Having worked with Sotheby’s experts to develop how they could use storytelling to communicate with their clients we were asked to look at how we could help all London staff to get to know each other better and then do the same with representatives from Sotheby’s European offices (who were visiting for a 2-day event). We suggested a workshop that would provide a lively, creative and enjoyable opportunity for colleagues (both experts and support), who don’t necessarily know each other, to interact, inform and inspire each other. The fun and participatory activity would employ some easily applied processes and skills of storytelling, as a way to learn more about each other and what they do while sharing and celebrating what makes Sotheby’s amazing.
For the London networking workshop about 100 participants were treated to drinks and snacks while we helped them to create a story that said something both about themselves and Sotheby’s. As they developed their story, using different storytelling techniques, they also shared it with 3 different people so that they could meet them and get to know what they do. The European workshop followed the same process and was an informal energetic end to a day of sitting and listening to presentations.
The intense and fast paced workshop provided an opportunity for the London staff to find shared enthusiasms, often unexpectedly between individuals who did not normally meet. Although they were very tired the European participants enjoyed getting to know each other through their stories and in how they each responded to the different techniques that influenced how the stories were told. The stories helped participants to consider their role within Sotheby’s and its ongoing story. Hearing their colleagues’ stories built relationships that could strengthen the overall connections throughout the building. At the very least as staff walked around the labyrinth of corridors there would be more hellos and smiles exchanged. While being an opportunity to meet new colleagues and build new connections the participants could also take away the techniques used in the workshop to enhance how they communicate and interact on a day to day basis.
As part of their first Staff Away Day, Southside wanted to include a useful but fun session for all 150 delegates to take part in. They wanted to create a sense of community in an organisation that is split across different offices and projects, many of whom have no contact with each other.
TheWholeStory ran “Southside Stories”, with extra facilitation from Southside staff trained by us. The 75-minute workshop created oral stories based on the experiences and achievements of individuals who work in Southside, and therefore define what it is. Over the course of the workshop delegates shared stories about their work while practicing skills to enhance how they speak and listen to each other and their service users.
“Southside Stories” created a positive and enthusiastic atmosphere in the room and for the work and people of Southside. Participants were pleased by how the workshop allowed them to meet colleagues for the first time and to get to know each other by hearing about their achievements. Participants left the workshop looking forward to how they could use storytelling techniques as a way to better understand their service users and their needs.
“Thank you so much for contributing to the success of Southside’s first ever Staff Away Day – your infectious enthusiasm and energy made the “Southside Stories” a memorable event.”
HR Manager. Southside Housing Association.Back to business
The Management Consultancies Association run a networking group for Management Consultants in the early years of their careers, the Young MCA. We were approached by them to deliver a masterclass in storytelling process that would enable the participants to leave with a toolkit to better win business, make positive connections with colleagues and clients and improve their verbal and written communication.
We created a high tempo, 90-minute session delivered to 120 participants, who each created a story with which to sell themselves, through their work achievements, to potential clients. With the aid of TheWholeStory associates, we ensured full participation from all present, leaving them not only with their presentation, but the ability to apply the skills learnt to both the creation and delivery of future presentations. These would be applicable when presenting to large groups or less formally on a one-to-one basis.
The highly participatory workshop required much pair-work and peer feedback throughout, which helped participants from many different consultancies become acquainted with each other and the work they undertook. This practise of collaborative work enabled a far greater participation in the subsequent networking session. Participants were so impressed with the workshop that we subsequently won work with both Digital Public and Mott MacDonald, members of whom had both been present.
“theWholeStory did two workshops for the Young Management Consultancy Association – a group of people who after a long day at work would be a tricky audience to please. However, Josh and Lily were so successful in creating a dynamic, exciting evening, where everyone felt like they learnt something practical that they could apply to their day job, that we invited them back to do a second event. The comments from the attendees were very positive. I would recommend using theWholeStory for their original approach applied in an accessible and useable way – and of course for their ability to win over a roomful of consultants after a hard day at the office!”
Chair of the Young MCABack to business
As part of Ernst & Young’s sponsorship of major arts exhibitions, they involve their employees in activities, to encourage engagement in the exhibitions and provide opportunities for interaction with clients. Following a recommendation from Arts & Business, TheWholeStory was asked to create training to equip up to 70 participants with the skills to work confidently in teams as Art Guides, at client receptions within the exhibition.
TheWholeStory devised and led workshops applying storytelling skills, techniques and games. The workshops enabled the participants to create and structure art historical information about the exhibition. The workshops also provided the opportunity to acquire and practice the necessary performance and presentation skills. An important element of the workshop was to show that personal opinions or responses can help others find their own initial connection to a work of art, on to which they could then find a broader engagement with it.
The fun but effective workshops allowed participants, from various E&Y departments and offices, to meet and collaborate together as teams prior to the receptions. The positive, encouraging but also challenging nature ensured that confidence and self-esteem were boosted. Participants left the creative workshop with a greater understanding of their subject and the tools to speak and interact spontaneously. TheWholeStory were subsequently involved with E&Y’s next sponsorship project, providing similar workshops, alongside more advanced elements.