So you want to become a professional speaker?

So you want to become a professional speaker?

In my role as a professional speaker and public speaking and storytelling coach, I meet many people who would like to get paid to speak, or aspire to become a professional speaker.  I love helping people in their journey towards that dream.

I fell into a speaking career by accident when I could no longer work as a midwife. Before this turning point, I had worked for over 20 years mostly in the specialist area of neonatal intensive care.  When a virus destroyed a significant amount of my hearing that was the end of my clinical career.

I became interested in public speaking during the intensive rehabilitation in learning to use the cochlear implant. I became fascinated with the art and science of public speaking and I sought out training and mentoring from some of the best speakers in the world.

In 2014, despite the naysayers declaring my madness in wanting to leave a secure job, I began the transition from employee to entrepreneur. It was a huge leap in making the decision to leave a well-paid job into the unknown world of small business.

What does it take to become a professional speaker?

Like many things we want in life, becoming a professional speaker requires a solid strategy. Before you go and hit the pavement as a speaker, think about your intention, and how you plan to leverage speaking as a tool to help you grow your business.  If you are like myself and many other speakers, you may have multiple strands to your business and speaking may be one of them. If you are a business owner and speaking is not currently one of your strands, then I encourage you to start speaking, or speak more if you are already dabbling. Appearing as a guest speaker is an essential part of your marketing strategy.

Whether you are at the beginning of your speaking journey, at a crossroads, you are seeking to redefine and refresh your message, or you are ready to get paid as a speaker, consider the following four areas as part of your speaking strategy.

so you want to become a professional speaker

Become a Professional Speaker – Your Message

What is it that you want to say to the world? What is the topic that excites you and one that you have a vast amount of knowledge and experience? How would you sum that message up in one short sentence, and what is the one-word theme?

If your talk were a bumper sticker, what would it say?

One of my early mentors’ world champion speaker Ryan Avery challenges emerging speakers to think about what short message they would share if they had one day left on this earth. This exercise allows you to get focus on what matters and to find that ‘big word’.

At this stage, your message may be a high-level concept, but choose a topic that you can immerse yourself in, as you will speak about it, write about it, live and breathe it, as you are the credible expert.  You don’t want it to be a topic you are going to get sick of talking about!

You may have several similar messages that you can tweak for a particular industry but to start with, pick one overall theme.

Once you have decided on your theme and idea, it is time to get to work creating your keynote or signature talk and your marketing materials.

This may be the time when you are honing your craft, practicing often and testing out your content (often for no or little payment). It’s a time for review and refinement. Here is an article I wrote about the importance of practice and how to review and improve your speaking while being kind to yourself.

Aim to speak to many different audiences and always be learning.  Wherever you are on your speaking journey, there is more to discover. Think about your message as the problem that you help others solve, and how you can serve others.  While your topic may not be unique, your version is original, and the opinion you share will come from your life experience and knowledge.

Become a Professional Speaker – Your Market

Who will fill the seats in the auditorium? Who will be on the other side of the screen watching your video, what type of person will buy what you have to offer? Your topic must be marketable and so do you, as your audience and prospective customers are keen to get to find out about the person behind the message.

When deciding on a topic you may consider a narrow niche and pick a well-defined ideal client, or you may cast your net wider. But most importantly you want a topic that is sellable, a talk or program that offers exceptional value, and a market ready to buy the topic and your unique perspective as a subject matter expert. If there is a flooded market with many others speaking on the same issue, ask yourself what can I say that is different?

If you are starting from scratch, you can begin by brainstorming organizations, groups and people who may be interested in your topic. Have a one-page speaker sheet that you can send out, and some testimonials and photos of you speaking.

Avoid cheesy stock images, or photos of you posing as a speaker in a studio with a microphone! You want real and natural footage and photos of you speaking to an audience. You cannot expect to be paid to speak without this marketing collateral so if you don’t yet have these things, perhaps you can speak pro-bono with the aim of getting photographs, feedback, testimonials and video footage.

Get comfortable with rejection, as not everyone will be interested in what you have to offer. Mastering the art of sales conversations is predominately about having the confidence to ask, and even if you are not getting paid you need have a handle on having sales conversations.

