Leadership Storytelling

Clear, compelling and authentic communication is a key component of every leader’s tool kit.

You have a vision and a passion for your business, but your audience can only share that vision once they can feel it, imagine it, and understand it. Effective communication is part of effective leadership. This package is designed to unlock your natural storytelling skills, and give you coaching and practical tools that will help to grab the attention of your audience, keep them listening and inspire a response.

It takes thought and planning to tell the right story to a specific audience, but it becomes a lot easier when you start to use your instinctive storytelling skills. A story is perfectly designed to engage an audience and you can use the model as a ‘map’ to plan any type of communication successfully.

Once you know what you going to say, the next step is to plan how you are going to say it. You will be most compelling when you speak with conviction and confidence, and this starts with being clear about your own professional story and therefore using a ‘voice’ that is true to you.

This coaching package gives you the chance to collaborate with a skilled story coach to: –

  • reflect and build on your business storytelling skills
  • define your own professional story
  • work on a key communication within your business

The Benefits

In short, ‘buy in’.
Internally, you will help your employees/team understand what they belong to, what they are working towards and why they are a valuable part of that.

Externally, you can express clearly to partners, investors, clients and even competitors, your values and your value.

You will also save hours of time. The story tools that you will learn in this package provide a methodical way to plan communications and interactions because you can identify the key building blocks of your story very quickly.

The opportunity to develop your message, working with a skilled coach, who already knows your business story and personal professional story.

The Practicals.

Sessions to be planned at your convenience and with your objectives in mind, but there will be eight hours in total and they could look something like this:-

1 Intro to story basics, diagnosis and objectives 2 hours in person
2 Build your authentic (and engaging) story 2 hours in person
3 Build your business story 1 hour Skype/call
4 Planning a presentation for the 21st Century 1 hour Skype/call
5 Planning a presentation for the 21st Century 2 hours in person

You can then choose to book a quarterly refresh session following this initial package.

“Ann made me step back and think about what I was actually presenting through what the audience heard, not what I thought I was saying. Telling a story has not only helped engage audiences better since but has helped me present in a tighter and more coherent way.”

Marcus Leaver: CEO The Quarto Group

Your Professional Story

Understand and articulate your story to launch your next chapter.

Our professional story is made up of many threads; the route we have travelled, the unique skills and achievements that route has given us, our values, our value and the qualities we bring to our work. It is often the most unique things about us that we fail to recognise and forget to communicate, because we are so close to our own story.

This story-coaching session is a structured programme to help you find the threads of your story, and to develop a strategy for communicating it effectively. Even once we are clear on our own professional story it is quite a challenge to communicate it within someone’s attention span!

During the session we will work together to break out your story into its key story elements, unpacking each element to get the maximum information to work with. These key elements are central to every story ever told and by framing our investigation around them, we will start to see the story rather than the CV. Amongst other things what tends to emerge is your key qualities, the thread that runs through your career and your unique learning from that career.

Once we have all the content and themes in front us, we will start to distil down what an audience actually needs to know about you, in order to understand your value and remember you, and then how you could quickly and clearly communicate that.

The sessions not only give you a fresh insight into your professional journey, they also help you visualise your future, because by tracing the thread through your career so far, you are likely to have a much better vision of where you would like your path to take you next.

Whether you are preparing for an interview, looking to increase your impact in your current role or considering your future path after the interruption the Pandemic has brought to all our careers, this process will bring coherence and clarity to your understanding of your professional story, which in turn will build your confidence in your own value.

Course Outcomes

  • a written report of the insights from your session
  • a first draft of your professional story
  • presentation practise – we will finish by filming a short recording of your ‘introduction’ or elevator pitch, depending on your preference, which will be sent to you, to enable you to capture your learning from the day

 

The Practicals

Detail   2 x 60 minutes remote coaching
     

“After several careers in very different industries, I was worried that I would be viewed as a Jack of All Trades, so I hired Ann to help me personally. ABC has a proven set of tools to unlock lots of disparate facts and uncover conscious (and unconscious) thoughts that may be holding you back. Ann took things that I viewed as a negative or unrelated and showed me how they had helped me develop. As a result of working with Ann, I became much better at explaining how the variety of my experiences knitted together to make me a better consultant who sees things differently to unlock hidden business value”

Daniel Doherty: Community manager at Facebook

Your Business Story

Who are we, what do we stand for
and what do we actually do?

There was a time when a business could hide behind its logo but in the digital age, customers, clients, employees and investors are more demanding. Whether it is sofas or software, insights or education, every business needs to be able to tell its story clearly and consistently in a way that engages their target audience.

However, we are so close to the story that we often can’t see what is most important to our audience. There will be parts that are known by the ‘old hands’ but never articulated, there will be parts your customer has struggled with but never told you and there will be parts that are incredibly cool but you have never thought to mention. Every group I have worked with has overlooked some of the most interesting and relevant aspects of their story, and this process helps you identify them.

1

We start by breaking out the seven key components of your business story and exploring each one individually. You will find the same elements in every story ever told and they are the elements your audience is looking for. This process brings fresh insights, new thinking on old ideas and visibility to some of those ‘hidden’ values.

