Storytelling for Leaders

How to influence, engage and inspire with stories.
Business communication skills that deliver results.

What is it?

Storytelling for Leaders is a six-month training program comprising a one-day workshop and a deliberate practice program — ideal for improving your communication and presentation skills.

We made it this way because we worked out that behaviour doesn’t change in one day
(pity about that). Download Storytelling for Leaders brochure.

To learn more, email us today.


What will I learn?

You’ll learn how to use your day-to-day experiences to make and reinforce points in a business setting.

You’ll also learn specific story patterns to use in explaining why change is happening, to change people’s minds, to overcome objections, and to illustrate success.

And you’ll achieve all this without furrowing any brows or sending anyone to sleep.

To learn more, email us today.

How is the training conducted?

The one-day workshop is a practical, hands-on session. Within the first 30 minutes, participants are sharing stories.


Who runs the training?

We do, with our Partners around the world.

By the way, Anecdote is highly experienced in delivering Storytelling for Leaders. We’ve trained over 1000 leaders, with an average net promoter score of 67 (BTW, that’s really good).

Anecdote SFL Partner logoOur global network of Partners delivers this program to workplaces in over 22 countries.


Storytelling for Leaders is currently available in these languages: Dutch, Japanese,
Turkish, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, Polish, Thai, Bahasa Indonesian and Korean.

What sorts of outcomes can I expect?

You’ll be more engaging as a leader because you’ll be sharing real-life examples of the purposeful, important work that you and your colleagues do.

You’ll relate to others emotionally and therefore inspire action rather than just the nodding of heads in approval.

And, of course, because your stories will be real-life examples, they will be more influential than mere opinions.

Here’s an account from a leader who attended Storytelling for Leaders.

Pete (not his real name) was a country manager at a global manufacturer. Each year he pitched his budget to his board for approval, and each year the experience was the same. You know what it’s like: you sweat bullets, your gut churns. It can be a gruelling affair.

But after participating in Storytelling for Leaders, Pete had a different experience. He’d learned the clarity story pattern from us and he used it to explain to his board why he needed the requested funds. The board listened to his story, there was a pause, then nods around the table, and just like that his budget request was granted.

Before Pete could catch his breath, the board’s chair asked him how much more he’d need to deliver results even faster. He went with his gut: “Five million will do it”. That was also approved.

As Pete was walking out of the room, another country manager was heading in. Pete heard the chair ask the manager if he could make his case as clearly as Pete just had. Pete just smiled…

Imagine if you could influence decision makers like this.

Imagine the time you’d save, the anxiety you’d spare yourself, the ability you’d have to get on with the job and make a real difference.

Needless to say, this opportunity is not just for country managers who want to influence their board members. Business storytelling applies to any type of leadership, at any level of an organisation.

Leadership can involve, among other things:

  • Making a connection and engaging employees
  • Instilling core values and cultivating an effective culture
  • Explaining a change, a strategy, a decision
  • Helping colleagues to think differently and overcome entrenched views
  • Inspiring action.

Download a case study:
Yammer – Yammer opens doors to sales opportunities

To learn more, email us today.

Storytelling for Leaders participants include…

InterContinental Hotels Group logo
Yammer logo
Mars logo
Microsoft logo
SAP logo
IBM logo
NAB logo
Gartner logo
BHP Billiton logo
Boeing logo
Wrigley logo
Boehringer Ingelheim logo
Shell logo
Danone logo
Coca Cola logo

Can my own people deliver the program?

Yes. We can make your business a corporate partner for the Storytelling for Leaders program.

We will train and accredit your staff, who can then deliver the program internally. This is more cost-effective and results in an even better connection between the program’s content and your specific context.

