Storytelling for Change

Improve your public speaking by uncovering and communicating your personal story

Course Details

  • Price: FREE
  • Start Date: February 25, 2020
  • Time: 3 hours/week
  • Duration: 8 weeks
  • Partner: Ariel Group

What You’ll Learn:

  • Understand the four dimensions of the “Leadership PRESence” framework and how it can enhance both your storytelling and your leadership skills
  • Gain and apply important storytelling techniques, such as expressiveness, use of sensory details, body language, and more
  • Understand successful presentation structure and apply the “Audience, Benefit, Goal” framework to improve your presentation
  • Practice developing and sharing your personal story
  • Learn the five steps for integrating your personal story into a larger presentation
  • Share your presentation for feedback and reflect on potential areas for further improvement


This is a hands-on course where you will develop your own personal story, integrate it into a larger presentation, and record it for feedback from your classmates. You’ll leave this course with a leadership presence framework, important storytelling tools, and a rehearsed presentation that can help you better connect with your audience and inspire change.

Format and Timing:

  • Team-Based Course: We strongly encourage (but do not require) that you form a team of 2-8 people to take the course with. It works best to find friends or coworkers who can meet in person. Need to find team members? You can post to the discussion forums a month before the course starts.
  • Platform: NovoEd (+Acumen developed the course. We host this course on the NovoEd platform.)
  • Timing: This course will be open for 8 weeks. You can work through the materials at your own pace during the time the course is open. There are no required times for you to log in. There will be suggested deadlines for you to complete each assignment. The final deadline is the final day of the course.

Course Syllabus

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  • 6 reading guides
  • 5 workshop guides to help you develop your story and practice the various skills of a storyteller
  • 15 videos featuring Ariel Group storytelling and leadership coach, Greta Cowan, and others
  • Supplemental resources
Section 1: Introduction to Storytelling
  • Video: Introduction to Storytelling
  • Video: Storytelling Example - Inspiring a Life of Immersion
  • Reading: Importance of Storytelling
  • Reading: Understand the Different Types of Stories
  • Activity: Life Map Exercise
  • Activity: Sharing Your Presentation Plan
Section 2: Storytelling and Leadership PRESence
  • Video & Reading: Introducing the PRESence model
  • Video: How to do an EQ Check-In
  • Video: Examples of Personal Stories
  • Reading: Leadership Presence Framework
  • Reading: Identifying Your Story
  • Activity: Reflecting on Leadership Presence
  • Activity: Share Your Personal Story
Section 3: Story Content, Form, and Expressiveness
  • Video: Storytelling Techniques
  • Video: Expressiveness in Storytelling
  • Reading: Techniques of the Storyteller
  • Reading: Expressiveness and Vocal Range
  • Activity: Practicing Your Expressiveness
  • Reading: Feedback Criteria for Storytelling
Section 4: Getting Ready to Present
  • Video: Demonstrating How to Integrate Your Story into a Presentation
  • Reading: Keeping Your Presentation Focused
  • Reading: Props and Visual Aids for Your Story
  • Reading: Relax, Breathe, and Involve Your Audience
  • Reading: Successful Presentation Structure
  • Activity: Audience, Goal, Benefit
Section 5: Putting it All Together
  • Video: Passionate Purpose Demonstration
  • Video: Effective Body Language Demonstration
  • Reading: Passionate Purpose
  • Reading: Body Language
  • Reading: Rehearsal Techniques
  • Activity: Passionate Purpose Exercises
  • Activity: Rehearse and Present
Section 6: Reflect and Look Forward
  • Reading: Building a Personal “Library” of Stories
  • Activity: Develop a Personal Action Plan
The course already started. Can I still enroll?
You can enroll up to 2 weeks after the start date of the course.
When will the next course be offered?
We offer our courses a few times a year. Sign up for our emails to be notified of the next time the course will be offered.
Do I get a certificate for this course?
You will earn a Statement of Accomplishment if you complete 5 of 6 assignments, including the final assignment, by the last day of the course.
How do teams work?
We recommend you find friends or colleagues for your team that you can meet with in person each week. Each team member should register for the course individually. You’ll then be able to form your team on the NovoEd platform once the course begins.
Do I have to complete the course with a team?
While we believe taking the course with a team will give you the best experience and chance of completing the course, it is possible to complete the course individually if you wish.
What should I expect from the assignments?
You will create a Life Map, develop your own personal story, integrate it into a larger presentation, and record your presentation for feedback from your classmates. You should allocate at least one hour a week to complete each assignment.

Supported By

Ariel is a communication training company and registered B Corporation that empowers organizations to have true influence. Ariel believes that solving business challenges starts with improving strategic communication skills. Ariel's blended solutions leverage cutting-edge technology and experiential learning to ensure that people write, speak, and sell with impact and emotional intelligence. Ariel uses methods across our learning arch that ensure lasting change and drive business forward. Ariel's holistic approach to communications is trusted by clients across the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Ariel has worked with Acumen staff and fellows since 2008.

What People Are Saying

Mario Ferro, Co-Founder of Wedu

"After participating in the course, we made a deliberate decision to abandon our old style and to fill our presentations with stories, and that totally changed the perspective and emotional reaction of the audience."

Mario Ferro, Co-Founder of Wedu