Storytelling workshop & training with master business storyteller Jordan Bower

“Most people think that business storytelling is about talking about your product or your brand or your project or your strategy while your audience listens passively. What I do helps my clients dig deeper. I help them ask questions like: What’s the essence of what you want to get across? How is that going to resonate in the inner world of your audience? What’s getting in the way of the story you want to tell? Engagement and impact is built on a smart foundation of strategy, clarity and emotional connection. That’s what my business storytelling workshop helps your team achieve.

Jordan Bower,
Creativity & Business Storytelling Consultant

Business Storytelling Workshop:
Next-Level Training for Teams

Business Storytelling Workshops: Selected Past Clients

Hi, I’m Jordan Bower. I’ve spent many years helping companies become more impactful in their communication.

I call it business storytelling, but I mean is something very different than “telling a story” while an audience listens passively.

Business storytelling is about finding the balance between informational clarity, emotional resonance and strategic intent.

By looking through the lens of business storytelling, we learn to ask more thoughtful questions about what we are trying to accomplish through our communication with clients or stakeholders.

Asking these deeper questions helps our clients clarify their strategy—and discover practical and innovative techniques that will improve their overall impact.

Many people come to business storytelling looking for a technique or a framework. We like to explain that good communication is like surgery. A sharper scalpel certainly helps, but what you really want is a sharper surgeon.

To be genuinely engaging, one has to learn to convey and elicit real emotions. The secret to doing this well is an inner shift that enables someone to apply the technique with dynamism and authenticity—in their own style.

My business storytelling workshops helps teams make this shift, delivering practical techniques to integrate them back into their real working environments.

This workshop goes well beyond a training. It helps clients work with the root cause, addressing change resistence directly and generating new excitement for growth.

I’d love to tell you more:

“Jordan knows his stuff inside and out, and he communicates it wonderfully.”

Digging Deeper:
Understanding the Thinking Behind
a Business Storytelling Workshop

Business Transformation Consultant Jordan Bower
That’s me leading a business storytelling workshop at Culture First in San Francisco.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone in an organization spoke with total clarity all the time? And wouldn’t it be great if everyone in an organization was completely in touch with the company’s purpose, their team’s purpose, their role’s purpose, and—let’s just go for it all here—their life’s purpose as well? And wouldn’t it be really great if, even in a world of massive volatility and imperfect information, everyone in an organization could address complicated and difficult conversations with their colleagues, customers and stakeholders with calm, rationality and high emotional EQ?

It would be great. And it probably isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

In the real world of business, we all have to deal with changing agendas and shifting priorities. With sudden shifts in the external marketplace—or inside the company’s inner world. We all have to deal with the sophistication of human dynamics, and all the emotions and stories and confusion that can create.

In that dynamic, volatile and human environment, we need to step beyond the limiting language given to us by the old world of business and find new, creative and more impactful ways to talk about our work—and why it’s important.

This vision is what’s behind my business storytelling workshop.

Master storyteller Jordan Bower delivers a business storytelling workshop

When I first started delivering business storytelling workshops—way back in 2013—I approached the content like a corporate trainer. My clients made it clear what they wanted: clear, easy-to-understand techniques that would generate concrete deliverables. So I got to it.

I designed fancy slide decks. I developed clear frameworks. I even had a few cute acronyms. I tried to simplify business storytelling into a straightforward process that anyone could follow. I took this storytelling workshop on the road, delivering it in New York, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver, Paris, Kuala Lumpur, and Bangkok. I worked with tech companies, government agencies, and non-profits. I worked with sales teams, marketing teams, leadership teams and change managers. Once, I even trained some leaders of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Slowly, I began to understand that technique wasn’t the problem. Everyone kept asking me: what’s the secret to being engaging? What’s the secret to being inspiring? I was scared of telling them the real answer because it was so simple:

The secret to being engaging is to be engaged.

The secret to being inspiring is to be inspired.

Everyone was asking me for a trick—some simple structured technique that would work with all of their stakeholders, all of the time.

Did I really want to tell them that they were asking for the wrong thing?

Of course not. So I kept right on designing fancy slide decks and developing cute acronyms. My business grew. I delivered nearly a hundred business storytelling workshops that gave my clients exactly what they were asking for.

But I always had the niggling feeling that there was a better way.

What is great business storytelling after all? We know it when we see it. We can point to charismatic leaders, from politicians like Barack Obama or Martin Luther King Jr. to visionary CEOs like Indra Nooyi and Steve Jobs to the celebrities and influencers that we engage with daily on Instagram, YouTube and TikTok.

So how do they do it? We can analyze the tactics these people use in order to express their charisma. But the simplest truth is that charisma is the ability to inspire emotions in our audience.

To do this genuinely, one has to be able to convey and elicit real emotions. You can’t just say the buzzwords like purpose and belonging and engagement without actually bringing in the feelings behind these words. A purposeful message has to feel purposeful. A message that aims to inspire belonging must resonate with the feeling of belonging. Engaging messages must actually engage.

I could see that learning all the theory and the tactics in the world wouldn’t actually change how my clients’ communicated. Sure, they could say the right things. But if what they said was intelligent without emotion, it would be informational rather than inspirational.

