Storytelling for Change

Storytelling for Change

The registration for this course is currently closed.  Please join our ‘Watchlist’ and we’ll email you when registration opens for our next session.

Storytelling for Change is a 6 module course that will help you better connect with your audience, whether in a meeting with one person or in a presentation to hundreds of people. To make this course widely accessible, it is free.

Acumen and The Ariel Group have created a hands-on course to help you develop your practical skills as a storyteller. Whether you work in an office making presentations in the boardroom, as a teacher with 30 to 300 students, interacting with customers, or one-on-one with individuals, using the elements of story bring you closer to your audience.

Acumen believes that storytelling is an essential tool for changing the way the world tackles poverty because it starts with changing conversations around what we see, hear, feel and know to be true. Change leaders see the world’s potential, and tell powerful stories that inspire action.

You'll Love This Course If:

  • You make lots of presentations, or you want to get better at them.
  • You are a teacher, facilitator or instructor.
  • You think you don’t have any stories (we’ll bring them out of you!).
  • You want a new way of connecting with people (great for networking!).
  • You’re interviewing for jobs and want a strong way of presenting yourself.
  • You want to change your communication style.
  • You just want to have fun!

Our Learning Partner

In developing this course, Acumen is excited to partner with The Ariel Group. The Ariel Group has trained Acumen’s Global Fellows in storytelling for the past five years. Drawing on the same exercises performers use, the Ariel Group training builds critical skills in the areas of leadership development, communication skills, team building, change management, and coaching and development. More information can be found at

What You'll Learn

By the end of this course, you will:

  • Be confident in using stories, especially personal stories, as a part of your communication toolkit.
  • Know how to tell stories and use a specific set of storytelling skills so that you connect with the hearts and minds of your audience.
  • Have developed, rehearsed, and received feedback on one personal story as a replicable model so that you can build a personal ‘library’ or ‘back pocket’ of stories that can be used in different situations.
  • Be able to use a 5-step process to integrate story into presentations for change, work or many other situations.

How The Course Works

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course. You will work through the course with a group of classmates we call your “lab group”.  If you want to take this course individually, please actively participate in the online forum to make up for the group discussion experience with your lab group.  Please see FAQ for more information on groups.

Course content will consist of readings, online videos and discussions/activities. Each week, you will receive:

  • Lab prep (1-2 hours): To be completed individually before your lab group meets (in person or virtually)
  • Lab guide (typically 2 hours): To be used with your group during your lab.
  • We ask your group to choose a rotating lab facilitator for each week. He/she will need to pre-read the guide, and the discussion/activities are to be completed together with the rest of your lab group when you meet.

If you are taking this in a group, we encourage everyone to coordinate with your group members to schedule all of your labs in advance (for this course, there should be 6 times) to stay on schedule and complete the course in time.

Each week you will also be encouraged to practice your new storytelling skills and make sure you are able to transfer your knowledge into action.  Remember the age-old saying:

“Words are mere bubbles of water, deeds are drops of gold.”

Frequently Asked Questions

Do my group members need to be in the same location?

We recommend signing up with a group that is all physically located in the same place. Much of the value of this course derives from the in-person, peer-to-peer learning that happens between group members. With that said, we have had groups cover many of the labs over Skype or Google+ hangouts so it is possible to have a remote group.

Remember, all members of your group need to individually register for this course.

What is the ideal size for my group?

We generally recommend a group of 3 to 5 individuals. If your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and share/practice individual storytelling skills together.

What happens if I don’t know anyone yet but want to be in a group?

There are several options for you.

1) you are located in one of the city Acumen chapters is located at, the chapter might be able to help you get connected with other individuals.

2) You can also try the Meetup Everywhere for +Acumen site to set up a meetup.

3) You can recruit your colleagues, friends, community members, family to take the course together.

4) You can wait for the instruction in Week 1, which will include suggestions on group formation online.

Is there a set class schedule every week?

No, the time in which you review the prep material each week is up to you. We will give you estimates but please adjust accordingly. Similarly, the time you choose to meet with your lab group each week is a decision between you and your group. So it’s a good idea to consider all your availability when forming a group.

We set the schedule regarding what topic to cover each week but you are free to meet with your group within each week whenever it is convenient for the group. Since we are offering this course globally, across different time zones, it isn’t realistic to deliver the content at a specific time; therefore, we will e-mail each week’s material out on a certain day of each week and within the next seven days you are expected to review the prep material and meet your group to complete that week’s lab. Instructions and suggested schedule will be provided once this course opens up for registration again.

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

The course is really for you and your own personal development; therefore, you will get as much out of this course as you put in.  We will provide an acknowledgement of participation for individuals that complete all 6 weeks of the course and complete all the course surveys and reports. The instruction will be provided in your Week 1 material.

More questions?

Please contact Tomoko at

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