Author Archives: Lisa Evans

Are you ready to speak on stage?

The moments before you speak on stage

“… please welcome…”
The MC says your name. You walk onstage to warm, welcoming applause.

Keynote speaker Lisa Evans

Are you ready?

How have you spent the past half-hour prepping for that moment? Here are a few thoughts on how to maximize your chances of delivering a great speech. Consider these things before you speak on stage.

Check your props. Are they all in place? Is anything broken? Is your laptop up and running, and does your presentation remote have fresh batteries? Is everything where it needs to be for your speech?

Introduction. Does the MC have a copy of your TYPED introduction? In at least 20 pt type? Never, ever let someone wing your intro, or try to memorize a few key points. Write out EXACTLY what you want them to say about you. They are giving the audience an elevator pitch about you.

One last look in the mirror

Clothing and appearance. Check your look in a restroom mirror. Any stains or spots on your clothing? If so, now is the time to change into your backup wardrobe. Check your teeth. Any bits of spinach you may have missed? Makeup, hair, nose. (Seriously, check for hidden boogers. You can’t see them, but the front row can!) Hands clean? Fingernails looking good? Shoes…are they scuffed? Is there any gum stuck to them?

Check in with the sound technician. Does your mic have fresh batteries? I can’t stress this enough. Fresh batteries…as in brand new, never been used…are critical. Having your sound drop out because of low batteries is a speech-killer.

Be prepared to wait

Once all the mechanics are covered, prepare to wait. Events almost never run on-schedule. Maybe the CEO has a few unplanned jokes he wants to tell, or a tribute to his grandmother, the founder of the company; he just decided to give without warning. These delays are endless in number and cause. So have a plan. If there’s a backstage, grab a chair and a bottle of water. Have a book to read. Something to keep you centred and calm.

You’ve got this!

Now is not the time to go back over your script. It’s going to be what it’s going to be. You can also sit in the back with the sound tech, it’s an unobtrusive place, but you’re still in the room and ready.

Bounce on the balls of your feet.

Just before going on, jog in place for a few seconds, or do a couple of jumping jacks. If you’re in the room, go to the back and bounce up and down on the balls of your feet a few times. Anything to get your blood flowing and your breath moving. Check your fly just before you step on stage. (No, really. Trust me.)

It’s time. They are doing your intro. Now get up there and open hearts and minds.

KevinBurke speak on stage

This guest blog post was written by Kevin Burke.

Kevin Burke is the star of the USA national touring company of the Broadway play Defending the Caveman currently in a residency in Las Vegas. Kevin works with speakers and actors to help maximize the power of their speaking.

Kevin Burke has been named Las Vegas Entertainer of the Year, has been starring in Defending the Caveman since 2003. As the star of the Vegas production, Kevin performed Caveman over 3,000 times, making Caveman the longest-running Broadway show in Las Vegas history. During that time, Kevin also set the Guinness World Record for “Most Theatrical Performances in 50 Days.

Kevin has appeared on Oprah, NPR’s Talk of the Nation, CBS Morning News, Bob & Tom Radio Network, and The Dr. Laura Berman Show on SiriusXM. He is one of the speaker trainers at Stage Time University.

 Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, author, keynote speaker and TEDx speaker coach and improvisation actor. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.


Storytelling on the theme ‘what if?’

Live Storytelling Stories from the Heart 

Lisa Evans Storytelling


As another evening of storytelling is set to begin. There is a heightened sense of anticipation and excitement is palpable in the room. The audience is brimming with a mix of ‘first timers’ and seasoned storytelling aficionados. As the lights sink low, the buzz of the crowd transforms into a reverent silence. Another Stories from the Heart #SFTH evening is poised for launch, ready and waiting to captivate the audience.

The theme of the night ‘what if?’

At Stories From The Heart, a spectrum of stories and narrative styles were on display discussing the topic “What if?”

From Gonads to Grief!

The evening began with self-deprecating humour of Nick Mortimer. His comical tale of his experience as a mature-aged sperm donor had the audience in fits of laughter. One of the more memorable lines of the evening was the doctor telling him “Your gonads are good” after he passed the pre-screening medical exam.

Mavis Carruthers’ mother of the bride story was another crowd pleaser. She narrated her hilarious encounter with Dazzling Dave, a male stripper and main attraction at her daughter’s hens night. After comparing notes with her husband on his bucks night experience, she confessed that the romance in their lives had climaxed to a whole new level.

Lisa Evans Live Storytelling Amanda Lambros

The mood changed gear when Amanda Lambros shared her experience as a grief recovery counsellor.  

Amanda invited the audience to be open, honest and genuine with the people in their lives. “At some point, our loved ones will l leave us” she extolled, “and we don’t want to regret what was left unsaid.” She ended with a powerful message: “time doesn’t heal, action does.”  

A first for Stories from the Heart – Slam Poetry 

A very special guest also appeared on stage, Jesse Oliver the Australian Slam Poetry Champion. Grandmaster Flash Jesse, the wizard of words wove an intricate web and held the audience spellbound, performing two pieces of spoken word poetry ‘Aliens Exist’ and ‘Dream Revolution’.

In Louise Kelly’s story, she envisaged the existence of a portal opening up to other worlds, not unlike Dorothy’s journey in the Wizard of Oz.  After facing major challenges in her life, Louise felt lost and bereft. Seeking refuge in yoga and Gestalt therapy she now feels differently about life. Like Dorothy, she has realized “the answer was inside of me all along.”

