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Why Leaders Need to be Great Storytellers

Why Leaders Need to be Great Storytellers

If you want to fulfil your potential and become an engaging, authentic and persuasive leader, you need to develop your storytelling skills. Business Storytelling is one of the key Soft Skills that help leaders communicate effectively.

The most memorable leaders throughout history have always been outstanding storytellers; Gandhi, George Washington and Julius Caesar used the power of story to inspire their audience, inspire action and spark positive change.

Although most of us aren’t trying to revolt against oppressors or lead a revolution (hopefully!), we too can use stories to achieve our unique business and career goals and get our teams engaged. 

Every ambitious leader should be willing to embrace storytelling as an alternative way to open up communication and build a more promising future for all. Here’s why.

Why stories are an effective tool for communication

Stories have been a natural part of our history since time began. Almost every culture around the world has a strong tradition of sharing stories with others, whether that’s through oral storytelling, books or even our modern digital storytelling.

We love them because they help us to make sense of our lives and bring them meaning. They evoke emotions, stir our senses, spark our imagination and if they resonate with us, can even cause levels of the bonding hormone, oxytocin to spike.

But that’s not all- according to a 2017 study published in the Nature Communications Journal, stories are a uniquely human way of fostering cooperation in a social group and sharing cultural expectations. If you are the storyteller, you have a greater chance of being trusted, climbing up the social hierarchy and even having healthier offspring.

It’s hardly surprising then that storytelling is a powerful tool when it comes to business communication.

Stories can communicate messages and share values in a way that bare scientific or statistical fact can’t.

If you, as a leader, can share your data or information into a compelling story, you’re much more likely to drive engagement, your message will become more memorable, and trust will grow. By using story, you give your listeners a reason to keep striving for a better world.

Why your story is worth sharing (even if you think it’s not)

You’re likely nodding your head at what I’ve just shared. You’ve already read your fair share of books, watched numerous TED talks, and poured over the studies that encourage you to use storytelling to unlock your public speaking power.

But the problem is, you don’t believe that you have any stories worth sharing.

Or you think that others just wouldn’t be interested in what you have to say. Or you’re clueless when it comes to selecting the right stories to share and how to structure them for the best impact.

However, you can learn how to tell inspiring stories, even if you believe that you are hopeless. Although there are one or two gifted storytellers in the world, most of us learned through dedicated focus and attention, and you can do the same thing.

By identifying the most relevant stories to convey your message, tailoring your story for the environment, monitoring how people react and getting plenty of practice, you can perfect your storytelling skills.

Master the art of storytelling for leaders

Becoming an outstanding, engaging storyteller depends on three key pillars:

1) Choosing which ‘type’ of story you want to use

2) Identifying the right story for your audience.

3) Understanding how to structure stories so they have the greatest impact.

Let’s look at each of these in turn.

Which type of story

There are several stories that every leader should have at the ready. The first story you should begin with is the Signature Story. This is a story that is about you and your journey, but also includes how you help others (we want to avoid ‘all about me’ stories!).

Decide which story to use

Next, you should consider which of your stories will resonate with your audience(s).

This story doesn’t have to be long. In fact, a short story is better as you simply want it to complement your message, not take over entirely.

Select the stories that are likely to resonate with your audience and aim to weave a few through your presentation so they appear effortless.

When you manage to choose the right story for the right moment, you can create an immersive experience for your listener so they feel like they could be part of that story. Your audience will relate better to what you are sharing, you’ll foster trust and you’ll be more likely to inspire positive action.

And yes, it is possible to do this in a shorter time than you think.

If you’re stuck for ideas, you can create a story bank that includes details of the things you’ve seen, heard or observed an experience that has had an impact on you. Just jot them down and then you will be able to refer to them later.

Perfect the structure

An effective short story for presentations should follow the shape of an arc. It should have a clear beginning, middle and end and should be able to get a point across in a short time. There are three main elements to a story;

  • Context: E.g. “Once upon a time…
  • Challenge: What happened to disrupt the status quo, and then what?
  • Change: What did you/they do about it and how are you/they different now?

