Stories can go where data and quantitative analysis cannot: to the heart. Audiences – whether made up of employees, customers, investors, or partners – can be persuaded to act by a potent vision wrapped up and presented in a story. The very best storytellers from Homer to Steve Jobs persuade by using potent imagery and compelling narrative. But most important, the best storytellers are authentic people; they reveal themselves to their listeners and connect on a personal level. Utilizing improvisation techniques, leaders learn how to increase their ability to engage their audiences by crafting dynamic stories that connect their personal experiences to the business world. Improvisation promotes spontaneity and trains leaders to come up with “something wonderful right away.”
Entertainment industry professionals Bill Timoney and Georgette Reilly Timoney (whose experience includes Broadway, regional theater, and TV sitcoms) facilitate this unique program. Please see attached bios.
Jeff Black and his Black Sheep consultants have worked in twenty countries, offering facilitating, coaching, and keynotes for all levels of leadership. Clients include GE, Lockheed Martin, American Airlines, Genpact, NBC Universal, Home Depot, Bank of America, Lloyds of London, Roche, Notre Dame, Accenture, Capgemini, and M&M Mars.
- Experience connecting with audiences on a personal level
- Construct compelling and descriptive narratives to convey key messages and to persuade listeners to act
- Identify the core elements of successful storytelling and create stories “on their feet”
- Develop relatable characters that appeal and move listeners
- Construct story settings as powerful backdrops to a message
- Deliver a personal story with purpose
- Gain emotional engagement to corporate messages
This highly interactive session begins with warm-up improvisational exercises intended to enhance each participant’s ability to listen, acknowledge and respond in the moment.
Exercise 1 – Clap Circle
Participants will clap to one another in a variety of ways intended torelease inhibitions and build trust by focusing on movement, sound, eye contact and immediacy.
Each exercise is followed by a discussion where participants share their observations and discoveries. The facilitator will also provide insight, feedback and real-world applications of the improvisation exercise’s takeaways. Participants discuss their observations and discoveries made during the exercise.
Exercise 2: What do you see?
Two improvisers are given a location to describe in specific detail. Their descriptions create effective story elements. The group then analyzes how vivid descriptions can draw listeners into a story.
Exercise 3 – Off the Shelf
Improvisers each choose an item in a common place, like a kitchen or a store. One-by-one they introduce themselves by announcing who they are, what they do, and how they feel about it. Facilitator guides participant to create characters and use descriptive imagery.
The best storytellers reveal themselves (and their personal brands) to their listeners – thus connecting on a personal level. Having deconstructed the various elements of storytelling, participants will now practice their delivery of a personal story.
Exercise 4A – Personally Speaking…
Participants form small groups. Each group member tells the others how a person (parent, coach, mentor, teacher, etc.) had a major impact on their life. They will then receive feedback regarding their ability to emotionally engage their audience.
Several will share with the entire group.
The best stories all have an underlying purpose – to persuade the listener. Does the new product make it go faster? Why is that important – and what problem does it solve? Linking personal experiences with new company developments helps audiences understand the value of a product, service or policy.
Exercise 4B – Let’s Get Down to Business
Each participant will choose a new initiative/policy and relate it to a personal experience to share with their team.
Several will share with the group.