Interactive Storytelling

June 30, 2022 by  

This article explores a type of training activity called interactive storytelling.

Here’s the outline of this chapter:
1. Ready-to-play instructions for an interactive storytelling activity called Arouse.
2. Game plan showing the structure of the Arouse activity
3. Suggestions for adapting Arouse to suit other training requirements
4. Definition of interactive storytelling
5. Brief summaries of 10 different interactive storytelling activities
Most trainers tell stories to emphasize learning points. In this interactive storytelling exercise, we focus on how to arouse emotional outcomes during communication.

To modify and tell a story to evoke one of these emotions among the listeners: happiness, anger, sadness, or fear.
Teams of participants select an emotion they want to evoke through telling a story. They modify the story and select a team member to tell it. The listeners identify the level of intensity of the emotion that the story aroused.

Minimum: 4
Maximum: Any number, organized into groups of 3 to 7 players.
Best: 12 to 30

30 minutes to 1 hour, depending on the number of teams.

• Small pieces of paper
• Pens
• Timer
• Whistle

Room Set-up
Arrange seats around tables to permit group discussions.

Brief the participants. Explain that this activity involves telling a story to evoke one of the four primary emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, or fear. Notify that the participants will work in teams to modify the story and present it to evoke the selected emotion.

Specify a story. Identify a well-known folk tale and explain that all teams will tell their version of this story. Members of the team may modify their story in any way to invoke an emotion they selected.

Form teams. Organize the participants into teams of 3 to 7 players. Try to form 3 or 4 teams, making sure no team has more than 7 members. It does not matter if a team has one less or one more member than the other teams. Seat each team around a separate table to modify the story and plan for its presentation.
Specify an emotion to be elicited. Identify the four basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear. Invite each team to secretly select one of these emotions to elicit through the presentation of their story.

Prepare for storytelling. Announce a suitable time limit (of 5 to 10 minutes) for the members of each team to suitably doctor their story to arouse the selected emotion among the listeners. Also ask the teams to come up with suitable storytelling techniques to emphasize this emotion. Allow each team to work on its own.

Select a storyteller. A couple of minutes before the end of the time limit, ask the teams to select one of its members to be the storyteller.
Present the story. At the end of time limit, blow the whistle and select a random team. Ask the storyteller from this team to present the story. Ask all participants from the other teams to listen to story.

Conclude the storytelling. At the end of 3 minutes, blow the whistle to stop the presentation even if the story has not concluded. Thank the presenter and their team. Ask the storytelling team to identity the emotion they were attempting to arouse among the listeners.

Poll the listeners. Distribute small pieces of papers to the participants from the other teams. Ask each participant to independently to write a number between 1 and 5 to indicate how intensely the emotion was aroused.

Explain this scale:
1. not aroused at all
2. mildly aroused
3. aroused
4. clearly aroused
5. intensely aroused

After a suitable pause, collect the folded pieces of polling numbers.
Continue the storytelling activity. Select different teams, one at a time, to present their version of the story to arouse their selected emotion. Repeat this procedure until all teams have had their chance. Collect the polling numbers at the end of each storytelling episode.
Conclude the activity. Announce the total storytelling poll scores for each team. Congratulate the highest scoring team as the champion storytellers.

The Structure of the Activity
Arouse can be used as a template for creating other training activities. The following game plan outlines the structure of this activity:
What the facilitator does: Explain the format and the objectives of this activity.
What the participants do: Think about what would happen in the activity.

What the facilitator does: Identify a commonly known story to be retold to arouse a specific emotion.
What the participants do: Recall and share details of the story.

What the facilitator does: Organize the participants into teams of 3 to 7 members.
What the participants do: Sit around a table and introduce yourself to teammates.

What the facilitator does: Explain the basic emotions of happiness, sadness, anger, and fear.
What the participants do: Select one of the emotions to arouse through the story.

What the facilitator does: Give instructions and a time limit.
What the participants do: Work as a team to modify the story and figure out strategies for arousing a specific emotion.

What the facilitator does: Ask the teams to select its storyteller.
What the participants do: Select the most suitable team member to be the storyteller

What the facilitator does: Ask the storyteller from a randomly selected team to tell the story.
What the participants do: The storyteller tells the story, trying to arouse the selected emotion.

What the facilitator does: Stop the story after 3 minutes. Identify the emotion that the storyteller was trying to arouse.
What the participants do: Think about the story and the specified emotion.

What the facilitator does: Ask each listener to give the story a score between 1 and 5.
What the participants do: Write the score on a piece of paper and give it to the facilitator.

What the facilitator does: Select different teams to tell their story.
What the participants do: Listen to other teams’ stories and score their performance.

