Earlier this year I gathered a few VSO colleagues to join me on the Acumen+ Storytelling for Change course, which is all about bringing (personal) stories into your professional communication, helping you to connect with (and convince) your listeners as you present.
I’ve tried before, and failed, to complete online courses; free ones like these are even harder to see through. What worked this time? Mainly it was committing to meet weekly as a group for the duration of the modules (guilt about letting other people down is stronger than the guilt of letting yourself down, it seems). But also genuine enthusiasm within the group for the topic, and a sense that the lessons were fairly universally relevant.
Here are some of the best bits of learning for me:
- On telling your own story – before others create it for you
- Examples of live storytelling
- On how sharing your stories helps build professional connections
- Some physical presence tips for women (just as relevant for men…)
- On finding your passionate purpose: being more ambitious about what you want to achieve through your presentation
We agreed early on to present back to other colleagues (a deadline that also focused minds on completion) – here’s the handout we used to summarise what we learned (thanks to my new discovery, the free infographic tool easel.ly).