Conclusion

Storytelling is the most effective way to engage your audience, build your authority and encourage positive change for the future and can be learned relatively quickly.

Start by collecting stories, select the most effective and structure your stories carefully so they can have the maximum impact. Find out more about my Business Storytelling for Leaders workshops.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps professionals to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Tailored Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking either in person or via virtual means at your next conference or event.

Graphic Recording will make your message more memorable

Graphic Recording will make your message more memorable

Graphic recording Lisa Evans

I am often asked about my work as a graphic recorder and the question most people want to know is, how to get started. 

In this post I will share basic tips on how to take that first step in putting pen to paper, or stylus to device (depending on your chosen medium). 

If you would like a 1:1 coaching session or an interactive workshop for your team on how to record any information in a graphic recording, then get in touch to find out about my workshop.

Sketchnoting for Business (even if you think you cannot draw) 

Firstly,  what is Graphic Recording? 

Graphic Recording is a way of capturing visual content in an eye-popping and compelling way, using a combination of lettering, words, shapes and figures. Graphic recording is Ideal for both online and in person events or meetings, in fact any occasion where you want your message to stand out and to grab people’s attention visually.

A graphic recording will help to spark imagination, highlight the key talking points and keep the conversation going long after the speaker has finished. This form of visual storytelling appeals to busy people who want a snapshot of information in a one page summary. 

‘But I cannot draw’

I hear this everyday. The truth is I can’t draw either, and it’s not necessary. The purpose of a Graphic Recording is to quickly and efficiently capture ideas and highlights in a fun way, whilst improving the chances of recall of information as our brain loves visual imagery to help us connect the dots and remember things. 

Anyone can draw basic shapes and all you need to get started is to be able to draw a square, circle triangle and a straight line. These are the building blocks. 

How to get started? 

Initially you will need to decide if you would prefer to capture your ideas via pen and paper, or whether you would like to use a digital device such as the iPadPro. 

Choose your Medium

Digital Vs Paper.

If you choose digital, you will need a tablet with a stylus and a drawing app. The benefits of using a tablet is that your graphic recording can be transmitted easily and saved in different formats. It is also possible to edit and undo and correct mistakes. On the down side, I personally found that mastering the IPadPro with Procreate and Concepts (the main apps I use) to be a very steep learning curve. 

I started off using paper. I prefer a combination of flip chart sized paper as well as moleskins and sketch pads. 

You will also need pens/textas/markers

Tip:   It is faster to get your ideas down onto paper, so you might like to start with this and progress to digital.  Of course, digital is much quicker to be able to share, so take this into account if you need to get the content out quickly to attendees/participants.  

Also,  starting with paper is a low cost way to dip your toe into graphic recording.  You don’t need to get fancy with markers when you are starting out.  You can definitely borrow some from the kids, or just pick up a basic pack at the supermarket or stationary store. 

To start I recommend;

  • A pack of Staedtler highlighter chisel tips  in both pastel and brights
  • Some calligraphy markers and lettering pens – Artine is a good starter option
  • A pack of brush lettering pens – make sure there are a range of skin tones.

Once you feel ready, you can invest in quality pens and tools.   I like to use Neuland Markers from Graphic Gear.   

Next, you need to develop a visual library.  Shapes, lines, lettering, figurines, faces, objects.   Be patient – it takes time and practice.   9/10 adults say they can’t draw, but you can.  You are not aiming to be the next Picasso, this is about capturing the essence and points of a meeting or event.   If you are struggling for inspiration, have a look on Instagram or Pinterest for some ideas or check out my gallery!

There are also some great books about graphic recording;

Practice every day!   Use a conversation as a prompt, or something you see in a coffee shop, or read in a book. You can make a graphic recording of anything.  Maybe find a drawing buddy or enrol in a workshop.

Don’t leave home without them…your pens that is!

I found a nifty grey felt holder from Ikea that is perfect for carrying pens around with me. 

