May 21, 2009

Storytelling Training – Take Your Stories Seriously

I recently spoke to the Central Indiana Chapter of ASTD on the use of storytelling for trainers using my Story Theater Method. In addition to illustrating how the Story Theater Method works by telling my Dagger Lady Story, I coached two volunteers on their stories. The feedback I received from the 85 trainers in attendance was very positive.

Feedback from students, clients and audience members tells us if we’re on the right track. In my case, it also let’s me know what ideas or concepts are most important to them. Just the other day I received the following email and I thought it was important that I share it with you.

“I want you to know that your program in Indianapolis (and the CD’s I purchased) have made a tremendous impact on my professional career.  I really can’t remember a time when I have had so many take-aways from a program.  Story telling is a core part of how I train, but truthfully, even though I THOUGHT I was a good story teller, I had  NO IDEA what I didn’t know. It is easy to go by instinct and do what feels right, but your information has put an amazing framework around this part of my delivery that will really deepen the impact I can make to my audiences.  It is really about having people leave these programs feeling engaged, committed, and wanting to take action, and your methods will really help make that happen.   Thanks for creating your incredible approach to story theater AND for sharing it!”

Best Regards, Jan Green, Training Manager

What struck me in her testimonial was the sentence, “I had no idea what I didn’t know.”

Storytelling in business is very serious business. Stories have great power. They can influence and inspire in a way that no other medium of communication can. When you take storytelling seriously by studying the art and craft of story structure, you can change hearts and minds and get results. When you take the time to learn what you don’t know about using dramatic silence and branding in your stories, you can make your message more memorable.

Simply “going by instinct” and “doing what feels right” is fine if you want to be average. I used to do that myself. Because of my extensive acting background, from the very beginning of my speaking career I was able to get up and tell a story simply by winging it. And most of the time, the story was fine. But occasionally, I’d blow it.

I’d be telling the story and suddenly realize I’d forgotten an important piece. So I’d stick it in anyway, completely out of sequence, and keep going. But I knew I was sloppy. And it bothered me. It was not only unprofessional, it was embarrassing. I knew if I wanted to get paid to speak, I’d have to up my game.

Story Theater is storytelling technology for business. I liken it to Microsoft WORD. WORD is a software program that does certain things. And it always works the same way no matter who is using it. Once you learn how to use it, you can write a letter, write a book or write a term paper. It doesn’t care how smart or talented you are. It just sits there and does what it was designed to do. It makes you look better.

Story Theater will make you look better. It will fill in the blanks on what you don’t know that you don’t know. It will help you achieve your potential as a speaker, trainer, leader or business owner.

There are a number of ways you can study the Story Theater Method.

  • Buy the book,  Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method.
  • Buy the companion to the book, The Story Theater  Audio Six Pack.
  • Hire me to present a keynote. Learn more at:
  • Hire me to conduct a half-day or full-day training.
  • Attend a four person Story Theater Retreat in Colorado Springs.

There is a very good reason why Daniel Pink wrote an entire chapter on story in his book, A Whole New Mind. According to Pink, “Stories are easier to remember, because in many ways, stories are how we remember.”

I their book,  Made to Stick, Chip Heath and Dan Heath list six principles that make and idea, concept or point stick. The sixth principle is story. They state, “The story’s power, then, is twofold: It provides simulation (knowledge about how to act) and inspiration (motivation to act). Note that both benefits, simulation and inspiration, are geared to generating action. We’ve seen that a credible idea makes people believe. An emotional idea makes people care. And the right stories, make people act.”

In the last few years, there have been many bestselling books that talk about the power of telling stories. But none of them have talked about storytelling technique. When you are ready to learn HOW to be a better storyteller, I am ready to guide you forward.

As I write this blog post, it is 12:45 PM mountain time in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I’d like to make you an offer. Send me an email by Midnight Saturday night with the words Doug’s Special Book Offer in the subject line. I’ll reply with an email describing the Special Offer and how you can get started on the path to great storytelling.

My email address is:

If you want to make a difference, make a more memorable impression or sell more of your product or service, send me an email today.


Doug Stevenson is the Guru of Storytelling in Business. He speaks, trains and consults worldwide to corporations and associations who want a competitive presentation edge through storytelling mastery and Emotional Eloquence leadership skills. He works with salespeople, leaders, professional speakers, trainers and fundraisers.

Doug is the author of Doug Stevenson’s Story Theater Method, creator of Emotional Eloquence® and the author of a home study course on how to create a motivational speech titled: How To Write and Deliver a Dynamite Speech – 21-Step Dynamite Speech System.

Learn more at or call 1-719-573-6195.

The Story Theater Retreat in Colorado Springs

The Story Theater Method

Presentations Skills and Storytelling Products and Packages

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