Creative Communications Consultancy & Training
The power of story and narrative is crucial in communication skills, and can turn dry facts or abstract principles into compelling material which is absorbed and remembered by its audience. The principles of narrative tie everything together and give it meaning. They give a powerful key to mastering skills of not just communication, but leadership, influence, presentation, creativity, change management, conflict management and more.
I offer a wide range of effective training, through my own unique and long-proven experiential techniques. Experiential learning gives people personal experience, rather than just theory, of the key elements needed for competency in skills, so that they learn deeply, absorb thoroughly and remember easily.
I use a wide variety of exercises which reveal and demonstrate to participants the principles and practices that work for them. This is backed up with theory and practical tips so that they can continue to develop their understanding and expertise.
My training in communication and narrative initially covers three fundamental areas:
Freeing up participants' imagination and creativity, and giving them the experience of their full creative flow, revealing to them the often surprising extent of their potential, and showing techniques of how to switch on such creativity, and also to apply it. This all goes far beyond the usual creativity techniques of brainstorming etc., and operates through many modes of learning simultaneously, thus being effective with even those convinced they could never be imaginative. This area also delivers remarkable steps forward in self-confidence, and in team-building.
The nature of story and narrative, its importance, why and how people expect to receive all information in story-form, and how it is the most effective form for absorbing, learning and remembering information. The building blocks of story, how to create satisfying stories or narrative flow, and how to find the story potential within any situation or body of information. This area also teaches fundamental skills needed for leadership and management, as well as for creating reports and business presentations.
Presenting - both of oneself and one's ideas. Delivering with directness and clarity, cutting through obfuscation. Communicating one's meaning and story in the most appropriate way, whether personally or through various media. Becoming aware of the effect of one's story or oneself on others. Facing people/groups/audiences with confidence, and overcoming self-consciousness and anxiety. This area can deliver great improvements in personal and social effectiveness, ability to fulfill one's place in a group, and even charisma. It can drastically improve performance in business presentations etc.
My work also extends beyond personal training and development, into the larger area of corporate communications practices. Narrative principles are effective, and indeed essential, in all corporate processes. I can provide consultancy on how to spread the habits of telling stories (and listening to them!) within organizations. This is a powerful way to facilitate the strengthening of corporate culture, or cultural change. It can bring about a rapid improvement in consensus, negotiations, and bridge the communication gaps across hierarchical divides. It can turn the mere spreading of corporate messages into the meeting of minds and gaining employee loyalty and unified vision.
Here are just some of the areas I can help with:
I can be brought in as a consultant to assess the company situation, social dynamics, and needs. Then to help encourage and modify the current culture of stories and storytelling (often lively but negative) towards a healthy and productive company-wide dynamic, giving necessary training so that the ethos and methods of an effective and profitable storytelling culture can be spread.
Even the first steps of searching out and listening to the current stories being told within the workforce can yield enormous and unexpected benefits, helping to unify and bond people into co-operative and loyal teams, and revealing valuable, effective material for corporate publicity, and even strategy.
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I have been consulted by and made keynote presentations to Cranfield Management School for its elite business research group of blue-chip companies; and to Wildscreen, the world conference of natural history film producers. I was a chief consultant to the National College of School Leadership in developing their Leadership Stories events recently, at which Greg Dyke, Director General of the BBC, was a key participant. I have trained high-profile professionals in presentation and story such as TV presenters, TV and film producers and editors, and writers; also a wide variety of managers as well as public-facing professionals, e.g. medical doctors.
I customise training to suit the mix of skills desired, the nature and number of participants, the time available, and the nature of the organisation. Please contact me to discuss your requirements.
I also run occasional popular public courses in story and personal development. These can be booked also for private groups anywhere.
For information on the world of professional storytelling, see Tim Sheppard's Storytelling Resources.