Workshops 2Workshops: 1 to 3 hours for audiences of 25 to 100
This is a how-to workshop on storytelling as a leadership tool.
It covers
  1. Why you should use storytelling.
  2. When to tell stories.
  3. How to tell stories.

Depending on time allotted, I cover some or all of the following components:

[su_spoiler title=”Structure of a Story ” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Structure of a Story

A well-told business story isn’t the same as a romance novel or a Hollywood movie. It has a simpler structure. But it does have one. And this is it: Context, Action, Result. Learn the key components of that structure through STORY (Subject, Treasure, Obstacle, Right lesson, and whY you told the it in the first place).

Context is most often skipped or under-developed. It provides all the necessary background, grabs the audience’s attention, convinces them your story is relevant to them, and generates interest and excitement to listen to the rest of the story. It must answer these questions: 1) where and when did the story happen, 2) who is the hero (Subject), 3) what do they want (Treasure), 4) who or what is getting in the way (Obstacle). The Action is where the hero does battle with the villain. The Result should explain three things: 1) how the story ends, 2) the Right lesson the listener should have learned, and 3) link back to the reason why you told the story in the first place.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Metaphors and Analogies” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Metaphors and Analogies

People don’t really want to buy a quarter-inch drill bit. What they want is a quarter-inch hole in the wall. This observation in 1960 by a Harvard Business Review editor is a classic example of the power of metaphor in business. It got marketing executives all over the country to stop talking to consumers about their products, and start talking about the end result the consumer was after. Analogies and metaphors pack the power of a full story into a few words or phrases. That’s because they already have complete stories associated with them embedded in the mind of the audience. This chapter offers several relevant examples of how to use metaphors to tell your story, as well as a method to generate metaphors on any topic.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Appeal to Emotion” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Appeal to Emotion

“It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into.” (Jonathan Swift) Humans make emotional decisions. So you need emotional stories to impact those decisions. Touching stories about a Special Olympics volunteer, a U.S. fashion model finding a baby sister in Paris, and an executive’s visit to a Venezuelan toy store with her 5-year old son illustrate appropriate use of emotion in a business environment.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Keep It Real” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Keep It Real

Concrete ideas are far more memorable than abstract ones. They’re also much easier for your audience to apply to their situation. This chapter shows imaginative ways to keep the elements of your story concrete, relevant, and real. Read examples stories from one of the country’s biggest retailers, one of the most famous law firms, and an internet success story from London you’ve never heard of.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”The Element of Surprise” style=”fancy”]

How-To: The Element of Surprise

Not just helpful in battle, the element of surprise triggers the release of adrenaline that tells the brain, “Whatever just happened is really important. Remember it!” This chapter contains several clever examples of using surprise to make stories more effective and memorable: singing flight attendants at Southwest Airlines, the unexpected candor of an executive asking his client to fire him, and a high school history teacher that made a lifelong impression on his students by getting mugged on the first day of school.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Recast Your Audience into the Story” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Recast Your Audience into the Story

“Tell me, I’ll forget. Show me, I’ll remember. Involve me, I’ll understand.” This ancient Chinese proverb is still right. This chapter shows you how to take your storytelling to the next level by actually putting your audience into the plot, rather than simply tell them about it. Examples include how a manufacturing plant manager got his leadership team to live under the rules they set for the production workers, and how a kindergartener’s gold star stickers got a real executive to change his thinking about which brands to advertise.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Stylistic Elements” style=”fancy”]

How-To: Stylistic Elements

Nothing will make an audience of business leaders roll their eyes and disengage faster than overly descriptive language that sounds like Walt Whitman prose: “It was August in Dubai, and the sweltering mid-day heat dripped off the rooftops like hot wax down a candle…” Oh, puh-lease! What engages them at work is different than what might engage them for pleasure reading. This chapter describes the use of surprise, dialogue, repetition, and writing style appropriate for telling business stories.[/su_spoiler]

To book Paul for a workshop, please contact Chris Lee at Cal-Entertainment at

“Honestly one of the most inspirational and engaging trainings I’ve ever had!”
“Fantastic examples made presenting real. Didn’t seem like training but rather a conversation.”
Procter & Gamble Participants
“This was an uncommonly memorable event.”
Erik Honkonen & Anthony Hollingsworth
Hendrix College
“I found Mr. Smith’s presentation to be one of the most enlightening half hours of my life in all honesty.” 
“It truly was an absolute pleasure to have you come to our conference and speak. All of the feedback has been AMAZING, and your direct involvement made our conference a resounding success!”
Kara Mitchelmore, Chief Executive Officer
Marketing Research and Intelligence Association
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