top of page

Better Stories
tell the truth.

Better Stories are relevant, important and true. They aim to seek truth, build trust and establish empathy as they perform a service for their audience.



The Trust Equation.

The Trusted Advisor is a little dated (2001) but still a must-read for any consultant. The audio book is 10-hours but you might just want to grab the (digital) book if only to read the chapter on the "Trust Equation". It will help you to build trust with your client (and measure it). [256 pages]


Seek Truth & Build Trust.

Since I stole Principle 03 from cellist Yo-Yo Ma's Masterclass, it's only right and proper that I encourage you to watch it if you have the means. It's a great short course about how you "seek truth, build trust and perform a service" for your audience. [Subscription $189/year]



Relevant, Important & True.

Before anyone knew who Barack Obama was he had to work hard to build trust with voters through stories. This book is not a glitzy account of what he did, it's a very academic and data-driven look at HOW he did it. Written by campaign manager and ex-Uber exec David Plouffe. [411 pages]


Front Lines.

What goes at the beginning of your story? What do you move to the front? Some (executive) audiences don't want a story, they want the truth communicated quickly. Few organisations do this as well as McKinsey. The Pyramid Principle is their method created by Barbara Minto in the 1960's. [214 pages]



Trust Barometer.

For the last 25 years PR firm Edelman have published a report, monitoring levels of trust in 28 countries, from 32,000 respondents. It's a solid report (with some good slides) that aims to help businesses, NGO's, media and academia address the serious issue of declining trust. It's worth a read and will help your storytelling.[PDF Download]


Your First 3 Minutes.

One of the best talks I watched in 2023 was "The Power of Unconventional Thinking" by David McWilliams. I broke it down in this post on Linkedin. One of the things I love most about it is his opening 3-minutes. It's that crucial FRONT LINE when the things you say first set the tone. Nobody expected an economist to give a presentation on poetry... [3 mins]


True Story?

Why let the truth get in the way of a good story? Have you seen the FAKE Donald Trump photos generated by AI which have been doing the rounds? Apparently, creators don’t need to take responsibility for the fake images they created because they can pass them off as “stories”. In this short post I wanted to raise awareness and suggest that great storytellers have a responsibility to tell the truth (and tell their audience when they don't). [3 min read]


3 Types of Truth.

Neil deGrasse Tyson's masterclass (paid subscription) on "Scientific Thought & Communication" is one of their best classes. He talks about how there are 3 types of truths: Personal truth, Political truth and the Objective truth. When you are telling a good story, especially in the age of AI and deep fakes, you (and your audience) need to be aware of what type of truth you are sharing. [2 mins]

Screenshot 2023-12-21 at 10.24.42.png



My good friend Danny Fontaine has a superb podcast dedicated to the Art of Pitching - those first few words out of your mouth and the story that you construct around it. He's had some great guests (inc. Duarte, Sinek, Sutherland). It's really fun and you'll learn a LOT. [Podcast]


60 Seconds.

Selling Your Story in 60 Seconds is a great book from screenwriting coach Michael Hauge that he wrote to help screenwriters sell their scripts, but it's just as relevant for business leaders who need to capture their audience's attention in the first minute. I particularly liked the 8 R's of Pitching: Review, Write, Rehearse, Research, Rapport, Revelation, Request, Response. [171 Pages]


Tell them, tell them, tell them...

Great business talks have 3 phases: (1) Tell them what you're about to tell them > (2) Tell them > (3) Tell them what you just told them. In comedian Hannah Gadsby's Netflix special she did something I've never seen before. For her "Front Line" she used almost 25% of her set to tell the audience what they were about to feel. It's a masterclass in telling the audience what you're about to tell them. [70 mins - Netflix]


The Light & Dark of Storytelling.

These are my notes from a storytelling workshop I gave about engaging different audiences. Some presentations are based on "What keeps you up at night?" (DARK) while others need to be more inspirtational by asking "What gets you out of bed in the morning?" (LIGHT). [Click image for One Pagers]

bottom of page