What the facilitator does: Announce the total storytelling scores for each team.
What the participants do: Congratulate the highest-scoring team.

Adapting Arouse to Suit Other Training Requirements

You can use the structure of Arouse as a template to explore other training topics and objectives.

Here are some suggestions for doing this:
• Don’t want to impose a story? Instead of specifying the story, permit the teams to come up with their own story.
• Assign a specific emotion? Instead of letting each team select an emotion, assign the same emotion to all teams.
• Want a wider choice of emotions? Include additional emotions such as disgust, enjoyment, love, amusement, pride, peace, compassion, and curiosity.
• Want to work with business-related topics? Instead of using stories, select common activities from the workplace (such as satisfying customers, marketing products, or giving discounts). Ask the teams to describe what happens in the activity.

Interactive Storytelling

Arouse belongs to a type of training activity called Interactive storytelling.
Interactive stories are fictional narratives that involve the participants in a variety of ways:
• The facilitator presents the story and discusses its significance through a debrief.
• The facilitator pauses at critical junctures in the story and invites listeners to play the role of a character.
• The participants rewrite the story by changing the beginning, ending, setting, characters, or point of view
• The participants create and share stories that illustrate key concepts, principles, or procedures related to the training topic.
Ten More Interactive Storytelling Activities
In addition to Arouse, there are several other interactive storytelling activities. Here are brief summaries of 10 different interactive storytelling activities:

Objective: To appreciate positive outcomes in a specific type of encounter and to identify the factors that contribute to such an outcome.
Sample Training Topics: Cross-cultural communication, coaching, difficult conversations, motivating employees, selling a product, and problem solving.
Sample Topic for this Game: Suicide Prevention
Activity: Ask the participants to independently create personal anecdotes about achieving success in preventing a suicide. Form pairs of participants to exchange their positive stories. Repeat the pairing and sharing procedure. After several rounds of such exchanges, form teams of participants. Ask the members of each team to share their insights and identify the factors that contributed to the success of their encounters.

Objective: To review, analyze, and mitigate one or more critical factors presented in a case.
Sample Training Topics: Team-building, critical thinking, creative problem solving, receiving feedback, conducting interviews, and conflict management.
Sample Topic for this Game: Strategic Decision-Making
Activity: Present a case in the form of a story. Also give a list of key questions related to the case. Ask the participants to individually analyze the case and answer the question. Later, form teams and have the participants share their answers and arrive at a consensus. Finally, conduct a whole-group discussion to share the perspectives of different teams and individuals.

Objective: To empathize the perceptions and feelings of different groups.
Sample Training Topics: Customer satisfaction, multicultural teams, communication, listening skills, coaching, and virtual teams.
Sample Topic for this Game: Empathy
Activity: Tell a story from the point of view of a key character. Ask teams of participants to rewrite the story from the points of view of other characters. Ask the teams to share their stories. Conduct a debriefing discussion to examine alternative perspectives.

Objective: To identify desirable and undesirable qualities of people in leadership roles.
Sample Training Topics: Management, team facilitation, training, thought leaders, politicians, and coaches.
Sample Topic for this Game: Effective Managers
Sample Topic for this Game: Effective management
Activity: Discuss the characteristics of managers. Ask teams of participants to create a profile of an effective manager who is a hero. Later, ask the teams to create a profile of an unsavory managers who is a villain. Reorganize the teams and ask them to list desirable and undesirable characteristics managers.

Objective: To create a logical sequence of predictable events in an unfinished narrative.
Sample Training Topics: Forecasting, investment, planning, coaching, motivating, collecting data, and researching.
Sample Topic for this Game: Team Development
Activity: Explain the four stages in the team development model. Tell a story about the experiences of a team working on a critical project. Include details of what happened during the forming, storming, and norming stages. Ask teams to write the final (performing) of the story in this team’s development.

Objective: To connect causes and effects across several events.
Sample Training Topics: Career development, mediation, life of a new hire, quitting a job, product development, and retirement.
Sample Topic for this Game: Project Management
Activity: Explain that every action is caused by some previous action. Also, every action causes some future action. After these explanations, present the outline of a story that involves a business project. Ask teams to create a sequel to the story, involving the same characters and settings. Later, return to the original story and ask the participants to create a prequel of the story, by portraying the same characters at an earlier time. Debrief the participants by tracking the connections among the events in the prequel, the story, and the sequel.

Objective: To realistically analyze a failure to diminish its impact and to lower the probability of its future occurrence.
Sample Training Topics: Planning, organizational learning, faux pas, data collection, quitting a job, and rejection of a proposal.
Sample Topic for this Game: Downsizing
Activity: Ask teams of participants to write short stories featuring an employee being downsized. Exchange the stories among the teams. And ask each team to rewrite the story with a happy ending: a positive outcome instead of the original failure. Conduct a debriefing discussion about reframing perception of failures.