I suggest you always carry some tools with you (even just a notebook and a few coloured pens) as you never know what you might come across, and there are so many opportunities to draw!

Have fun, be creative and you will be on your way to becoming a visual storyteller!   


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers. Lisa is a certified speaker coach, TEDx speaker coach, four times author, NLP practitioner, graphic recorder and visual storyteller, and improvisational actor. 

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you

Whether you have a hidden story of your feet, or you want to nail your next presentation, I can help you.

My services include:

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories.

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference or event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Storytelling for Business Workshop – 5 Business Storytelling Secrets

Storytelling for Business Workshop – 5 Business Storytelling Secrets

Business Storytelling. Everyone is talking about it, few do it well.

Here I’ll share some tips from my storytelling for business workshop and coaching sessions. Business Storytelling is a buzzword among entrepreneurs and leaders. But honestly, how many people actually do it well? You are probably a “natural” storyteller, think of the “water cooler” stories. But what may happen when you present to a group on a topic that is business related, is that you default to a formal data-driven approach, leaving aside your natural charisma and conversational style.  

Most people agree that business storytelling is a useful tool of influence, but then continue to create another presentation that is top heavy with poorly designed slides or chock full of data. Often this common method of presentation is the fall back and this is a main focus with clients from my storytelling for business workshop and coaching sessions. Perhaps you are ready to try storytelling, but you are not sure where to start? We live in an information economy. We have access to more information than we can use, more facts than we can process. What we do crave is help to “join the dots,” to make sense of data, to find inner wisdom. When we hear a balance of logic and emotion, we are far more likely to take action.

Here’s an inside look at some of the main take-aways from my storytelling for business workshop and coaching sessions.

Storytelling for Business Workshop: Lisa Evans - Speaking Savvy Storytelling Logic Emotion

“Logic makes people think, but it is emotion, that makes people act.” Zig Ziglar.

It’s not about telling fairy tales

Business stories are supported by facts. Leaders are not there to tell fairy tales! Instead, the idea is to create a story narrative that is compelling enough to stick in the minds of the listeners, long after they have heard it. A good story lives on, and on.   The good news is, that you have all have all the tools you need to be an effective storyteller, but you may need to sharpen the tools to fully unlock your storytelling prowess. If you really want to make a lasting impression, aim to be a master storyteller. It takes effort and practice, but I believe it is worth it.

What you’ll learn at my storytelling for business workshop:

An effective story has key ingredients

You have plenty of experiences and material for stories at your fingertips, but for many, it is the link between a story and a strategic objective that is not so clear. The difference between personal and business storytelling is, that the latter has a purpose. A good story also has a plot, at least two central characters and a call to action. Once you learn to capture and harness your stories, you will have a story suitable for every occasion.

If you want to foster real change, then be prepared to dig a little deeper. Just scratching the surface, rarely will do the trick. Storytelling is not about perfection, not every story will have a happy ending. Be prepared to share the “warts ‘n all version”, it may even be a little messy, but so is life and business. Aim to be vulnerable if need be, but most of all be authentic. In business storytelling, remember that you or your business is not the hero of the story, the customer is.

Focusing on the customer is one of the main things we focus on in a storytelling for business workshop.

Without emotion, there is no change

According to Steve Denning, author of The Leaders Guide to Storytelling,

“The idea that storytelling is a rare skill possessed by relatively few human beings is nonsense. We tell stories naturally in the informal setting, it is only when we get up and stand in front of an audience that we forget to be ourselves and enjoy sharing the ancient art of storytelling”.

Forget the rational and objective, that will get you so far but quite simply without emotion, there is no change. Data alone won’t get your message across in a way that is easy to remember and recall. To be memorable in your message, aim to appeal to the full array of senses if you want to get through to people. It is one thing to get information “out” but entirely different to get “through.” No-one feels inspired or motivated to change by being “talked at,” we prefer a two-way interaction, and that is what a story can bring and something I focus on with my clients in my storytelling for business workshop and coaching sessions.