What people are saying about Storytelling for Leaders

  • speech-marksAs one of world’s best gaming companies, Electronic Arts is a story business. So it was vital our top leaders have oral story skills to engage and inspire our people. Anecdote’s Storytelling for Leaders program blew us away. It’s practical, engaging and most importantly, it works. Our leaders were applying their new found story skills right away with immediate impact.Andy Billings
    VP, Profitable Creativity
  • speech-marksOne of the areas I have been working on, with the team at Mars New Zealand, is to develop our capability in being more inspirational in our communication to our associates.About a year ago, I had been looking around for a company to help me with this journey when I had the opportunity to be a mentor on a GM development programme at Mars, and it was on this programme I first had the pleasure of meeting Shawn, where I had a taster of his storytelling training.I knew then and there that this was what I had been looking for, and arranged for Shawn to train my team and our wider leadership team. It is amazing the difference it has made, turning communication into inspiration.The feedback we have had from associates has confirmed to me that this was a fantastic investment and one where I have developed a new skill that I love.”Gerry Lynch
    General Manager, Mars New Zealand
  • speech-marksThe power of story telling for leaders to get their message across is gaining increasing currency across NAB. Early this year, I asked Shawn Callahan from Anecdote to take my leadership through his workshop, which was both enjoyable and compelling in reinforcing to us why we simply must learn the art of story-telling as part of our aim to improve our personal leadership effectiveness and engagement.In May, I organised an off-site for around 40 of my senior leaders, and we used story telling in two ways. Firstly, I asked each of my direct reports to tell a story of a work achievement that they had been most proud of, and the impact that had. Then to round out the day, I broke the group up into their state teams and asked them to come up with their best story that reflected when they had best and most proudly demonstrated one of NAB’s five core values. One person from each state then had to present back to the group, with a prize for the best story.These two sessions made a substantial contribution to our conference aims:
    • It helped embed with our team what the five core values are, and what they look like in practice
    • Our team left the conference confident of the difference we are making to the business, and highly engaged.
    Whilst it would be unfair to attribute our staff engagement result entirely to this, I am sure there was an impact in moving our score from 36% to 63% this year. A result we are all very proud of. Mal Carter
    General Manager Credit Risk, NAB Business and Private Wealth
  • speech-marksAs a Corporate Affairs team we are constantly talking the narrative of our organisation, both internally and externally. To us, being able to communicate simply and effectively is the most important skill as both leaders and professional communicators. When it came to finding a provider to train our team at our regional conference, we wanted only the best. Anecdote came highly recommended from within our organisation. The day was most enjoyable and the icing on the cake was a significant win for two of our team, who used their new skills in a highly successful negotiation that afternoon. The net result was that by the end of the day the training had already paid for itself – many times over. Thanks to Mark and the Anecdote team for a fabulous program with hugely engaging content, quickly delivering measurable results – we are all thrilled and excited by the world of story telling the course has opened to us.Catherine Pemberton
    Corporate Affairs Director, Pacific Region, Wrigley
  • speech-marksWe ran the Anecdote ‘Storytelling for Leaders’ workshop at an offsite meeting for our research division. I wanted to broaden our senior scientists’ communication skills and rethink how they talked about their work.The feedback I got from them afterwards was incredibly positive. Even years later, several of the scientists said the workshop transformed how they interacted with customers and research partners, both one-to-one and giving presentations. They felt comfortable to go beyond the graphs and data they usually talked about to take a more personal approach, telling their own stories and building rapport.”Carrie Bengston
    Senior Communication Adviser, CSIRO
testimonial photo Andy Billingstestimonial photo Gerry Lynchtestimonial photo Mal Cartertestimonial photo Catherine Pembertontestimonial photo Carrie Bengston

The vital role of business storytelling

Leaders can use storytelling to convey values, share lessons or explain a strategic direction. They can use storytelling to forge deeper connections between people and to inspire them to focus their attention and take action.


The role of stories in data storytelling

There is a chasm between finding an insight in data and influencing a decision-maker to act on it. You can bridge that gap with storytelling. Stories connect data and establish meaning. They bring data to life.



More articles


Check out where a public Storytelling for Leaders program is scheduled to run.