What if I’d have drowned that day? Each story challenges our thinking

Brendan Ellis Storytelling Lisa Evans


Brendan Ellis recounted a harrowing tale of a near-death experience when he was ten years old


He fell overboard on a boating trip. Yet found an unexpected sense of peace and calm by concentrating on a beam of light that guided him to safety.


Our storytellers are vulnerable, sharing doubts, dreams, decisions

A rousing applause was given to Jay Crisp Crow. Her raw, authentic story of her life-long struggle with weight, struck a chord with the crowd who hung on her every word.   Drawing on some radical thinking, she set forth a challenge: “Why can’t I be both? Both fat and beautiful, and sexy and smart and successful?” And the overwhelming consensus was “Yes Jay, you can be both and you are!”

Sharron Attwood described her unconventional journey toward self-care. She recounted how her peers buy dozens of candles and keep gratitude journals, posting on Instagram with the hashtag #selfcaresunday. Instead, she irreverently started her own ritual of #happybathurstsunday, accompanied by a gesture to self-care, by lighting all the candles in her house.  

Michelle Woods delivered the final story of the night “Accidental Tramp Stamp.” The day she decided to get her first tattoo, it almost didn’t happen. Pete the cabbie all but held her hostage in the taxi saying “you can’t get a tattoo, you’re a nice girl.” Pete’s comment reviving long lost memories of the nuns telling her to keep her legs crossed at all times!

Warm-hearted entertainment at its best

I left that evening utterly inspired by the courage and creativity of the storytellers and by the hard work and care put in by the host Lisa Evans. I absolutely loved the atmosphere and energy in the room. Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den is an intimate venue and an ideal environment for the audience and storytellers to connect.

An evening with the SFTH ‘Perth Story Tribe’ is akin to a gathering around the campfire, sharing tales with a group of the most warm-hearted and entertaining people. A strong sense of community develops throughout the night. Friends and strangers bond over the hilarity and heartache that is our shared human condition.  

The next event is Sunday 25 March 2018 5 pm. All profits go to HeartKids. Tickets here 

You can watch more of the stories from past events on the SFTH You Tube channel. Want to step up and share one of your stories? Let’s chat to see if we are a fit


by guest blogger Tammy Bux

Tammy Bux is a strategist by day and storyteller by night, with more than twenty years’ experience in education and the banking sector.

She is passionate about encouraging people to celebrate their challenges and triumphs through storytelling.

She has a deep and abiding connection to her Pakistani heritage having spent childhood holidays nestled in the embrace of her large family there. Captivated by the stories of her ancestors she continues to unearth tales of their past adventures.



Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker, author, speechwriter and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

Find out about coaching and training here

Present your message with presence when you speak

Lisa Evans public speaking presence

Present your message with presence

Have you ever been to a function and noticed all heads in the room turn to look at one person?

Have you been in the audience when a speaker mesmerised the audience?

These people exude confidence and charisma. They have a presence.

Most of us have to learn presence

Presence is one of those mysterious things that some people just have. But most of us have to learn it and earn it.

People want to listen to people with presence. We take notice of others with presence. People that have an impact have a powerful presence.

Presence is made up of four key factors: your voice, how you look, your stance and your body language.

  • Your voice
  • How you look
  • Your stance
  • Your body language.

Your voice

How you sound

Some people have those smooth voices that are a dream to listen to, most of us have to work at it. A compelling voice commands presence.

So how do you improve your voice?

Read out loud in different voices

The good news is that we can work on our voices. One simple tip is simply to read out loud, whenever you can. If you have an audience of children, use your big, animated and, funny voices.

This simple tip of reading out loud to children works well. Don’t worry if there are no small children around. I have fur babies; they never tire of listening to a story!

Work on your breathing to increase your presence

Another easy to implement tip is to work on your breathing. The quality of your voice is determined by your breath quality. Work on improving the capacity of your diaphragm so that you can project your voice with ease. You will sound better, and you will look calmer and more confident.

Work on improving the capacity of your diaphragm so that you can project your voice with ease. You will sound better, and you will look calmer and more confident.

Warm up your voice before you speak and practice some exercises that strengthen your diagram. Try breathing in and out through a straw (not while you are speaking of course!), and practice diaphragmatic breathing instructions on how to do this

Diaphragmatic Breathing will increase the power of your voice

  1. Lie down on your back on the bed or floor. Place your feet flat on the floor with your knees bent. Focus on your breathing for a minute and try to tune in with which parts of your body your breath reaches.
  2. Place both hands on your belly, just above your navel. Watch how your breathing responds. Notice how your belly expands as you inhale and retract as you exhale. Let this happen, without forcing it.
  3. Then bring your attention to your hands as they rest on your bellow, and notice how your hands raise up as you inhale. Hold that breath or about 5 seconds. Then lower your hands slowly as you exhale all of your air. Repeat, 5 or 6 times, breathing through the nose.
  4. Once you feel comfortable with this exercise, on the inhale as your hands come down say out loud the vowels A-E-I-O-U.

Once you can breathe deep down into your belly, you will have more breath control and therefore more voice control.

Take your time

Speak at a steady pace and embrace silences and pauses – it’s not a race to the finish line. People who are present take their time and own the space – all of it, both physically with their stance, with the air they breathe, and with the words they languish.