Most speakers fail because they don’t understand the business of speaking even, though they may be good at the craft and have an interesting topic.  You may have heard a speaker before and thought to yourself “I could do that just as well (or better!)”, the reason why they are up on stage is because they understand that speaking is a business and they are competent at marketing themselves and their offer.

When you are considering what price point you are aiming for, consider what outcome you can help your clients and audiences achieve, as well as an understanding of what current market trends are. Now may be the time to work with a mentor who understands the world of professional speaking.

Become a Professional Speaker – Your Medium

When we think of speaking it is often the image of a stage or auditorium and a large crowd. There are many other ways that you can touch others’ lives with your message. For many people the idea of standing in front of a large group is exciting, the lure of international speaking may be part of your grand plan. For others, the thought of spending multiple nights in hotels away from loved ones may not float your boat, and that’s ok as there are many more options.

Perhaps you can speak virtually in the form of webinars or live streaming, or you may be interested in talking on television or making videos (every business owner should make videos to allow people to find out about you and the person behind the business).

You may be interested in radio.  I think that chatting on the radio is as exciting as standing on stage; you may be speaking to one other person in the studio but think of all those listening in the car. Podcasts are growing in popularity, and as a speaker, you can offer to be a guest on others’ podcasts, or consider starting one of your own.

These are some of the many forms of speaking, and you may be keen on one, or many, or all!

Become a Professional Speaker – Your Method

What type of talk do you want to offer?  Would you prefer to be a keynote speaker offering a traditional 45-60 minute presentation that is primarily delivered at a conference? Do you see yourself as a trainer or facilitator rather than a speaker, or are you all of these things?

Is your chosen topic one that you can modify for a webinar, a training workshop, masterclass or seminar? One talk can have many different uses so that you can reach more people.

If you want to branch into offering workshops in your industry, you will need to develop a specific skill set and a solid understanding of adult learning principles and a program and curriculum to meet learning outcomes. I have seen many speakers turn a talk into a training session with no knowledge or skills as a trainer. Despite both involving public speaking, they require different complementary skills. Facilitation and group coaching are another form of speaking.

The skill of speaking is different from the business of speaking.

Get the right help to become a professional speaker

There is plenty to learn about the art and science of speaking but even more to learn about the business of speaking. Working with a business coach or seeking guidance and support from an experienced mentor may be the next step for you. I recommend that you look for a coach or mentor with an in-depth knowledge of the world of professional speaking so that person can help you avoid the pitfalls and navigate some shortcuts along your journey.

Ten years ago, I would never have imagined becoming an international speaker, coach and author. Often the detours we are forced to take in life turn out to be the most scenic routes. These days I enjoy speaking, serving and sharing and as a mentor and coach helping others to reach their speaking goals.

Next Steps

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.

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. 

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 Seniors – Stories to be heard, treasured and celebrated

Storytelling for Seniors – Stories to be heard, treasured and celebrated

Our stories shape who we are

Storytelling for Seniors is a facilitated safe and fun session where we celebrate life’s journey through the sharing of stories.  I have teamed up with Nicky Howe and as Third Act Storytelling™ consultants we are excited to bring storytelling to you.

Storytelling for Seniors – Understanding our past

“I can’t help it. It’s just the way I am,” Mum said when I asked her why she stuffs the pantry full. She told me the stories of war-time Britain with rations as well as having a gambling father. “When you have to worry about when and where your next meal is coming from early in life, it is natural and comforting to me to have plenty of food now it is available to me”.

It is stories like this that help me piece together the history of Mum’s life, and what makes her who she is.

Storytelling is an age-old tradition around the world. When people gather to create or enjoy the stories of someone’s life, they’re connecting in ways that build lasting friendships and family bonds.

Stories help shed light on who people are and what their lives were like in their younger years. And as I have discovered listening to senior’s stories can not only capture a glimpse into the past but forge a greater understanding of why the person behaves or thinks in a certain way.

As we age our narrative changes.We shift our perception about past events as life unfolds.