Storytelling – a skill worth learning?

The person with the title leader is not necessarily the one who naturally inspires others to follow. As leaders, we have to be able to demonstrate our values, our integrity, and our purpose. It is not enough to have a mission statement framed on the desk or a set of company values printed on the stationery.

Leaders who embrace storytelling as a strategic tool can share “values in action” stories, translate lessons learned to pass on to others, express the struggles fought and won, and tell stories of success. A real and relatable story will break down barriers and demonstrate the essence of your leadership style and intention.

People want genuine heartfelt leaders, who are willing to share their core, what makes them tick, and the stories they can bring to the table to provide meaning to their actions.

Leaders who are exceptional storytellers are entertaining, engaging and memorable. Their listeners can recall and repeat their stories long past the event. Why? Because they know how to create a “sticky” story, and have learned not only to put together a story plot but to deliver a story while capturing the imagination of the audience.

If this is something you’re struggling with, attending a storytelling for business workshop could be a great boost for your skills.

According to Annette Simmons author of The Story Factor,

“The power of even a simple story to affirm someone’s connection to your organization’s people, values, and vision, can mean the difference between mere competence and fully realized ownership. Simply put your stories help your people feel alive.”

Where do people go wrong when storytelling in business?

“I’m going to start by telling you a story….” This is a sure way to ruin the spontaneity and curiosity that surrounds any great story.  Yet so many people begin like this. There is a better way!   Telegraphing is a term commonly used in sports, particularly in boxing. According to Wikipedia, “Telegraphing is to intentionally alert an opponent to one’s immediate situation or intentions.”The boxer may move his shoulder and body in a particular way before throwing a punch and this movement can be read by the opponent. A major skill I teach in my storytelling for business workshop is being able to hide telegraphing so that you don’t give your intention away.

If you want to create a memorable and sticky story there are a few golden rules to create a memorable story without giving too much away or “telegraphing,” and to keep people curious to know more right to the very end.

Here are 5 simple business storytelling tips

1. Avoid telegraphing when storytelling

It’s not necessary, to begin with, “I’m going to tell you a story” or another one I hear is “May I start by telling you a story?”.  The best thing to do is jump right in and start your story. There is no need to ask permission or to “telegraph” what is ahead.

You can launch into your story with a short preamble line that sets the context. For example “I remember a time, back in the 70’s growing up..” or “As the sun was rising, I was walking along the beach this morning”.  A good story that is relevant to your topic can be spontaneously woven into your material with a seamless transition between the content and your story.

2. Ensure every story has a plot

Every story needs a plot, otherwise, it’s not a story. People often think they are storytelling when all they are doing is sharing a short anecdote or a case study. A story has to have a plot.  There is a lot of in-depth information and theories on the structure and shape of stories. The most well-known is the Hero’s Journey by Joseph Campbell. There are 12 steps in the Hero’s Journey. If you are interested in storytelling, The Hero with a Thousand Faces is an in-depth read. For the average storyteller or someone new to this form of narrative, it is quite complex.  I have created a simple framework to use when plotting your story. It’s called the 5C’s of Compelling Storytelling™ and it’s what we use in my storytelling for business workshop.

The stages of the story plot are as follows: Context, Challenge, Choice, Change, Carryout. For the average storyteller, or someone new to this form of narrative, the Hero’s Journey can be too complex.

I have created a simple framework to use when plotting your story, called the 5C’s of Compelling Storytelling™.

The stages of the story plot are as follows:

  • Context
  • Challenge
  • Choice
  • Change
  • Carryout

3. Create characters to bring your story to life

Your story needs characters. Often when people tell a story they talk about other people in an impersonal way. My husband, the boss, my dog. Take your character a step further and develop them. To help our audience to feel drawn into our story, they need to be able to relate to our characters, either by seeing themselves as that character, or someone they know. Experiment by giving your characters the personality and character traits that help others experience them more fully.