Your stance

How you look

If you look good, you feel good. If you feel good, you will project confidence. It’s hard to exude presence if you feel uncomfortable. Dress for the occasion and then forget how you look, focus on being present and in the moment.

Practice standing tall, exercises for posture or regular yoga class work wonders. Aim to stand with an open posture, which means avoiding leg crossing arms folding hand-clasping as well as hands behind back or in pockets. Aim to have your hands where others can see them. It is a sign of trust.

Own the space

Take in the space around you, breath in the space and own the space. Move with purpose, practice stillness, and walk with your head held high. People graced with presence are captivating to watch and listen to because their body language is commanding, confident and calm.

Be happy

Remember to smile; it will help you feel relaxed and will send the signal that you are happy to be speaking to your listeners and they are in good hands. If you look miserable, you can’t expect your audience to be interested or excited about you being there.

How you feel

It’s okay to feel nervous when you have to present to an audience. Those sweaty palms, shaky hands and butterflies are all part of our physiological response. Stand up straight and remember to breathe. Be prepared for the moment look confident, and you will feel more confident. When you are ready to step up to the platform to speak, now is not the time to worry about last-minute details. Now is the time to focus and be 100% in the moment.

Don’t try to lose the butterflies leverage them

No-one needs to know what you are feeling on the inside. If you are feeling nervous (or terrified), keep that to your self.

An opportunity to serve

Appear to others like you are enjoying the experience. Speaking in front of an audience is an opportunity. As speakers we are there to serve, it’s never about us. As speakers, it is our job to make our audience feel comfortable; and if we are feeling awkward, then the chances are, our audience will feel awkward. If you can help them relax, they are more likely to be receptive to your message.

People with presence are charming and captivating. They are memorable, and they get asked back. Don’t worry if it doesn’t come naturally to you, work at it until it feels natural.

Aim for being present over being polished any time.

When you can touch and teach with your message, you will create a connection. If you focus on the tools and techniques or the mechanics of speaking, you will be aiming for perfection.

Connection trumps perfection. Be yourself and strive to create an environment where you can offer the best version of yourself and be fully present. Enjoy the moment.


Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

My next one day Public Speaking and Business Storytelling for Leaders workshop is on 13 March in Perth find out more


The Power of Personal Space in Public Speaking


Image courtesy of Shutterstock

The study of personal space is called ‘proxemics’.

The Role of Proxemics in Public Speaking


Notice how when a couple has had a fresh argument, they keep their distance from one another. By distance, I mean not just emotional distance but also physical distance. On the flip side, when couples are extremely happy together, they can’t stop holding hands or being really close. This very study of personal space is a fascinating field called ‘proxemics’.


Defining Proxemics

We’re all very touchy about our personal space. Too much proximity to another person, especially a stranger, either intimidates or infuriates us. There is nothing worse than someone ‘getting in your face’ when you don’t want them to be close to you.

Proxemics is the study of people’s territory and the implications of space in relationships with others. We want to be physically close to people we deeply love and maintain a distance from acquaintances or strangers.

Four Zones of Proxemics

Edward T. Hall, an American anthropologist, developed the concept of proxemics. He divided the personal distance we keep from others into four main zones:

Public Distance Zone: This zone is for public spaces that provide the greatest distance between people. Other shoppers, public transport commuters or concertgoers fall in this category. Does anyone else always pick the seat on the bus in the hope that no one will sit next to you? Here, the distance is approximately 3.6 m (12 feet).

Social Distance Zone: This is a more neutral space, allowing a little extra distance between other people and us. Polite conversations or business discussions happen in this space. In this zone, the distance is about 1.5–3 m (5-10 feet).

Personal Distance Zone: Reserved for family and friends, this space is for casual and close conversations. Here, the distance is 0.6–1.5   (2-5 feet).

Intimate Distance Zone: Intimate spaces are reserved for those we trust the most such as our partners, parents and siblings. The distance ranges from direct contact to 0.6 m (2 feet).

Importance of Proxemics in Public Speaking

The main aim of Public Speaking is getting people to listen and engage with what you’re saying. But it’s hard for people to engage if you’re having trouble efficiently using the space around you. Whether it is a scientist explaining a concept to an audience, your wedding speech or public debate. If you’re not leaning in, people are going to shut off.

By leaning in, I mean showing your passion through gestures and expressions that mirror your thoughts. At the same time, not being invasive or aggressive, and keeping a safe distance. It’s the same for your audience too. Leaning in is a sign that they are more interested. Leaning away means that they’re losing interest in what you’re saying.

Public Speaking and Proxemics

The study of proxemics teaches us about how to be a compelling communicator by using personal space to our advantage. Everything from the tone and pitch of your voice to your posture affects the way people take in your message. When you’re speaking to an audience, make sure that your voice is loud so that everyone can hear you. And that all members of the audience can see you, your gestures, and any supporting visual materials you’re sharing.

Don’t be afraid to move

You may also move off the platform and into the very front of the audience or move among the audience while speaking. This movement creates a greater level of familiarity and makes the speaker seem more approachable, and hence, more effective. To freely move and interact with your audience, you will need to wear a wireless microphone, so it’s best to tell the event planner in advance.

As part of your preparation, think about how you will use the space available and when you will move closer to your audience. I’m not suggesting you get too close and personal, and of course, there are cultural considerations to remember.

Aim to make your talk an experience to be remembered. Get out from behind the lectern, and use the space between you and your audience to deepen your connection.

