story that continues to be told today.

Increase your influence by becoming skilled in the three dimensions of story-work during the interactive Storytelling for Leaders training. Register for a workshop or inquire about bringing the program to your organization.




Storytelling for Leaders: Fall Dates Announced


I realized the importance of having a story today is what really separates companies. People don’t just wear our shoes, they tell our story.

— Blake Mycoskie
CEO, Tom’s Shoes

Your chance to attend a Storytelling for Leaders public workshop in the United States has arrived. Register for the date and location that works best for you.

September 15 in Las Vegas

October 2 in Charlotte

October 16 in New York City

October 27 in Boston

November 17 in Washington, D.C.



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