Strategic Storytelling:
Principles of Effective Communication

Storytelling is hardwired into all of us. It’s how we see the world, and how we explain it.

But what actually constitutes a story? And how do we craft a story that truly engages our audience, whether it’s our colleagues or our customers?

This highly practical seminar and workshop explores the art and science of storytelling, drawing upon everything from the lessons of Aristotle to the techniques of Hollywood screenwriters to the corporate and consumer insight films created by our sister company, Smarter Storytelling.

Concepts will be illustrated by real-word examples from a variety of media, and attendees will be shown how they apply directly to business storytelling.

Moreover, these key storytelling principles will then be put immediately into practice as attendees create and present their own stories, with special attention paid to structure, forward motion, drama and resolution.

They’ll leave with a better understanding of how to uncover the right story and tell it well in any medium, whether it’s a speech, an essay, a video or a Powerpoint™ presentation.

What you’ll learn about storytelling

  •  What a story is and what it’s not
  •  What makes a story “strategic”
  •  The critical importance of story structure
  •  Why Big Ideas are critical and how to uncover them
  •  The importance of drama and conflict
  •  The importance of forward-motion
  •  How these principles apply to business storytelling

 What we’ll cover

  • The importance of story
    • We understand the world through stories
    • Stories are in our operating system
    • Crucial in an information-overloaded world
  • What is a story?
    • Continuity
    • Forward motion
    • Unity
    • Dramatic tension
    • Structure, style and showbiz
  • Obstacles to effective storytelling
    • Lack of unifying idea
    • Incoherent structure
    • No emotional connection
  • Overcoming the obstacles
    • Overview of Make a Mess/Clean Up Your Mess™ method
    • The thinking is in the doing
    • Thinking inside a box (of your own creation)
  • Effective Story Structures
    • “Sandwich”
    • “Joke”
    • “Thread”
    • “Funnel”
    • “3-Act”
  • Classic Story Drivers
    • Quest, pursuit, rescue, escape, underdog, rivalry
  •  How Storytelling Structures Apply to Business Cases
    • Expositional Structure
    • Who is the hero? Where is the drama?
  • Going deeper: Stylistic Considerations
    • Think visually
    • Action words
    • Vivid language
  •  Going deeper:  Story is Showbiz
    • The power of presentation
    • Editing out the boring bits
    • Keeping the Big Idea in mind
  • Bringing it all home
    • Say what you’re going to say
    • Say it
    • Say what you said

How you’ll apply what you learn

  • You’ll create stories about yourself, your company, your career and your friends
  • These will be guided by outlines asking you to come up with a:
    • Title
    • Situation or desire
    • Complication or obstacle
    • Solution or outcome
  • You will turn these stories into short presentations, at times accompanied by Powerpoint™ slides
  • You will present these stories to the group, at which time they will be reviewed and critiqued
Our courses are available on site and via Zoom
We will gladly customize a course to meet your specific needs

The Smarter Storytelling Online Course

Key elements of the Strategic Storytelling seminar and workshop are included in our stand-alone online course, designed for groups and individuals who want to learn at their own pace.  This course also covers essential concepts in our Make A Mess and Authentic Presentations seminars and workshops.


Click here to check out our online storytelling course


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