My next one day Public Speaking and Business Storytelling for Leaders workshop is on 13 March in Perth find out more

If you would like to know the 7 Secrets to Spectacular Storytelling my complimentary e-booklet will help you get started.

As a storytelling expert, known as ‘The Story Midwife’, I help leaders globally to create powerful presentations through business storytelling.

I help bring life into the world in the form of stories (prior to becoming a professional speaker I spent 20 years as a midwife).

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a powerful presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me





Owning Your Speaking Voice

Lisa Evans Public Speaking VoiceWe all have a particular way of speaking

Owning Your Voice

‘I like you very much just as you are,’ Mr Darcy told Bridget Jones in the film Bridget Jones’s Diary, and we all went weak at the knees when we heard that line. Isn’t that what we all want? By that, I don’t necessarily mean a perfect love story. But what I mean is to be accepted for who we are, whether that includes our quirky habits like putting ketchup on everything we eat, dying our hair blue or even having a particular way of speaking.

Defining Valleyspeak

For years, sociologists and linguists have studied that lilt, referring to it as ‘uptalk’ or ‘high-rising intonation’. They found its presence in large pockets throughout the English-speaking world including Australia, England and New Zealand.

In America, it became popularised during the 1980s as Valley Girl Speak, after Frank Zappa’s hit 1982 song Valley Girl, a reference to the young women of California who spoke it as their dialect. Valleyspeak or Valspeak is an American sociolect, originally of the San Fernando Valley in Southern California. It is associated with young, upper-class white women (called Valley girls), although elements of it have spread to other demographics, including men, which has been a surprise for many scholars of linguistics.

Valleyspeak: The Stereotype

We’re all aware that this style of voice and using a vocal tic such as “like” annoys many people. It is widely written about as something that women, in particular, should eliminate because it’s considered to infantilise their persona and make them seem less intelligent. But the truth remains that for us Australians, our accent does have the inflection at the end of our words known as “upspeak” or high rising terminal, and we shouldn’t be expected to alter that rather fundamental part of who we are.

Why do some people say the word ‘like’ so much?

The Oxford English Dictionary says that “like” is “often used to convey the speaker’s response to something or to introduce segments of an ongoing conversation between two or more speakers. Sometimes also used to introduce a gesture or facial expression evocative of the speaker’s feelings.” In short, the word like is used in moments where we want to show as well as tell. The term ‘like’ allows us to introduce not just what we said or thought, but how.

So perhaps Valleyspeak does serve a linguistic purpose after all, and this reinforces the fact that we don’t have to spend time and effort in changing our accent to please others. Because I for one, firmly believe that owning your authentic voice is the best. What I can suggest though is for us to aim to increase others’ understanding by speaking loud and clear, and articulate our words.


But what about those of us who are Australian?

Interestingly, way before the term, Valleyspeak became a thing, Australians have always had the upward inflection as part of their accent. When I first came to Australia, 29 years ago, I had a heavy East London accent, and it was difficult for me to be understood by some people! I quickly learned that if I wanted to get my words across quickly, I had to change some words.

Here is a favorite Aussie Comedian of mine Adam Hills talking about the Australian accent.

I don’t recommend accent reduction

While I don’t recommend formal accent reduction training (it will take a lot of time and can be quite costly), for some people it becomes natural that when surrounded by others, that we adapt and speak with an accent that is similar to those around us. I have friends who have lived in Australia as long as I have, who have retained their native accents. Some of us do, and others will adopt the accent of places we visit after a mere week or two. Having lived in my adopted country for many years now, I have more of a blended accent these days part English, part Australian. And yes, I am guilty too of the upward inflection or as my fellow Brits would say the “Australian question speak” – but that is OK because for us Aussies that is just the way we speak.


My next one day Public Speaking and Business Storytelling for Leaders workshop is on 13 March in Perth find out more





The Power of Business Storytelling

Lisa Evans Speaking Savvy Power of Business Storytelling

Weave your story around your service

If I told you to buy a chocolate bar because it’s tasty, you’d probably forget about it in a few seconds. But if I weaved a story around a young boy fishing with his grandpa, whose face lights up the moment his grandpa digs out a chocolate bar from his back pocket, chances are you’d remember that story. It may even compel you to buy that same chocolate bar the next time you go grocery shopping. That is the power of business storytelling.

My next one day Public Speaking and Business Storytelling for Leaders workshop is on 13 March in Perth find out more

How do you ensure that people remember your product or service?

Stories allow you to stand out from the clutter

Stories are enticing and stand out from the clutter of everyday stimuli that are sent our way in the form of both online and offline advertisements. It’s one thing to list out the advantages of drinking a protein shake to an athlete; it’s another to present those same advantages through storytelling. People are attracted to stories because we’re social creatures and we relate to other people and their experiences. It’s really that simple!

Business Storytelling As A Great Tool

Business storytelling is a great and effective way of engaging with your audience. Reason being our brains can’t tell fiction from reality, which is why we become so invested in stories. When we hear a good story that is told well, we become part of the story.  Take a moment here to think of the last great book you read or a film you watched and felt every emotion the character felt as if it were happening to you.

Stories help us experience an idea or a thought as opposed to the dull and to-the-point information that often bombards us. This is the reason companies spend so much time getting their brand story right, which in turn helps them position themselves more accurately.