Your story needs characters. Often when people tell a story, they talk about other people in an impersonal way. “My husband, the boss, my dog.” Take your character a step further and develop them. To help our audience to feel drawn to our story, they need to be able to relate to our characters, either by seeing themselves as that character, or someone they know. Experiment by giving your characters the personality and traits that help others experience them more fully.

Name your characters. Tell your audience a few key things about them. For example, if my grandmother is part of my story, I would say, “my Nana Doris is 89, despite her bird-like arthritic frame, she still loves to play Cockney sing-along tunes on the piano; she smells of mothballs, mixed with 711 perfume”.

By describing some of my grandmother’s characteristics, I’m able to paint a picture of her in your mind.

4. Use dialogue in your storytelling

Rather than retell or regurgitate your story, bring your story to life with dialogue. Instead of saying, there is a lady who gets on the bus every day and tells people how many days there are until Christmas (this is a true story!). If I were retelling this story, to make this scene come to life, I may say something like, “every morning, this larger than life, middle-aged woman would climb aboard the bus. With a great big smile she would buy her ticket, then announce to the whole bus in a rather loud voice, ‘today is Wednesday, there are 203 days until Christmas’, then she sat down and didn’t say another word”.

Instead of telling you what she said, I would become that character for that line of dialogue. Try out voices and accents to take on any characteristics of that person. This adds another dimension to your story.

5. What life lessons does your story offer?

The most important part of your story is the lessons you learned that you could share with others. I believe that storytelling is a great way to share your life wisdom. It’s not about saying, ‘Hey, look at me and where I am now”. Any good story has its’ share of challenge and struggles.

People don’t want to know how successful you are; they want to know what challenges you over overcame along your journey to get where you are today.

Are you prepared to share your challenges warts ‘n all? We have all made mistakes, there may be times when we wish we had done something differently or we messed up. This is what makes up the rich tapestry of life and becomes parts of your story. If you’d like to chat about how I can help you create the right story for your business or attend a storytelling for business workshop or coaching session I’d like to hear from you.


As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

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

Are you looking to attend a storytelling for business workshop with me? 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 persuasive 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 you or your team or attend a storytelling for business workshop, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

A founding story is one business story that every leader needs to tell

A founding story is one business story that every leader needs to tell

Your founding story is a business story that helps others understand what you do, and how it helps them.

Your founding story helps others to understand why your business, product or service exists. The story may also include what you and your brand stands for (incorporating some of the Values Story), as well articulating the value that you offer to those whom you serve.  

Every great leader has the ability to speak with confidence and charisma. One of the most powerful communication tools that a charismatic leader harnesses, is the ability to effortlessly weave stories through their material. 

“The most powerful person in the world is the storyteller”. 

Steve Jobs

In my work as a Business Storytelling Consultant and Public Speaking Coach, I help leaders to craft and share compelling, memorable and engaging business stories. Using a Story Blueprint™ as a guide to create a suite of stories, people are able to transform their communication.  

The five core stories that make up the Story Blueprint™ are the; Signature Story, Founding Story, Values Story, Aspiration Story and the Customer Story.   

In recent articles, I refer to different types of business stories in the Story Blueprint™.

A good place to start your business storytelling journey is the Signature Story, and in a follow up article, I offered 10 ways to boost engagement by sharing your signature story

You can make a start with any of the five stories and then build on your repertoire as you gain more confidence as you tell your stories.

A founding story holds your essence

I am often asked if there is an ideal length of a business story. This very much depends on the application and context of the storytelling. The rule of thumb is that less is almost always best. It is preferable to leave people wanting more, and it gives people a reason to continue the conversation, rather than tell a story that goes on for too long and can get boring. 

Ideally, once you get comfortable with business storytelling you may have different versions of the story, including a short ‘nutshell story’ of up to 90 seconds, and then perhaps a six minute and a 15 minute version that goes deeper and provides more information. 

Every time you are preparing a presentation, you can consider what version of your story is suitable and this will depend on the purpose the story serves. 

Becoming The Story Midwife

For over 20 years I was a midwife. 

