Storytelling for Change

Storytelling for Change is a 6 module course that will teach you storytelling techniques for how to be a better public speaker and connect with your audience whether you’re in a meeting with one person or in a presentation to hundreds of people. Acumen and The Ariel Group have created a hands-on course to help you develop your 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, knowing how to tell a story in a compelling way will 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 the 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.

EN ESPAÑOL: Ahora ofrecemos el curso”Contar Historias para El Cambio” en español también y puede incribirse por este link.   Si sus otros colegas o amigos desean incribirse, favor de compartir el link con ellos:

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

storytellingIn 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.

Course Outline

Module 1: Introduction to the Course

  • Become familiar with the structure of this course
  • Reflect to understand why storytelling is a powerful tool to help you communicate your change initiatives and influence other people
  • Use the Life Map exercise to understand where you are today by looking at where you have been, and where you might want to go next

Module 2: Storytelling and Leadership Presence

  • Understand the “Leadership Presence” model, a powerful framework to support not only your storytelling skills, but your leadership skills in general
  • Become familiar with the “checking-in” process for your team discussion
  • Identify the content of your story that you will use to practice in this course

Module 3: Story Content, Form and Expressiveness

  • Practice developing and editing the content of your story
  • Understand how to use present tense, sensory language, play different roles/characters and use bullet phrases
  • Practice telling the story with congruent expressiveness

Module 4: Getting Ready to Present

  • Understand how to introduce the story and its learning message into a presentation
  • Understand how to analyze your audience and identify your goal of your presentation
  • Begin thinking about what props or visuals you will use to support your story

Module 5: Putting it All Together

  • Understand the concept of Passionate Purpose (or intention) and how to “score” your presentation for impact
  • Understand the importance of your body language in storytelling and presenting your change message
  • Practice your story/presentation and have it ready for others to review

Module 6: Reflect and Look Forward

  • Review your progress in this course and synthesize what you have learned
  • Understand how you could explore other types of stories
  • Reflect on how you will continue to develop your Leadership Presence and storytelling skills in the future

How The Course Works

There are no in-person teachers or facilitators for this course, but we will have technical and subject matter experts available to assist you online.

We strongly encourage you to go through the course with a group of 2-4 other individuals. This course can be taken individually, but we believe your learning will be further enriched in a group. You can either (1) invite your friends/colleagues to take this course with you or (2) Join and participate in the course forum to find other learners to be in your group (we will provide instructions in Module 1).

Course content will consist of short videos, readings and exercises. It is important that you have a presentation you want to make in mind — the course is titled ‘Storytelling for Change’.

Frequently Asked Questions

Will a certificate be awarded upon completion of the course?

We will provide a Statement of Accomplishment for individuals that complete all requirements.

If I take this course in a group, 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 group discussions 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 2 to 5 individuals. If your group is too big, it can be more difficult to coordinate schedules and conduct group sessions together for all of the modules.

How much does it cost to take this course?

It’s Free!

Are there any prerequisites for taking this course?

This is an introductory course and there are no prerequisites.

What are the technical requirements?

This course will be provided by a platform called NovoEd. Please review NovoEd Technical Requirements and Browser Compatibility’. They have additional information on Mobile Compability and Low-Bandwidth Support.

You need a computer that allows you to watch videos through this platform, download our course materials (PDF reading) and the ability to upload your assignments.

More questions?

Please contact

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Community Stories

  • Marica Rizzo

    Vancouver, Canada | "Storytelling for Change"

    After participating in the course, we made a deliberate decision to abandon our old presentation style 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?

    Read More

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