How Business Storytelling Affects The Brain

Storytelling causes a neurological response. According to neuroeconomist Paul Zak’s research, when our brains encounter a good story, oxytocin is released, causing us to feel empathy. The feeling is empathy is what compels us to want to take action. When you are able to convey empathy, people are more likely to act on their emotions, whether it’s purchasing a product, taking a trip to one’s dream destination or donating to a charity.

How I Can Help You Become a Better Storyteller

I work with Chief Storytelling Officers (CSO) of organisations, both big and small. A CSO uses the powerful tool of storytelling to help a brand or a company with social selling (or selling using the power of content). And successful organisations like Microsoft see a lot of value in this, which is why they invest a lot of resources in honing the skills of their Chief Storytelling Officers. You don’t have to be a big organisation to benefit from harnessing and sharing your stories with your customers and audiences.

As a leader in your organization, YOU are the CSO, your team need to know how to craft a compelling story because they’re the ones in direct contact with your clients or creating products and services for your clients.

My next one day Public Speaking and Business Storytelling for Leaders workshop is on 13 March in Perth find out more

If you would like to know the 7 Secrets to Spectacular Storytelling my complimentary e-booklet will help you get started.

Book Launch

My first book Speaking Savvy: The Art of Speaking and Storytelling is now available. For those in Australia, you can get a signed copy sent to you here


The Art of Speaking and Storytelling


As a storytelling expert, known as ‘The Story Midwife’, I’ve help brands through business storytelling.

I help bring life into the world in the form of stories (prior to becoming a professional speaker I spent 20 years as a midwife).

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a powerful presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me

One Day – Stories From The Heart

Stories From The Heart – One Day Can Change Everything

Guest blog post by Louise Kelly

At the Scarlet Room of Hotel Northbridge Perth, eight very different stories, plus two pop-up stories and an interactive improvised theatre segment, all storytellers took us on an emotional rollercoaster.

The stories made us laugh together, feel pain, feel uplifted, and feel connected as humans at the Stories From The Heart (SFTH) live storytelling event.

First-time live storytelling goer Lisa Froome described it as,

“So personal and real. They really are stories from the heart”.

Storytelling with Purpose – Giving Back to the Community

The proceeds from ticket sales are donated to the Cancer Council of WA.
Lisa Evans, Director of Speaking Savvy and founder and MC of Stories From The Heart, celebrated story number 100 at this seventh highly successful event.

Stories From The Heart Book Coming Soon…..

It was revealed that Stories From The Heart: Tales of Inspiration, will be launched on 25 March 2018. This is a multi-author compilation of short stories all previously told on stage at one of the events.

Lisa charmed us with her own special one day that changed everything, the day she first met and ‘won’ her husband in a sweepstake 26 years ago.

Each story is special and unique

In only six minutes each of the storytellers shared something very special with us for different reasons.

Dr Nicky Howe was first up and amazed us with her stories of tenaciously surviving the Army Reserve recruit training trials.
Miss Determination was never going to give up, no matter what they threw at her.

We knew immediately Jacqui Alder stepped up on stage and announced “Fanny’s – where the fun begins” we were in for a good time and weren’t disappointed. Jacqui made us all feel warm and fuzzy as we laughed along with her on her nightclub adventures. “Love is where you find it and not always where you expect it to be”.

Geoff Miethe then shared his secret of outsmarting fear that he learnt from the mysterious ‘hairy man’.

Next up was tiny adventurer Mel Chatfield, had us horrified with her hilarious action account, not only of literally crawling out of a remote long-drop toilet in Nepal, but also what she had to do next. “Life doesn’t always go according to plan”. It was Mel’s first time at SFTH and when I congratulated her afterwards she said, “I wanted to pull out and so glad I didn’t”.

I’m definitely looking forward to hearing more of her travel tales.

It seems that the men have been reluctant to put themselves forward and open up and share a story.
Lisa made a call encouraging more men to step up and come forward to tell a story. Apparently, it makes them more attractive to women (according to the Daily Mail).

Someone who did not need for that, first-timer to SFTH Chris Smoje, encouraged us all to follow our passion and create something to be proud.
Triggered by his search for the missing word for a eulogy, he inspired us with his one day that changed everything for him.

Putting on your ‘big girl panties’

After the break Nichola Renton, from the fabulous interactive Perth Playback Theatre delved into the audience and gathered stories of self-nourishment for Mental Health Week. Arlene Quinn and the members, barefoot, and dressed only in black, then acted them out on the spot. Using crates and racks of long coloured fabric as props, it was highly entertaining. Highlights for me were the imaginative tribute to Days of our Lives and putting on your ‘big girl panties’ to tackle something challenging.

Next Fiona Jeanne shifted the mood with her powerful story of self-discovery to “becoming functionally selfish” and your own best friend.

Brave audience members share a Pop-Up story

There are Pop-Up stories shared by volunteers who put their name in the hat. These are unprepared stories. First pop-up was Tony Hagan’s unexpected day with a new and vomiting employee.

Another pop up was a last-minute guest, Ryan Wareing, who surprised everyone by bravely jumping up and describing his romantic proposal that simply did not go as planned. I’ll never look at Two Peoples Bay the same way again.

I found myself holding my breath the next minute as Lizz Clarke laid herself bare with her raw and compelling story of clinging to hope. It was very moving, and there were a few tears in the audience. I felt heartened to hear of the “freezer filling friends” who supported her through her tough times.