2

We then move on to exercises that help your team think more like the audience.This takes us a step further towards seeing the parts of your story that are most going to connect with the audience – to be successful your story should answer all the anxieties and doubts in their minds before they even articulate them.

3

All these insights are then pulled together into a first draft using my story tracker template, which makes sure that the story we are building together is as succinct as possible and flows so our audience can follow it effortlessly. The output can be an ‘elevator pitch’, ‘About Us’ page or any other short paragraph that you need.

This session delivers so much more than just the story, as it generates a feeling of shared ownership and connection for your team. It also strengthens their effectiveness as brand ambassadors, because they now have a clear business or product story to share.

“Ann’s story coaching is an incredibly powerful technique. It allows you to create a story from all your thoughts and ideas, to find out what you want to say and deliver it in the best possible way to your audience.
It only takes a few hours of practice to start changing the way you order ideas. Ann’s input is smart and is contributed in exactly the right way. It is great value for money – there is no way I could have done this in a more efficient way myself.
The effect of using the story we built in Ann’s session has been immediate. Clients have been extremely responsive and it has already opened new conversations and even won us some substantial deals.”

Karine Marko: Head of Foreign Rights for The Quarto Group

Pitches, Presentations and Campaigns

Grab the audience’s attention and get a response.

This session is about shaping a particular communication for a particular audience. It usually includes an element of business story because we cannot communicate effectively without being clear on who we are first.

The session can be run as a one-to-one for senior leaders or in a group setting where there are more stakeholders. I ran this session for a media agency, Propellernet, who wanted to refresh their pitch. At their next three pitches, the clients all signed up on the spot. While I can’t promise that hit rate every time, this session will help you structure your content and plan your delivery to get the best possible reaction from your audience.

It is my clients who have helped me get ambitious with this session – together we have planned a book which tells the story of a children’s imprint, a recruitment video, a roll out of a new salary structure, and a campaign to reshape the story of a leading public school. I’ve used it to help CEOs prepare their end of year results presentation (where the story is often what is coming next), with the head of the Art Department at a large publishers who wanted to pitch for a decent design budget for a book (keeping the author with the publishing house by delivering their high-end values was the story here), and for a talent manager planning their first call to a new Head of Channel at the BBC (the story? – “business as usual, I have what you need”).

I can also offer support developing the project after the session.

1

We begin by identifying the right audience and the purpose for this message, and once we have agreed this we can look at the key elements of the story that will be relevant to the audience. We then use focusing techniques to home in even more accurately on their true concerns and interests, which starts to help us tailor our content for maximum relevance and therefore impact.

2

Then we move on to planning how to tell this story to deliver the outcome we require. Together we’ll explore how to make the story more ‘real’ – and therefore more memorable – through the use of imagery, statistics and case studies.

3

Finally we’ll use the story-tracker template to pull the whole thing together. The tracker ensures that every part of our piece is doing exactly what we need it to do and that it flows effortlessly for our audience.

This is an enjoyable but hard graft session, which always rewards with a solid, collectively agreed outcome and an understanding of how different a communication can look if you truly consider the audience

“Ann made me step back and think about what I was actually presenting through what the audience heard, not what I thought I was saying. Telling a story has not only helped engage audiences better since but has helped me present in a tighter and more coherent way.”

Marcus Leaver: CEO The Quarto Group

“You know when someone understands your business when they walk into a room and capture your imagination from the word go. That’s Ann. She’s smart, sharp and knows what makes a good story. Having worked with Ann, we’ve completely changed the way we talk about our business. And it’s capturing the imagination of people we want to work with. In short, brilliant.”

Nikki Gatenby: MD Propellernet

Website Planning

Who are we talking to
and what do they actually want to know?

Creating or refreshing a website can be a time-consuming and expensive experience if you are not fully prepared. I know, I have just done mine!

Before a single page is written you need to translate the values, voice and benefits of your business into one coherent story, then convert this in turn into visuals and text that will connect with your audience.This session is so useful because it enables you to do all of this before you sit down with your designer. It will save you hours of misunderstanding and wasted effort – and of course money – once the website build actually begins.

I can help with developing and writing text for the site following this session.

1

We begin by identifying the true target audience for your site and then we explore and define your core business story for this audience. The story element so often missed when planning a website is describing the ‘different world’ of working with you. How does it feel and look? By exploring this you will start to get an idea of the ‘voice’ of your business.

2

Audience focusing exercises then help you identify what webpages and content are actually required to get your story across.

3

Pulling together everything we have learned through the session, we work on a piece of text that will form the core of your Home Page or ‘About us’.

Following this session you will be able to articulate the story of your business and your value to clients and potential clients, as well as your designer

“Telling stories is natural for all of us, but telling a story about yourself succinctly whilst ensuring the listener remains attentive is surprisingly more difficult, as I found when trying to write copy for my company website.
The process of establishing my story couldn’t have been more convenient. Three Skype calls later and Ann had written the copy for the website and I could tell my story.
Was Ann’s support effective? Unsolicited feedback from an associate summed up what I was looking to communicate through the website: “Beautifully laid out and to the point. Like your no nonsense approach…”
If you’re wondering how to effectively tell your story, can I suggest you make a phone call to Ann, and make your own mind up”.

Mark Hurley Consulting