Objective: To collaboratively create and present a story stimulated by a random photograph and related to a specific topic.
Sample Training Topics: Visual thinking, graphic prompts, topical exploration, lateral thinking, and communication.
Sample Topic for this Game: Creativity
Activity:. Seat a team of participants around a large table. Briefly introduce the training topic. Turn over a random photo card. Invite the first participant to create and narrate the first few sentences of a story related to creativity and to the photograph. Invite the other participants to take turns to continue narration. Stop the narration after a convenient time period. Comment on aspects of the story related to creativity.

Objective: To rapidly create and present a story that is related to the training topic.
Sample Training Topics: Any training topic.
Sample Topic for this Game: Storytelling
Activity: Organize the participants in triads. Ask one member of the triad to be the judge and to announce a training topic. The other two participants think silently for 30 seconds about the topic. At the end of this time, the judge takes one of the other participants aside and listens to their story. After a couple of minutes, they return to listen to the other participant’s story. At the end of this story, the judge decides whose story won this round. This procedure is repeated with each participant playing role of the judge.

Objective: To explore the similarities and differences between one’s personal behavior and the behaviors of the characters in a story.
Sample Training Topics: Communication, cultural norms, values, national differences, and emotional responses.
Sample Topic for this Game: Death and dying
Activity: Locate or write a story related to the training topic. (In our session, we used a story called “A Death in the Family”, about the death of a mother.)

Distribute printed copies of the story to each participant. Assign a suitable time limit for reading the story. Conduct a debriefing discussion will the entire group. Ask questions about the differences between the behavior of people in your culture and the characters in the story.


June 14, 2022 by  

No matter your industry, your potential customers are subjected to a lot of noise.
Naturally, in order to make sales so you can change lives, you’ve got to stand out to your ideal clients as an expert; and not only that, but as the expert who can deliver the transformation they’re looking for in exactly the style they’re looking for.
Master the eight golden laws of selling, and you’ll be on your way to more leads, better sales conversions, and a thriving business!

Rule 1: The Law of Influence. During a sales conversation, there is one way to influence a potential client to buy, and that is to put your focus on that person (rather than on yourself). People don’t buy your skills or certifications; they buy the transformation you’re providing. So if you want to sell, focus on your potential client, and how your services will transform his or her life.

Rule 2: The Law of Active Listening. During a conversation, active listening is about more than listening to respond—it’s about listening carefully, to hone in on exactly what your ideal clients or customers want and need now. When you truly listen, for the sake of listening, you’ll be able to identify exactly how your offering fills a customer’s desire or need. As a result, your sales conversions will skyrocket!

Rule 3: The Law of Uniqueness. Each one of us is unique and can provide our offering in a unique way. Get clear on what makes you unique—how you stand out from others in your field—and then lead with that in all your sales conversations and marketing pieces. Your ideal clients will be attracted to you for the unique qualities you offer! To them, you’ll stand out from the noise and emerge as the clear choice.

Rule 4: The Law of Authenticity. This law goes hand-in-hand with the Law of Uniqueness. You are unique. Embrace that! Celebrate it. Be yourself; don’t try to be like anyone else. When you are clear about why you do what you do and what you stand for, you attract ideal clients and customers naturally.

Rule 5The Law of Value. People typically realize that a great value doesn’t necessarily mean the cheapest price. Consider how you can add value to your packages to create an exceptional experience for your customers (consider one-on-one coaching calls, Q&A sessions, extra worksheets or templates, etc.). Then, don’t be afraid to charge what you’re worth, in terms of the transformation you provide.

Rule 6: The Law of Receptivity. Give first. People buy from experts they know, like, and trust; the best way to establish this type of relationship is to give. Be of value. Allow your ideal clients a taste of the transformation you can provide, and those who are a great fit for you will hang on your every word, anxiously awaiting your every offer!

Rule 7: The Law of Time. Launches with limits sell more. Whether you sell only a limited number of packages or sell packages only for a limited time, the fear of missing out is real. That’s why limited launches work. Consider different ways you can use this technique; add limited-time bonuses, early bird pricing, etc

Rule 8: The Law of Self. The better you become, the more success you’ll create. Focus on personal and professional development—improve your mindset, sales skills, and skills or methodologies specific to the service you offer. Read books, take courses, and join groups and masterminds that will keep you motivated, inspired, educated, and always on the road to improvement.

When you’re not landing as many customers as you want to, the sales process can feel mysterious.
The good news is that when you put these golden laws into practice, you’ll begin to see an improvement: more leads, more sales, and the ability to make a bigger difference!
Want to scale your business, get visible, find clients, and increase profits?