Veteran SFTH performer Michelle Sandford then finished off the night with a bang and left us laughing at the end when she told the story of the day she ‘Yes, and-ed, the s&*% out of that” and fell in love.

As always it was a great mix of surprises and unexpected moments that bonded us through shared emotions and feelings.

“First time – such a fun event” Di Roots

It is a truly unique experience, and incredible value for money and all profits go to a chosen charity.

Written by special Guest Blogger Louise Kelly, Principal, Louise Kelly Consulting;

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly is a professional development expert, passionate about co-operation, collaboration, and connection.
Louise has been presenting, facilitating, and coaching for the last 18 years and her degrees are in Psychology and Training & Development. She is an avid traveller and enjoyed 13 years working for the airlines. Her flying adventures include surviving a Mayday situation, a runaway horse around the pyramids in Giza, scuba diving in Kenya, flying over the icebergs in the Arctic, driving an open-topped sports car through the desert to Vegas, and partying at Sir Richard Branson’s.

To find out more about Louise you can connect with her on LinkedIn or


Photography by Pille Qrabat of Perth Personality Photographer

More images are available in the shop and for your own personal or business use of the images, please purchase the copyright through the website and get a watermark free version here 


Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based in Perth, Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.



Bring Some Hollywood To Your Storytelling




Hollywood Storytelling

The Hero’s Journey has universal appeal

Every good story has key elements that make it a success. A hero who is on a journey, some conflict and obstacles, a reward and the hero returning a different person.

Stories built on the model of the hero’s myth are powerful and have universal appeal. These stories spring from a common source and reflect everyday concerns.

The questions we all ponder: Who am I? Why am I here? What happens if I continue on this path? What is good or bad? I wonder what will tomorrow be like?

Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey

In 1949, scholar Joseph Campbell wrote The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and in his work, he outlined 17 stages of the mythological hero’s journey.

Christopher Vogler condensed the Hero’s Journey into 12 stages

Several decades later, Christopher Vogler wanted to show Hollywood script writers how every movie can, and should, follow Cambell’s pattern; and in doing so, Vogler condensed the stages of the Hero’s Journey into 12 steps. In 1985 he wrote “A practical guide to Joseph Cambell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces”.

Here are the 12 stages of the Hero’s Journey (adapted from Christopher Vogler)

Ordinary World

The hero is introduced to the audience. The hero is usually uneasy or uncomfortable, and the ordinary world is often dull and gray. There is often some polarity or push/pull in the hero’s life which may be causing stress.

The call to adventure

The hero is about to undergo significant change. From deep within, or an external pressure will spark this strong calling. The hero is presented with a challenge, a problem or an adventure.

Refusal of the call

Initially, the hero is unsure and reluctant to cross the threshold to the adventure on offer; this is usually because the hero is afraid of the unknown. Sometimes another character in the story may point out the uncertainty and danger that may lie ahead.

Meeting with the mentor

The hero crosses paths with a mentor who has experience and wisdom, usually a seasoned traveler in the path that the hero is about to take. The mentor will offer wise words, some training or piece of equipment that will help the reluctant hero.
The mentor goes so far with the hero and then encourages the hero to face the unknown by themselves. It may be a helping hand or some words of comfort, but equally, as important, the mentor give a kick in the butt to push the hero along.
In some cases, the courage and wisdom can come from deep within.

Crossing the threshold

This is the end of Act one, and the hero is now ready to leave the ordinary world and go forth to the next step of the adventure. This is the point where the story set off in a new direction. The hero is now committed, and there is no turning back.

Tests, allies, and enemies

In the special world, there will be tests and challenges the hero is forced to make. There will be friends met along the way, as well as one or more enemies.

Approach to the innermost cave

This is the most dangerous part of the journey. This can also be the hero going into the darkest place of fear in their mind or dream world.


This is the central part of the story where the hero confronts the innermost fear, is on the brink of death or is forced to fight with a mythical beast. Out of this event comes a significant change.
All along, the audience has identified with the hero; we will feel that ‘near death’ experience, and we feel so relieved when the hero returns from death.

The reward

Having survived the ordeal, the hero now takes possession of the treasure they have been seeking. It could be a special weapon or power; it could be a new wave of courage and confidence. There may also be a reconciliation here as the ordeal has changed the hero and they may be more understanding.

The road back

Just as we think the ordeal is over for the hero there comes another challenge. This is usually around 3/4 of the way through the journey. The ordeal back is never straightforward, but how the hero approaches the new challenges will be different with their new found skills and powers.


Almost home, the hero is tested once again, and then there is the final act of death and rebirth; the hero is ultimately transformed by this experience.

Return with the Elixir

The hero comes back into the ordinary world and brings the elixir or treasure or a particular lesson. Perhaps, this could be a treasure won from a quest, love or purely a lesson learned to pass on to benefit others.


Adapt The Hero’s Journey to suit your storytelling style

A word of warning. Treat the hero’s myth as a skeleton. If you follow the structure too rigidly, you will be calling attention to the fact, and the story may seem stiff and inauthentic. There are many variations to the Hero’s Journey. Come up with your tweaks to make it work for you. You can leave a stage out, add another, or shuffle the order of the stages. You can do this without any loss of power in the story. Unless you are a Hollywood scriptwriter, feel free to make your interpretation of the stages of the journey for your hero.