My early days of shared storytelling were on Saturday afternoons when West Ham Football Club played a home game. My nan lived a couple of streets from the football ground, and we’d gather at her place and sit in her tiny sitting room eating egg and cress finger sandwiches and drinking hot chocolate. Nan would play the piano and her sister Hilda would join in on the harmonica. The singing would pave the way for stories of family shenanigans. Family members who were absent or passed were often the subject of the stories. As children would listen eagerly to newly told stories and inwardly eye roll to the stories that were often repeated (and at times exaggerated).

Stories shared with our seniors are treasures to be heard, nourished and celebrated.

Telling others our stories is a way of connecting and expressing our emotions. It is now I am older,  that I cherish our family stories even more. I want to capture as many of her stories as possible, and in revisiting some of the stories she told me when I was young, as well as uncovering some that were not shared previously, I have a deeper understanding of what Mum’s life was like and why she acts in the way she does.

Understanding the stories of our past

Mum buys far too much food for someone who lives alone. Overstocking the pantry comes from her growing up in wartime when food was scarce. Her father, a gambling man ( I only recently found this out) would often lose the money for groceries. My mum had a second job and her and my nan would stock the fridge before race day so that at least they had food. Mum has a tendency to overeat rather than to stop eating when she feels full.

I can see why now, she grew up not allowed to leave the table until her plate was empty and she was taught it was not good manners to say no when you were offered food. These are things that she cannot stop doing easily, and it helps me show empathy now that I know why. I love hearing about mum’s stories of hardship, resilience and creativity. Her generation has seen so much change in their lifetime, and it is strange for my kids or me to imagine a world without technology, choice and relative safety and comfort.

It’s healing to have this out in the open

My mum has shared memories with me that I will cherish and pass on to my children. She told me recently that going on the storytelling journey with me has ‘felt so useful’. It has also helped us clear up some misunderstandings and set the record straight. I am now finding out things that mum thought it best that I didn’t know when I was younger, and it’s very healing to have this out in the open now.

We feel comfortable to share warts ‘n all versions of previous editions of stories that had been censored somehow (fear of judgement, shame, to protect others). It feels freeing to have the truth in our stories out in the open, for us to cherish and for me to pass on when the time is right.

Storytelling for seniors creates meaning and a sense of purpose

I find in my work as a storytelling consultant and coach that older people underestimate the power of their story. Yet when people are willing to tell and listen to stories from the past it allows us to create meaning and a sense of purpose for where we are now at in life. This is why I decided to create Storytelling for Seniors with Nicky Howe.

In his research on healthy aging, Cohen describes four stages of development in our later years. The first stage is called Midlife Reevaluation’ and takes paces between the ages of 40 to 60, and during this time we reflect on life and often seek meaning. We become more aware of our mortality and try to live life to the full with more of a sense of urgency. I am in this age bracket, and I often ponder ‘how time flies’ and how much I still feel I need to do. I have more of a sense of drive to make an impact with the knowledge that time is limited.

The second stage called Liberation and occurs from the age of 60. It is a time when people are inclined to speak their mind and to take action on what needs to be done. The next phase is Summing Up and is from the 70’s through the 80’s. At this stage, people reflect and are motivated to share stories and to pass on the wisdom learned in life. The final stage is the Encore which can occur anywhere from the 70’s until the end of life. It is at this time that there may be a desire to deal with unfinished business and even a change in belief or motivation.

Don’t wait until it’s too late

I have friends who were not able to spend time with their family members and get their stories before they passed, and that can be sad. If you have your parents or senior members of your family around, then make the time to capture their stories. Allow them to speak freely without interrupting their flow. Wait until they finish talking before you ask questions of clarification. Use a notebook or an audio app to record the stories if you both feel comfortable doing that. At various stages of development, stories can change. While the facts remain the same the perception of events and the meaning may change, and that is why it is important to revisit and reshare stories with seniors.

With age comes wisdom but sometimes older adults don’t realise that they have the incredible knowledge to share or they have a sense of narrative foreclosure which is the sense that one’s story has ended.

Narrative foreclosure is the sense that one’s story has ended and many older people have this feeling. When we embrace storytelling for seniors we are able to connect with stories from the past and to re-write those stories from the past with different insights or a new lens.