It was my dream job. It gave me incredible  joy to help bring new life into the world.  Then my life was turned upside down, when a virus destroyed most of my hearing. Sadly, I had no choice, but to reluctantly find another career. 

A fresh start,  working in the public service led to isolation and desperation. A toxic workplace destroyed my  confidence and self esteem. I became withdrawn and afraid to speak up.  

A chance meeting with Professor Rajan,  led to an incredible opportunity to take part in a research trial. With the gift of a cochlear implant, I began a new chapter in discovering to hear again in a different way. As part of this journey my interest in speaking and storytelling was sparked.  I sought out mentors and trainers around the world to help me discover and unlock the voice that I was reluctant to share. 

As a former midwife,  a transition to coaching was natural. I became certified and as a lifelong learner I continue to work on my craft.  

Five years ago I decided to become a full time professional speaker, business storytelling consultant, trainer and coach. A complete career change,  but I still get the joy of bringing a new life into the world, instead of babies’ it’s stories.  Some years ago, when a client discovered my previous career,  he introduced me as The Story Midwife. The name has become part of my founding story and helps set me apart. 

Stories have emotional value

The Significant Object Project, was an experiment that set out to discover the economic value of storytelling.

In 2009, Rob Walker and Joshua Glenn, demonstrated how narrative had an effect on the subjective value of an object.  Their experiment involved the purchase of ordinary low-value items from second-hand shops, and pairing each item with a creative writer, and then for auction on eBay,  to find out if the value in trade increased. And it did, by a massive 2,700%.  Their hypothesis was correct, stories have emotional value and can transform an insignificant object into a significant one. 

“Stories are such a powerful driver of emotional value that their effect on any given object’s subjective value can actually be measured objectively.”

Joshua Glenn and Rob Walker

Knowing which story to tell

A good story features a rollercoaster of emotions. It wouldn’t be a good story if we only shared the good bits, or our most successful moments. We need the highs, twists, turns, and low points too. In your quest to become a master at storytelling, it requires being comfortable with an appropriate level of vulnerability. This is different for everyone and vulnerability does not mean oversharing

Six questions to help you craft your founding story

  1. What was the catalyst that led you to start doing what you are doing now? This may be: becoming a business owner / launching a product / or leading a team.
  2. What challenges have you overcome in business? It’s never smooth sailing, and your story is relatable to others when you are open to sharing faults, flaws, and failures, as well as the wins. 
  3. Why are you the best person to lead the business? This part of the story provides you with the opportunity to subtly weave in some credibility.
  4.  Why should others care about your story? In order for a story to make an impact people have to care about how the story helps them. 
  5. What is your vision for the world, and how can you incorporate this into your story?
  6.  What is the legacy that you wish to leave, and how will the world be a better place through your contribution?  

 These questions will help you get started in crafting your Founding Story. Let me know how you go,  I’m always interested in listening to a good story.


About the author

Lisa Evans helps leaders and entrepreneurs to craft compelling business stories and become exceptional speakers.

She has coached thousands of leaders across a range of industries, including resources, banking, finance, engineering, retail and sales as well as not-for-profit and community associations. 

If you wish to take advantage of a complimentary session in order to chat about how you can become an exceptional and successful speaker with a stand-out brand, then use this link to book a time to chat.

Here’s how I may help you 

My services include: 

Virtual – Live Online Training – Public Speaking and Presentation Skills, Business Storytelling and executive Speaker Coaching is available online.

Business Storytelling Coaching – together we can get started to create your suite of stories. A minimum of three sessions is recommended 1:1 in person or virtually via Zoom.

Executive Speaker Coaching – if you have an upcoming guest speaking opportunity, funding pitch, conference talk or you want to be an outstanding speaker, we can work together on your technique. You will see the results after one session.

Storytelling for Leaders Interactive Workshops – I can come to you, or we can host a workshop offsite for your team. From half-day to two-days immersive, this customised workshop is an ideal way to kick start your business storytelling strategy and get the whole team telling stories. 

