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Better Stories
are emotional.

Emotions have a role to play in even the most technical presentations or complex business stories. People make decisions with their hearts before they justify them with their heads.


4 Words & 5 Lines.

I created this "one pager" as notes for a lecture I was giving on the role that emotions play in business storytelling. The success of every story rests on creating an emotional connection with the audience. I believe that the best storytellers are students of emotions. [Click image to enlarge]


MBA in a Box.

On the subject of being "students of emotion" I adore this Emotional Intelligence box set from Harvard Business Review Press. It's 14 easy-to-read books curated from their best content in HBR over the last few years. Not cheap but you can buy the books individually. Worth it. [$249]



CEO Conversations.

If many business leaders make strategic decisions with "their gut" (as some research suggests), then it makes sense to understand what they talk about the most if you want to connect with them. I collated this QTR-by-QTR word-graph of most mentioned keywords on earnings calls from Q2 2020 to Q4 2023. [Download PDF]



"Sidelines" are about adding your own voice to a story; especially when it's a business script. I love to revert back to my IKIGAI notes when I want to weave something personal into a presentation. It's important to make every story your own and tell it in a way that nobody else can. [Click image for more info]



61 Story Prompts.

Inspired by my love of Brian Eno's "Oblique Strategies" I collated 61 "Human Prompts" into this PDF. It's based upon questions I use to help business leaders personalise their stories. Useful as cards or reminders, it's also fun to weave these questions into Gen-AI prompts to generate new story ideas. [Click image for PDF]


11 Emotional Catalysts.

According to Harvard Business Review, there are "10 Underrated Emotions of Change Narratives". Inspired by Daniel Goleman's work on Emotional Intelligence, I created this infographic (originally for Linkedin) as a reminder that your job as a storyteller is to make your audience FEEL something so that they DO something. [Download PDF]

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Harvard Rhetoric Course.

Built around Harvard Professor James Engell’s on-campus course, “Elements of Rhetoric” this course will help you analyze and apply rhetorical structure and style, appreciate the relevance of persuasive communication in your own life, and understand how to persuade and recognize when someone is trying to persuade you. [FREE Course]


The Feeling Wheel.

Great storytellers are students of emotions. Understanding emotional triggers, emotional classifications, and learning how to leverage emotions as catalysts of change are crucial skills for any communicator wishing to influence their audience. [Wikipedia: Emotional Classification Guide]



FREE Pixar Workshop.

A few years ago Pixar worked alongside Khan Academy to create a FREE 15-part storytelling workshop. You can pay thousands for a good storytelling workshop and not enough folks know that this one exists. It's all about character arcs, narrative structure and making a story your own. [Click image to enroll]


TED Membership.

One of the best things you can do to become a better storyteller is to watch one TED talk every day. 1 x 18 minute talk is about 2% of the time you're awake each day. Check out TED's site or YouTube channel daily, but if you want the inside track, consider becoming a member of TED. [$5+ per month]



The Moth: How to Tell a Story.

The Moth is a nonprofit dedicated to the art and craft of storytelling. They have hosted thousands of events and compilled many of the lessons they've learned from some of the best communicators into this book. I highly recommend it - especially for the pages of questions at the end of each chapter to challenge you to become a better storyteller. [325 pages]


Play the Fool.

This is my favourite TED talk and it might turn out to be one of yours. I love Ethan Hawke for many reasons but this short presentation filmed in 2020 is a wonderful lesson in how to make a story your own. Essential watching as you consider what SIDELINES to add to your own stories. [9 mins]

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Public Speaking Lab.

Seth Patterson knows a thing or two about public speaking. Theatrical Director and "Minster of Justice & the Arts" this is his one hour Leadership Lab (University of Chicago) called "The Art of Public Speaking", where he also de-mystifies the 7:38:55 rule. [59 mins]


Be Memorable.

How do you make your communications memorable? This lecture from Stanford Graduate School of Business with Matt Abrahams covers some of the tips and tricks you'll need up your sleeve to make a presentation your own. [52 mins]

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Write the Perfect Speech.

Former Chief Speechwriter to Barack Obama, Cody Keenan (author of GRACE - one of the BEST books on life as a speechwriter) gives a fast but compelling breakdown of a great speech, in this short vignette from BBC Ideas. [4 mins]



Six of the best Showrunners in Hollywood talking about capturing attention, the creative process and how to write original stories. Featuring: Aaron Sorkin ("The Newsroom"), Matthew Weiner ("Mad Men"), Vince Gilligan ("Breaking Bad"), Carlton Cuse ("Bates Motel"), Nic Pizzolatto ("True Detective") and Ann Biderman ("Ray Donovan"). [65 mins]

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