Why shared storytelling is so important for seniors

Here are ten benefits of storytelling for seniors including:

  1. The gift of being heard and of allowing people to remember who they are and what they have done.
  2. To open up space to reconnect with memories and to share those memories with others.
  3. To create a sense of increased personal power and importance.
  4. To face the approaching end of life with a feeling that one has contributed to the world.
  5. An acceptance of one’s past (“all things considered”) as significant and worthwhile.
  6. The ability to recognise negative past experiences and the integration of them with the present.
  7. A reconciliation of conflicts and an acceptance of those may have caused hurt in the past.
  8. A sharing of traditional values and cultural heritage.
  9. A passing on of the lessons learned and personal wisdom in one’s life.
  10. An opportunity to recapture the threads of meaning, purpose and connection that are woven throughout their lives.

“I never knew that about you,” or “Why didn’t you ever tell us that story before?”

For older adults who can’t tell their own stories, family members can help bridge this gap or encourage them to share. It is sometimes the case that seniors feel that their stories aren’t of interest to others. When we create a nurturing and inclusive story space, we provide an environment where every story is treasured and worth sharing and that if a person prefers to listen to other’s stories rather than share their own, then that is perfectly okay.

One of the most rewarding benefits of shared storytelling for seniors is the chance to connect on a deeper level over topics the senior may still find easy and comforting. When you know someone’s story, you naturally develop empathy for them. And knowing part of their story helps to reveal a person’s personality beyond their age or their physical condition.

How can we help you share your story?

Lisa Evans and Nicky Howe are experienced storytellers who together have formed Third Act Storytelling™.  Our aim is to create a fun, safe story space where we facilitate the sharing of life stories to bring us together and cherish the art of oral storytelling.

Contact us to arrange to host a Storytelling for Seniors session for your community group. 

Storytelling with Purpose

Storytelling with Purpose

A guest blog post on Live Storytelling Perth by Jay Crisp Crow

If Michael Bolton thought he’d slow down the ticket sales to the 10th Stories From The Heart (SFTH) live storytelling Perth event, he was wrong. In fact, he probably wishes he’d come (he was playing the same night, not far from the venue).

Live Storytelling Perth: Where it all started

Stories from the Heart™ kicked off in March 2016 with the first event welcoming a very intimate 25 attendees. This 10th live storytelling Perth event in June 2018 retains all the closeness of the Perth Storytribe but has grown exponentially, and – as usual – the event is booked out weeks in advance and the vibe is buzzing downstairs at the Brisbane Hotel while we wait to traipse upstairs to Lazy Susan’s Comedy Den. To date, over 160 people have stepped onto the SFTH stage and told a story – funny, heartfelt, nervous, bold, terrifying, soul-shattering. And the main benefactors of the stories? You’d think it might be the audience, but alongside them, SFTH have donated over $11,000 to charities – from Kiva, Prostate Cancer Foundation to RUOK, the Cancer Council and HeartKids – who were also the recipients of profits from the first SFTH collaborative book. It all adds up to a tangibly impressive ambience ready for the 10th event to kick off.

No one knows who’s next

Because this event is different. I mean, SFTH is always varied and fascinating, and most of the time, the audience only knows the general theme and possibly a storyteller or two. This one had a totally new format – storytellers put their names in a hat beforehand and no one (not even seasoned presenter Lisa Evans) knows who will be drawn out. It’s a Story Slam. As someone who has been on the SFTH stage. twice, I can barely imagine the adrenaline for the performers not knowing if they’ll even step on stage, or when.

The Poetry Fireball

Besides the thrill of the new concept and the hum of the audience, there’s something else special happening at this event – special guest poet and author Maddie Godfrey is on the performer list. Maddie has been described as “a poetry fireball”.  At 22, she’s performed at Sydney Opera House, Royal Albert Hall, and TEDx Women Glastonbury Festival. In 2017 she was a writer-in-residence at St Paul’s Cathedral in London. her debut poetry collection ‘How to Be Held’ has published by Burning Eye Books (UK). And I just happen to be sitting in the direct line of fire for her “Kissing” poem. Which was fine with me. No one’s looked right at me and recited poetry before. OK, she couldn’t see me from the lights of the stage, but it still counts as my Top 10 Things That Happened in 2018.