The hero’s myth is fun, flexible and can be easily adapted so that you can weave the magic into your storytelling.


If you are keen to study mythological story structures and archetypes, then Cambell’s and Vogler’s work are a great place to start. However, if you want to start with a really simple storytelling framework, then read on.

For the past five years, I have been living and breathing storytelling. As a Certified Speaking and Storytelling Coach, I help people to create and deliver compelling stories.  You don’t have to have a rags to riches story to entertain and inspire others. As a business owner, learning to tell several stories really well will help your customers understand how you can help them.

In this article on Business Storytelling, I share tips on how to tell better stories

5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™

So you don’t have to have your sights set on Hollywood storytelling to want to use a tried and tested framework for your narrative.

I have developed a very simple 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™ framework that has all the elements of a good story that I mentioned in the beginning; A hero who is on a journey, some conflict and obstacles, a reward and the hero returning a different person.

Here is my 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™
Carry out

Here is a short video ‘Ignite’ style in which I explain more about the storytelling model.

You can download a copy of the 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling™ by popping your email in the box on this page.

In my next article, I will share the three stories that every business needs to have.

Would you like me to help make your next event a success? I am able to come to your next conference or event to deliver a fun and engaging keynote or TED-style talk on storytelling.

Book Launch

My first book Speaking Savvy: The Art of Speaking and Storytelling is now available. For those in Australia, I have a pre-launch limited offer for only $25 AUD (value $60).

  • Signed copy of Speaking Savvy delivered anywhere in Australia
  • Bonus E-book version
  • Bonus Find A Story In Five™ storytelling journal (limited to first 100 orders)

Order your pre-launch bundle now

The Art of Speaking and Storytelling

Lisa Evans, MBA is a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Keynote Speaker and TEDx Speaker Coach. Based Australia, Lisa works with leaders globally to help them craft and deliver powerful presentations and compelling business stories.

If you would like to know the 7 Secrets to Spectacular Storytelling my complimentary e-booklet will help you get started.


Lisa Evans The Story Midwife

I’m Lisa Evans ‘The Story Midwife’ I love hearing and sharing stories. If you would like to chat about how I can help you create a compelling story for your business, brand or presentation you may contact me here 

Reflections on being a speaker

What I have learned in business

It seems like yesterday, but it is three years since I set up my business Speaking Savvy. I have learned a lot along the way as a solopreneur speaker, there have been many highs and some lows, and plenty of falling, but isn’t it about falling forwards?


A solopreneur can break the rules

I am now a full-time solopreneur (whatever that means!). It is the freedom to walk the 15 seconds it takes to get to my cozy home office; to power up my diffuser with an energy oil blend, because no uptight co-worker is going to say they are allergic to the smell – being a solopreneur means I can break the rules!

Tom is never far from my side

Photo Pille Qrabat

When I am not out seeing clients I work at my desk with my dog Tom on my lap. Let me clarify; my dog is a Greyhound, he thinks he is on my lap, but only his head is on my lap.


Yin yoga and bingeing

I happily work for 10 hours a day, with regular short power breaks, to fill up my flask of ginger and lemongrass tea; to stretch my body with Yin yoga moves and to binge on chocolate (maybe I fooled you for a second into thinking I am super health conscious).

No waiting for approval

I am more productive in my business than I have ever been in the workforce. When I ponder this, I realise it’s because I am solely responsible for the outputs and outcomes in my business. I don’t have to wait for approval; I don’t have to hold a meeting to discuss things – I simply get on and do it.

These are the three things I am reflecting on today as I think back on my three years in business.

#1 I have all the knowledge I need to be where I am right now

I could have started my business earlier; the passion and motivation were there. But, like many who have a dream of starting a business, it’s the ‘starting bit’ not the ‘business bit’ that is the most daunting.

Just one more

I’ll just do one more certification, read one more book, do more free speaking. Whatever the “one more” is that we tell ourselves, it boils down to fear. Fear of being found out, of not knowing it all – the dreaded Imposter Syndrome.


The reality is, I knew more than the people I wanted to help. I knew enough for where I was then. I knew more than I gave myself credit for, and rather than thinking about what skills I had to offer, I was focussing on what skills I didn’t have.

There is always more to learn. I am committed to lifelong learning, but I am content that what I know right now is enough for where I am right now.

As a Public Speaking Coach, I get to work with some amazing clients and helping them on their speaking journeys. I continue on my speaking journey, and I have an incredible mentor who helps me.

#2 The hardest and most valuable resource to manage is time

We all have the same 1440 minutes each day; it is what we choose to do with them that counts.

In my previous career, I managed people, assets, large budgets, and contracts. Until recently, I was juggling a job as well as a business, Monday to Friday in my job and my business at the weekend (in the early stages, creating content, building relationships and my brand).

It’s easy to forget the time when you do what you loveshutterstock

Gradually over the next two years, I reduced my hours in my job and the rest of the time in the business. I am grateful I was able to access flexible working policies to allow me to work part-time to allow me to grow my business. I had set days at work and the same for business.

As my speaking and coaching business got busier and I still had a contract with a government department I found myself working more hours. A seven-day working week is not uncommon but it never feels like work. Efficiently managing my time has meant that I can fit a lot into my working day.

Power breaks for productivity

I gave up watching TV when I started my business; all my information I digest in the form of podcasts or videos. I make phone calls while I walk the treadmill or around the local park with my dogs, I use the Pomodoro technique to ensure that I take power breaks for productivity for posture and to recharge. It’s  easy to forget the time when you do what you love.

