Storytelling Workshop: Techinques, Models, Tools & Resources

Storytelling Workshop
Models, Tools, & Storytelling Techniques

My friend Phil invited me to design a storytelling workshop for a Nonprofit conference in Madison. While we were designing it, it caused me to think about those storytelling techniques, models and resources (like CAR, SUCCES & the Hero’s Journey) that had been most helpful for me. Plus, when I told friends about what I was doing, they suggested storytelling technique videos to me (like Mike’s great Ira Glass find) that I hadn’t seen before. This workshop and the story resources eventually grew into this Storytelling for Leaders & Trainers online course.

Whether you have 20 seconds to talk to someone you’ve just met or if you are preparing for an hour long presentation, share a story. There are different models that can help you to piece your story together. The Made to Stick SUCCES model (Simple Unexpected Concrete Credible Emotional Stories) for communicating ideas that stick at the Lead with Story CAR model (Context Action Result) are good ones for shorter stories. Joseph Cambell’s Hero’s Journey is a great one for longer stories.

Lead with Story CAR Model

CAR story structure: Context-Action-Result
This is similar to ancient Greek (Aristotle) three act structure models like Setup-Confrontation-Resolution or Situation-Conflict-Resolution.

Here’s Lead with a Story author Paul Smith explaining this structure.

Made to Stick SUCCES Model

Made to Stick Model for constructing better stories (pdf download)

Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey Model

This is a favorite of mine and great for longer stories (like a movie or biography).

Ira Glass on Storytelling

You may have heard Ira Glass and “This American Life” on public radio. Ira talks about the building blocks of a great story.

Pixar’s 22 Rules to Phenomenal Storytelling

Why Stories?

When I think about the biggest projects I’ve ever done…most have gotten off the ground by telling a short story to someone I met at an event or in a meeting. We both shared a story about what we were working on and sometimes there is a fit work together. The story helps people to understand who you are, what you do, and what you are working on. Telling a short (and real) story helps people understand your idea and collaborate with you. Using “storytools” can help you to do this.

Story Workshop Development Activities

Here are other story creating, showing, & telling techniques I demonstrate and facilitate at lengthier workshops or retreats:

  1. The origin story-what catalyzed you for this cause? What happened?
  2. How you got into doing this. +1 to share the roots and the DIRT (vulnerability).
  3. The why story-why do you do what you do? What is a real problem?
  4. Naming names. Tell a real example of a person or organization you helped.
  5. The success story…so we know you can help us too.
  6. The here and now story. Why are you here in this moment?
  7. First storyline
  8. Storybase
  9. Storyblocks
  10. Storyboard
  11. First question
  12. From this to that

You can learn more about the storytelling activities in our business storytelling training workshop.

Types of Stories for Leaders to Tell

Lead with a Story author, Paul Smith, has a great video highlighting 10 different story topics to focus on creating and sharing. These are powerful stories leaders can tell.

His book, The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell, explains how to create and tell these 10 stories:

  1. Where we came from (a founding story)

2. Why we can’t stay here (a case-for-change story)

3. Where we are going (a vision story)

4. How we are going to get there (a strategy story)

5. What we believe (a corporate-values story)

6. Who we serve (a customer story)

7. What we do for our customers (a sales story)

8. How we are different from our competitors (a marketing story)

9. Why I lead the way I do (a leadership-philosophy story)

10. Why you should want to work here (a recruiting story)

Let us know what some of your favorite story models, tools, techniques, and resources are. If you were to design your own storytelling workshop to share what has worked best for you, what would that be?

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