Keynote/Guest Speaking at your next conference live of virtual event – I have several topics to choose from ranging from a 30-minute talk up to a 90-minute interactive session.

Lisa Evans, MBA is the CEO of Speaking Savvy. She is one of less than 150 Certified Speaking Professionals in Australia. She is a Certified Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach, Certified Virtual Presenter, Accredited Business Coach (ICF), Author, TEDx Speaker Coach, NLP Coach, Graphic Recorder, Host and Curator of Stories From The Heart, and Improvisation Actor and Marketing Director at Perth Playback Theatre.

Your Values Story

Your Values Story

If you articulate your values as part of a story you will have a greater impact and meaning. Storytelling is a wonderful vehicle to communicate your personal or your organisation’s values. 

How values are commonly shared 

What are your values and how can you bring them to life? I’ve worked for multiple organisations that had their core values proudly displayed on the wall or made into mouse mats, bookmarks, and brochures so they are prominent for all to see.

“When a person can identify and narrate the experiences that shaped their values, they feel more grounded, inspired with purpose, and better able to connect with others on a human level.”

Anita Cushman

The heart of the organisation rests with those who tell the stories

When I worked in a hospital for many years, there was a vibrant local and international history with plenty of stories. Some of the longest-serving staff were the hospital porters. They were at the coal-face of many a tale and it was in the re-telling of these stories that the values of the organisation were brought to life. Often during long night shifts, these stories would be told to anyone eager to listen. 

It was not apparent that any of these stories were captured more formally or shared by the leadership team.

When values are simply words on a page, they have less impact than when they are shared through the tradition of oral storytelling. 

Marshall Ganz from Harvard University uses values-based leadership practice. He says, “Narrative is not talking about values, rather narrative embodies and communicates those values.” 

When values are stuck on the wall in a frame, they carry the value of a mass produced painting, and no one takes much notice. But when the values are shared  in the form of narrative, people can appreciate their worth and uniqueness as the values convey meaning and context. 

If you would like to do a value-based exercise prior to crafting your story, you can download a set of 100 Values cards that you can print out here. Opt-in and you’ll receive the 100 Values Cards to your email:

Here are six questions to help you shape your values story

#1 What are your top values? 

#2 Why are these values held dear to you? 

#3 What are the values of your business or organisation?

#4 Are there any of these values that create conflict for you, or that you do not  fully commit to? 

#5 Can you think of a time when you have upheld one or more values, and this led to a positive outcome for you or someone else?

#6 Can you remember a time when you have had your values challenged, and you have felt pulled or have struggled to come to terms with this?

Once you have pondered the questions, craft a short story about your values.  You may choose to weave multiple values into a story or you could have a short story that demonstrates each value in action.

The Values Story is one of the six stories that I recommend every leader should have as part of a Story Blueprint. 

Read about other key parts of your Story Blueprint:


How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3, or a 90 minute session. Let’s chat about a tailored training session for your team.

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams.

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching Online. Now is a great time to upskill so that your communication skills stand out in the online world.

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world. 

10 ways to boost engagement by sharing a signature story

10 ways to boost engagement by sharing a signature story

What is a Signature Story?

The five core stories that make up the Story Blueprint are the; Signature Story, Founding Story, Values Story, Aspiration Story and the Customer Story.  

At the centre of the Story Blueprint is the Signature Story. In my previous post about the Signature Story I wrote some questions to guide you in discovering your story.

This story carries the essence of who you are and what you stand for, and when you can articulate this in a way that is relevant to others, it will set you apart. 

According to Aaker and Aaker, researchers at  Stanford University, a signature story is an intriguing, authentic, involving narrative with a strategic message that clarifies the brand, the customer relationship, the organisation and or the business strategy. 

What makes an engaging story?

There are different ways to share your story, you can mix it up, tell the story in different lengths and for different purposes. I believe that the measure of success in storytelling is not when someone says, ‘I really enjoyed your story’. What I consider is a story well-told is when someone says, ‘I really enjoyed your story as it reminded me of…’, and then they share one of their own stories. 