#3 Ask better questions

I have worked with some fabulous people who have helped me develop my business, several I couldn’t do without.

I have also made some costly mistakes by engaging people to help me, and then finding out they were not a match for me. A couple of bad coaching experiences did put me off for a long time. There are many “experts” out there, people who promise a lot and then can’t deliver on those promises.

Living by my values

To me, the values of integrity, respect, fairness, and commitment are important.

I understand that for others their values are different. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with these people. Instead of thinking of this experience as a bad business decision, I think of it as a valuable development experience. As a result, I have learned to seek out people who share the same values as me. I now ask better questions.

Work with people who come recommended

I work with people who come with a recommendation from others who have used their services, and I don’t recommend people if I haven’t tried their services.

If you are thinking of starting a business, then start. You have the knowledge you need right now if you are passionate about what you have to offer and are willing to learn.

You can manage your time by focussing your efforts on what matters most and don’t be afraid to ask the tough questions when choosing who you want on your team.

Follow Lisa Evans on Facebook to find out the next #SFTHPerth event is.


Seeking Story Tribe members. Have you got a story to share?

Watch and listen to these stories and more on  #SFTHPerth You tube 

The Storytelling Tribe by Michelle Sandford

The Storytelling Tribe

Turning up at Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den on a Sunday night I am filled with anticipation. People greet me with smiles as I recognise them. These are people I know. More and more of them as I grab a drink at the bar and move towards the stairs.

It’s dark. It’s intimate

I love this venue; it’s dark, it’s intimate — the crowd sits together on chairs, benches, cushions — whatever, all bunched together haphazardly and the suspense builds. We chat — but we are here for something more. To share stories; laugh together; to cry together… And we know we will.


L-R Eugenie Michele Tammy Arlene Lisa Angie Godfrey Nichola Pille Rebecca Troy

Lisa Evans from Speaking Savvy has been running live storytelling events for more than a year. She finds people who have something to say and coaches them until their story comes forth. Tickets are sold, and all the profits go to charity, this time its Heart Kids WA. And almost without knowing it the Storytelling Tribe has grown.

Amazing tales were told by the storytellers

The topic was “Journeys” this time, and the Storytellers told some amazing tales. Pille Qrabat told a story called “The First Lady”, and she toppled all expectations when she revealed it was about a parrot that was jealous of her.

Arlene Quinn talked about “The Glass Ceiling”, and we laughed as she wove a story that involved Mrs. Banks’ Bloomers and two brand new bras. Then she told us that she “lives life lightly” —tremendous advice to all of us.

Lessons Learned

Michele Woods told us “Stripe by Stripe” how she discovered to live 100% in the present moment. To focus on what is right in front and be completely and devastatingly aware of it and all that it means. lisa-evans-storyteling-michele-wooods

Godfrey Baronie danced his way into our hearts with “The 20-metre journey”.

Rebecca Hannon told us “Dad’s Journey”, and she stripped away the different layers to reveal all the different people that made up her father through his lifetime. Not something many of us think to do even for ourselves — never mind our parents.



Troy Hendrickson said, “Our Journeys are full of decision points” and I laughed all the way through this one. He went far longer than allowed but no-one complained, no-one ever does…


Eugenie Stockmann described “The Best Birthday Present”, which to someone from the Netherlands is, of course, a bike…


Nichola Renton — standing proud and strong in the centre of the stage in a gorgeous full-length gown, who told us of Olive and Lorna. One small, angry and red and the other, a little cream puff.


My favourite quote from Nichola’s story, “We were so good at living, we forgot she was dying”. It was a glorious story called “Full Circle” that reduced everyone to tears. 

Angie Pascevicius gave us “The Unexpected Message” which was a gateway to her Lithuanian past through the medium of social media.

My good friend Nick Mortimer made us laugh as he described “Hitching a Ride” — best quote “Some people want to help drug users… and other times the drug users just want to help you”.

I loved all the stories — not just these, but all the pop-up storytellers too.
Empress Ming always makes us laugh and cry. She has the power to move me no matter where my thoughts are wandering.

Tammy Bux shared a delightful story titled “Princess Selma Shining Through” and she spoke of how her differences have become her strengths. The importance of being authentic. Of learning who you are and leaning into that. She said, “in the end, just like Princess Leia, I didn’t want anyone to rescue me — I became a storyteller and I rescued myself.”


We experience highs and lows without leaving our seats

It was like exploring the world, seeing other people’s families, their hearts and their minds — and we got to experience their highs and their lows without ever leaving our seats.

It’s an incredible experience, and I feel so privileged to be part of the this Tribe of Storytellers.

Follow Lisa Evans on Facebook to find out the next #SFTHPerth event is.


Watch and listen to these stories and more on  #SFTHPerth You tube 


This post is written by Michelle Sandford, a #SFTHPerth regular. In fact, she has been to every event!

Michelle Sandford works for Microsoft. She is the Vice Chair of the Australian Computer Society in WA, a Tedx Speaker, a Tech Girl Superhero and one of MCV’s 30 Most Influential Women in Games. You can follow Michelle on LinkedIn for her articles; on Twitter for events, interesting shares and occasional commentary in 140 characters, Facebook to see where she is presenting next, YouTube for videos and Instagram for dog photos.


Photographs by Perth Personality Photography