Storytelling for Change: Create a Winning Presentation. Change the World.

By Marica Rizzo on January 10, 2014

At +Acumen, our goal is to share tools that can help unleash the full potential of all the aspiring social change leaders in our community. We believe that storytelling is a critical leadership skill and are excited to collaborate with The Ariel Group to offer a 6-week online course, Storytelling for Change, that is free and open to all. Register by January 14 to join the course. Here’s a story from Marica Rizzo, one of our former course participants. 

Wedu is a social enterprise started by 2011 Acumen Global Fellow Mario Ferro. As a member of the Wedu team, I joined Mario in many pitch competitions. We were participating in these competitions as a source of funding, but also as a great resource to learn and meet experts and mentors to help with the growth of the organization.

We had made it into the finals of the  Women Deliver Conference ‘Global Solution for Women Social Enterprise Challenge’ in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and we were beyond excited. This was a conference that would host over 5000 delegates and boast a speaking list that included Melinda Gates and Chelsea Clinton, not to mention many heads of state and even royalty.

So – we wanted to bring our best. Better than our best.

And that’s when the Storytelling for Change course came in. The timing of the course was perfect, and what we learned – invaluable.

After participating in the course, we made a deliberate decision to abandon our old presentation style that was filled with charts, graphs, and ‘business speak’ and to fill our presentation with the stories of our experiences and lessons learned, while intertwining the key messages and metrics into the flow of the presentation.

The result? Mario explains it perfectly:

“The competition at Women Deliver was the first time we decided to present Wedu through the stories of four incredible women that we work with; mentor, mentee, volunteers and Education Angels – and that totally changed the perspective and emotional reaction of the audience. The engagement was so much higher. I think it is important to make sure to pass along the business information that the audience needs, but storytelling offers a more engaging way to pass on the same content. We did it again in another setting in Bangkok and it worked again. We are now convinced that telling stories is the best way to share Wedu’s business model, even the most technical parts of it, in a way that any audience can relate to and therefore understand.”

Later that afternoon, Wedu was named the Top Global Solution for Women and I truly attribute the success of our presentation to the skills I learned in the Storytelling for Change course.

You can watch the presentation I gave with one of the Wedu Rising Stars here.

Marica, talks about the lessons Wedu has learned along the way, and the opportunities for further improvement

Marica, talks about the lessons Wedu has learned along the way, and the opportunities for further improvement

If you’re interested in working on your presentation skills, I would highly recommend this course. Just remember to register by January 14! You can do so here.

 

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