From seasoned pros to new on stage

As usual, the storytellers don’t disappoint. Some are seasoned pros and some are new to the stage – but everyone’s in the same boat: intimate space, supportive audience, story from the heart. As always, there’s an overlying theme – this time it’s “Promises” and stories range from the swift pivot heart smash when a 7-year-old boy goes to buy lollies with his sister and finds himself in a boys’ home to a mother’s story about a fish hook through her son’s eyelid.

We hear how a grandmother shows her granddaughter what it looks like to shine from the inside, how to keep promises to oneself, a dropped lipstick ending in a broken wrist, and how to emigrate to Australia because you’ve made too many promises to too many women in the UK (and also how to propose to a woman in a sea of penguins in the Antarctic). Questions around the validity of Santa arriving on a fire engine, how to make promises to oneself and then make them happen, and the stories we make to the people we love at the end of their lives. How promises can be a tremendous gift. Promising your unborn children a father “all the days of their life”, learning about promises by absorbing the “sparkiness” of women in an aged care home. A blue bicycle. Burlesque dancing. Arial yoga. A promise to live like “Stella”.

Like any good story, there’s a twist

And then – another new twist – for the first time in SFTH there’s a winner. Scattered throughout the audience are anonymous judges and while Lisa shines a spotlight on the volunteers – front of house, photographers, videographers, bloggers, and the work she puts in pro bono to mentor and support speakers, backstage the scores are being tallied. 

The winner. A story about dreams crashing down after a spirited performance by a little girl channelling the famous burlesque stripper – Gypsy Rose Lee. A promise to a Pakistani father that “she’ll never dance like that again.” Keeping that promise – until she wins the disco dance queen of Grade 5 with an interpretive dance to Kate Bush.

The crowd is in stitches. Hands are sore from clapping so hard. There is laughter and drying eyes and people making friends in the audience. It’s a slightly different concept this time but the emotion is the same. Tonight might have been full of surprises but it’s also full of heart. No wonder it sells out every time.

The next live storytelling Perth event is on Friday 19 October, the theme is DIFFERENT and all profits will go to Telethon Speech and Hearing tickets here 


 Jay Crisp Crow is an award-winning copywriter, editor and copy coach working with women in enterprise around the globe. She has built an incredible career based on the art of writing words that sell.

Storytelling Marketing – The Power of Business Storytelling

Storytelling Marketing – The Power of Business Storytelling

Weave your story around your service

What is storytelling marketing? 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.

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

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 marketing. 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.

Work on your storytelling marketing – 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.

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.

Need to work on your storytelling marketing? 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 your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

Storytelling Events in Perth –  Stories From the Heart

Storytelling Events in Perth – Stories From the Heart

Storytelling events – Guest blog post by Louise Kelly

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

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 storytelling event.

Storytelling Events Stories from the Heart Perth

Stories From The Heart Book

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 storytelling 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.

Storytelling Events – 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 when Jacqui Alder stepped up on stage and announced “Fanny’s – where the fun begins” that 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, who 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 at later storytelling events.

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 the 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 louise@louisekellyconsulting.com.au

Looking for storytelling events in Perth?! Don’t miss Stories from the Heart! View upcoming Stories from the Heart events here.


Photography by Pille Qrabat of Perth Personality Photographer

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.

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 your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.

Storytelling is Universal – Bring Hollywood to your storytelling with the Hero’s Journey

Storytelling is Universal – Bring Hollywood to your storytelling with the Hero’s Journey

Why The Hero’s Journey model of storytelling is universal

How storytelling is universal – 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.

The hero’s myth model of storytelling is universal and powerful. 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 scriptwriters 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” which further demonstrates how storytelling is universal.

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

#1 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.

#2 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.

#3 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.

#4 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.

#5 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 sets off in a new direction. The hero is now committed, and there is no turning back.

#6 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.

#7 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.

#8 Ordeal

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. This is a great example of how we feel that this stage of storytelling is universal.

#9 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.

#10 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.

#11 Resurrection

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.

#12 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. While this model of storytelling is universal, 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. How to check if your storytelling is universal and not too rigid:

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™

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 are 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.

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.

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.

Lisa Evans The Story Midwife - storytelling is universal

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.