Paul Smith is one of the world’s leading experts on organizational storytelling. He’s a keynote speaker, storytelling coach, and author of the books Sell with a Story, Parenting with a Story, and the bestseller Lead with a Story already in its 8th printing and available in 6 languages around the world. Paul is also a former consultant at Accenture and former executive and 20-year veteran of The Procter & Gamble Company.
As part of his research on the effectiveness of storytelling, Paul has personally interviewed over 250 CEOs, executives, leaders, and salespeople in 25 countries, documenting over 2,000 individual stories. Leveraging those stories and interviews, Paul identified the components of effective storytelling, and developed templates and tools to apply them in practice. His work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Inc. Magazine, Time, Forbes, Fast Company, The Washington Post, PR News, and Success Magazine, among others.
Paul delivers professional workshops and keynote addresses on effective storytelling for leaders and salespeople. His clients include international giants like Hewlett Packard, Google, Ford Motor Company, Bayer Medical, Abbott, Novartis, Progressive Insurance, Kaiser Permanente, and Procter & Gamble.
Paul holds a bachelor’s degree in economics, and an MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He lives with his wife and two sons in the Cincinnati suburb of Mason, Ohio. You can connect with Paul here, or learn more about how to hire him for speaking, training, or coaching services.
Paul’s personal story . . .
“I spent the first 24 years after college following a safe and traditional corporate career path. Then I did something crazy. And it was the best decision of my life.
After two years as a consultant with Arthur Andersen (now Accenture), and two years in business school (The Wharton School at U. of Penn), I spent 20 years in progressively higher levels of management at The Procter & Gamble Company, ultimately as head of consumer research for a $6 billion global business. (That’s not the crazy part).
I spent many of those years studying the art and science of leadership, communication, selling, and character. And I’ve spent the last 7 years specifically studying the practice of storytelling. For that, I personally interviewed hundreds of people from dozens of countries around the world, including CEOs, statisticians, teachers, fighter pilots, engineers, bankers, comedians, nurses, sales people, politicians, consultants and scientists. I was looking for those profound moments of clarity in their careers and personal lives where they learned an absolutely essential lesson — one worthy of passing along to the next generation of management, or the next generation of humanity.
What I found amazed me. In fact, it amazed me so much (and this is the crazy part) that I quit my job to dedicate my full-time efforts to sharing those lessons and coaching leaders in the art and science of business storytelling. (Listen to the story of that hard decision here.)
The most compelling 100 stories on business and leadership became the subject matter of my first book, Lead with a Story. They include lessons on 21 of the most common leadership challenges, including setting a vision, leading change, building strong teams, and encouraging creativity and innovation.
The 100 most powerful stories of life lessons became the subject of my second book, Parenting with a Story. These stories contain lessons on 23 of the most sought-after character traits we all aspire to ourselves and wish to see developed in our children and grandchildren — things like ambition, curiosity, integrity, self-reliance, persistence, fairness, humility, and kindness.
In 2015, I turned my attention to storytelling as a sales technique and interviewed sales and procurement professionals from 50+ organizations around the world. I was trying to understand when salespeople were using storytelling in the selling process and what separated good sales stories from great ones. I also uncovered 25 stories that every salesperson needs to have in their repertoire of stories. The result of that research was published in my third book, Sell with a Story.
Now I spend my time speaking to audiences all over the world to share the wisdom in these stories.
But after documenting thousands of stories along the way I learned something else. That is that how to identify and craft an effective and compelling story. So when I’m not speaking or writing, I help companies and their leaders craft their corporate stories, or teaching workshops and seminars on the art and science of storytelling and leadership so you and your team can be more effective leaders.
My days now are a long way from the corporate life I used to lead. But I do work I’m truly passionate about, which I’m confident you’ll find as inspiring as I do.”
— Paul Smith