My story is not about me, it is about how I help others. If people cannot see themselves as part of your story, they won’t be able to relate, and they won’t care. 

According to Arthur Graesser, professor of psychology at the University of Memphis, Storytelling is the best tool we have for helping people care about issues. People are more likely to remember information they get in narrative form.

Your Signature Story evolves

Once you have crafted your suite of stories, these stories will evolve. Your story may take a different direction and you may find yourself navigating unfamiliar territory If there is a life lesson in that experience you may revise your Signature Story to include that part of your life. 

You may end up with several different versions of your Signature Story, despite the essence of the story remaining the same, some of the examples and the significance of different parts of your story may change. 

There’s no one size fits all when it comes to story-telling. Once you have crafted your story, here are some ideas on how you may use that story as part of your leadership narrative.

Here are 10 ways that you can use your Signature Story

Speaking

1. Speaking at a conference. Your story may form part or all of your talk. This may be a short TEDx style to a keynote speech that is typically 30-60 minutes in length. 

2. Being interviewed or as the host of a podcast. Your story can be used as part of your introduction or when you are in conversation with the host. It’s handy to have that 60- second version of your story when somebody asks ‘so why do you do what you do’. 

3. Speaking pro-bono as part of your marketing strategy. Speaking in public should be part of every business marketing plan. It is an easy and effective way for you to be front and centre to your ideal clients. In this case your story may form part of your introduction, or be used to share ideas throughout your presentation.

4.  Speaking on a webinar. Again you may be the host or the one being interviewed.  You can craft an introduction that includes a brief snippet of your story. Keep it short and simple. 

Writing

5. Writing your Signature Story as part of your book. You can include relevant parts of your story into the introduction of your book, or many books have a section title,  ‘why I wrote this book’. 

6. Writing your story to include in your About Me page on your website. In this context your story helps visitors to your website get to know something about you and get a feel of what it may be like to work with you.

7. You may use parts of your Signature Story in your blog posts, articles, and other social media marketing. This is particularly relevant if your story is strongly associated with your brand. 

Sales and Marketing

8. Your story may be part of your sales presentation. Perhaps you can include a paragraph that incorporates a shortened version of your story. This could be during face to face conversations when the topic comes up, during a meeting with a prospective client or in your sales documentation.  

9. As part of your slide deck. Is there a strong visual that sums up your story? This can form part of your introduction. 

10. Remember that whilst your Signature Story is about your life experience, the purpose is not about you. Your story needs to have others featured. When you are meeting with people ask them about their story. To become a better storyteller we need to become better story listeners. 

Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth, and I’ll believe, but tell me a story. And it will live in my heart forever. An old Native American proverb.

Read about other key parts of your Story Blueprint:

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If you are a senior leader or business owner who is keen to develop your business storytelling skills, then you can book a 30 min complimentary virtual story coaching session with me. 

To help you find significant moments in your life, I have developed a set of storytelling prompts. My Story cards are a set of 50 cards in a sturdy box. The cards are ideal to help you find memories and experiences from your life. You can use the cards alone or as a game with others. The cards are available in Australia with free postage. If you are outside of Australia, please contact me for postage rates. 


How I can help you

Virtual Masterclass – This live masterclass Communicating with Influence or Business Storytelling for Leaders can be delivered as a 30 minute session x 3, or a 90 minute session. 

Virtual/Online Training – A live class (not pre-recorded) This session is 4 hours duration, with 90 minutes of interactive content, a 30-minute break, followed by another 90 minutes. This session is ideal for small to medium teams. Topics include Communication for emerging Leaders, Communicate with Influence, Public Speaking for Business Success, Presenting Online for Leaders Managing Virtual Teams.

Virtual/Online Coaching – Public Speaking and Storytelling Coaching at concession rates for business owners and not for profit organisations until 30 June 2020.  

Virtual Presentation – Now is the time that event planners can access speakers to present virtually from anywhere in the world.