Following a recommendation from one of our past workshop participants Urban Transport Group got in touch to see how we could help them use storytelling to make the case for their members – the public sector transport authorities for the largest city regions – including Metro in West Yorkshire and TfL in London. They could see that effective stories could be the key to successfully communicating the need for funding, powers and policies – so were interested to find out how we could make that possible.
Since we had already delivered training for the NHS, had worked in partnership with the 2 Civil Service unions and had led training for the Association of Directors of Public Health we had a solid understanding of the type of communication that would take place between the Urban Transport Group, the public, funders and policy makers. We delivered a 1-day workshop for the team of 6 – which included their researchers, their Senior Economist, their Policy Manager and Director. They each arrived with a presentation they had or would be delivering soon that we would deconstruct and rebuild as a story and present to each other to finish the day.
The participants came away with a better understanding of what they needed to communicate to make a connection with their specific audiences and to successfully argue the needs and benefits by using personal, organisational and national contexts. One participant used our content structuring techniques to select from his extensive and expert knowledge, that had been confusing rather than illustrating or proving his arguments. Another was able to use his own perspective to emphasise the value and importance of Urban Transport Group’s work and impact. As well improving their presentation skills, in response to ideas being discussed at the end, the group also started to look at how they could use the ingredients of story as a way to plan the progress of projects over time.
Research Partnership are a global pharmaceutical market research company who already recognised the importance of story to effectively communicate, but wished to refine and extend their use of storytelling to ensure they stood out in how they communicated and shared their results to clients. The Marketing Director took part in one of our taster workshops and went on to commission training for the company’s Directors to help them find the story which best encapsulated key research findings and insights. This story could be told as an animation for clients or would become part of their face to face presentations.
Our half day workshop helped the Directors to consider what qualities they wished to adopt, from what they believed or had experienced as good storytelling. In the workshop the Directors experienced our practical process to realise those qualities, explore and better understand what to share from a piece of research and found the story which best illustrated and effectively communicated the points they wished their audience to take.
During the delivery of the workshop to 3 different groups from Research Partnership’s UK, Asian and US offices, the Directors noticed immediately the power of examining their findings through the lens of storytelling. Presenting insights from previously unconsidered perspectives gave their research new weight and impact. They have come away being able to present in a more interesting and efficient style with a greater enthusiasm for what they communicate.
“We asked The Whole Story to come and give a half day storytelling training session to all our Directors with the aim of helping them to find the story in their global market research findings. All the attendees came back enthusing about the course and how useful it was. All said it exceeded their expectations and all said they would recommend it to others.”
Marketing Director, Research Partnership.Back to business
The board were preparing for authorisation, and wanted their many experiences and expertises to come together to create a compelling story for Wakefield CCG. This would be of further help when communicating the changes and benefits that were coming into place, whether speaking to patients, clinicians, councillors or other stakeholders. We were recommended to the board’s OD consultant by colleagues, who had attended workshops we delivered to Management in Partnership members.
We were asked for a half-day workshop that would allow the board to work collectively on the CCG’s story; helping each other confront and answer the difficult questions they foresaw being asked. They then individualised each story, making it relevant to their specialism and their target audience.
By incorporating all the techniques learnt, each board member had a well constructed, 3-minute piece they could tell confidently, clearly and engagingly. A few were told, giving an opportunity to offer group feedback, and creating a much stronger and cohesive understanding as a team of their joint values and goals.
“The Whole Story ran a fantastic workshop with NHS Wakefield CCG as part of our Board development. We are really keen to use storytelling to positively convey the vision and priorities of the CCG to our patients, member practices, partners and staff. Learning and practising the skills of storytelling with TheWholeStory was interactive, insightful, and extremely memorable.”
Chief Officer Designate
Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group
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COEO supports how businesses use and optimise their data software. We were asked to help how their technically brilliant consultants communicate with individuals within their clients’ businesses, who usually do not have the same expertise. Our client at COEO was particularly interested in how we could help the consultants to enliven their presentations and be able to better use their personal impact and presence. Ben Joiner met with our client to best plan the form and content of the workshop to ensure the participants would feel comfortable with the training and be able to get the most from it.
The 1 day workshop with 10 participants started by introducing the principal that communication is as much what you do as what you say. The workshop then went on to explore and practice how to make the most natural and effective use of the participants’ voices and body’s. Ben helped the participants to use their body language, how to hold the space they are in, being inclusive and responsive to their audience and how to use inflection and modulation of their voices to help make the delivery of their technical, analytical and factual content interesting and enticing. At the end of the day Ben tackled particular problems or issues, by working with each individual with the whole group present. Instead of this being a stressful situation the group were able to support each other, share in common problems and learn from each other’s development.
The thought provoking day enabled the group, who usually didn’t get to work together, to find creative and collaborative solutions to how they communicated. They left feeling more confident to communicate with their clients, as they could now deliver their technical subject matter with more energy, applying their deeper understanding of how to successfully use their physicality and voice.
“Thanks for the workshop, the feedback has all been positive and I think the group found it sufficiently ‘left field’ (in a good way) to be memorable.”
Professional Development and Operations Manager, COEOBack to business
R had taken part in our workshops “Sharing the Message” and in “Vocal and Physical Pressence” and wanted to use the same techniques to work intensely and one to one to develop an important upcoming presentation. She wished to explore and refine her content and to improve how she used her body and voice to be able to confidently present to a challenging audience. She had some fears that were holding her back from sharing her content, which she knew was important and valid.
R spent the first half of the morning with Lily, deconstructing her content and rebuilding it as a narrative, they explored who her audience was and how she could tackle any problems or issues they may raise in a positive manner and they distilled the ingredients of her story to ensure it worked towards the outcomes and meanings she wanted to reach. In the second half of the morning before a late lunch, Ben guided R in how she could best use her voice and pbiody to hold and deliver her message and build an effective relationship with her audience. In the afternoon R had time to apply her learning before giving her presentation to Ben and Lily, who gave her feedback and practical comments for her to be able measure her improvement and areas for further work.
R left feeling enthused and energized and looking forward to practicing her presentation further. She had some simple techniques to draw on that gave her a strong foundation for her confidence. From the day she gained greater insight, both on her content and how she could deliver it, that helped to make her presentation more powerful.
“I just wanted to say thank you for an excellent day yesterday and express how grateful I am to you both. There were a couple of insightful nuggets that were particularly powerful which I think have the potential to make all the difference for me. I know I need committed practice and focus – but I am smiling whilst I write this – as the thought of practicing actually feels like it could be fun?!. Hopefully the results will speak for themselves! Thank you again for an invaluable session.”Back to business