I was scared to make the change. But eventually I found the courage to shift my content, and I haven’t looked back.

Facilitating a business storytelling workshop. Jordan Bower
Facilitating my new business storytelling workshop

How the Storytelling Workshop is Structured

There are three goals to my business storytelling workshop:

  1. To help teams understand the rationale of business storytelling, so they can be motivated to use it
  2. To help teams understand the structures of business storytelling, so they can apply it practically to the stories they tell to clients and stakeholders
  3. To help teams move through an emotional shift, so that they can improve their ability to convey real emotions in their messages—in a dynamic and authentic way

To help my clients accomplish these goals, I use a sophisticated approach that often stretches their definition of a “training”. I don’t just share a bunch of theory and rules and frameworks about how they should be communicating.

Instead, my teaching style is much more experiential.

Business storytelling is the balance between informational clarity, emotional resonance and strategic intent.

The main outcome of my workshop is to teach teams a process. I want to show them how to take something that’s purely informational and adjust the levers until it becomes more engaging, effective and impactful.

This process can apply to any kind of story produced by any organizational team. For example:

  • A sales team can apply the learnings to the way they pitch their prospects
  • A marketing team can apply the learnings to the way they write their website copy or design their social media campaigns
  • An executive team can apply the learnings to the way they position their strategic vision to their employees or the way they position their company in the marketplace
  • A change management team can apply the learnings to the way they send emails describing the progress of a transformation project
  • A people and culture team can apply the learnings to the way they write their job postings
  • A team of individual leaders can apply the learnings to the way they communicate their objectives up and down the organizational structures

Everyone in the organization can take what they will learn in a business storytelling workshop and apply it directly to their work.

We accomplish this by focusing on the storytelling process. At the beginning of the workshop, every participant chooses a real story that they will work on improving.

We always start with what I call a “perfessional” story. A perfessional story is a true, 2-3 min story about oneself that one feels comfortable sharing in a professional environment. These are the kinds of stories that someone might use to introduce themselves to their colleagues or stakeholders: short, punchy, engaging and just vulnerable enough to break the ice and develop a genuine connection.

Here’s an example of what I have in mind with one of these perfessional stories.

Of course, most people won’t have a TED-talk ready story in their back pocket. So the first part of the workshop is all about how to take a boring, mundane part of our lives and turn it into something that a stranger would want to learn about.

We do that by:

  • Introducing the basic theory of great storytelling. (I call this The Three Levels of Story.)
  • Watching and reviewing best practice examples. (I always draw examples that are relevant to the group. For example, marketing examples for marketers. Leadership examples for leaders. Sales examples for sales teams.)
  • Discussing the ideas as a group in a facilitated conversation. (This keeps the content fresh—and keeps everyone engaged.)
In a storytelling workshop, I always arrange the chairs in a circle to facilitate greater conversation and connection.

But I don’t just want to tell people what great storytelling looks like. So, throughout the day, I lead people through a straightforward storytelling exercise:

  • Everyone splits into pairs. (No one needs to tell their story to the whole group.)
  • I set a timer and tell the group to start.
  • The first person tells their perfessional story for three minutes. (Half of the group is speaking to their partner at once.)
  • I ring a bell.
  • The second person tells their perfessional story for three minutes. (Now the other half of the group is speaking.)
  • I ring a bell.
  • Both people give their partner feedback by answering several structured questions that I will give to them.

We do this exercise several times over the first part of the day. Each time, people switch partners but they tell the same story.

This gives participants the opportunity to take what they are learning and integrate it directly into their real story. Along the way, we all discuss the learnings and challenges that come when our perspectives start to change.

This exercise always leaves a team feeling closer and more connected. That’s great: but that’s not really the point. The point is to be more effective in their workplace communication—to drive more efficiency, engagement and impact.

So the second part of the workshop helps people take these new ideas and apply them to their real business storytelling.

We start the second part of the workshop by assessing a real piece of team storytelling. This might be a video, a Powerpoint deck, a way a product is positioned, a strategic narrative, an article or marketing. It’s always different—and highly customized to that particular group. (Don’t worry, I can help you pick the right one.)

Using what we’ve just learned, we look back at this content with new eyes.

What works about it? What doesn’t? How might it be improved?

By learning to think in terms of the balance between informational clarity, emotional resonance and strategic intent, participants don’t just get sharper tools. They learn how to be sharper surgeons

The rest of the workshop is focused on integration and change. I help teams do this in a number of ways that are customized dynamically according to their needs:

  • Some teams want to workshop their real stories, so they can achieve results instantly. (I have a series of exercises that helps them do this in a structured and practical way.)
  • Other teams use the second half of the workshop to envision new and creative ways to get their message across. (The content from the workshop helps them solve this problem from a new perspective.)
  • Some teams want to repeat the paired storytelling exercise so they can continue to practice with their professional stories, not their perfessional ones.
  • Others want to address the implications from a change in story—who needs to give them permission and what they are able to do with their limited resources.

This last part of the workshop is always dynamic and creative, as teams stretch into new ideas. My job as a facilitator is to get the ideas flowing, and to help teams proactively address change resistance.

The outcomes to a storytelling workshop are substantial and creative:

By the end of the workshop, participants will:

  • Shift their perspective on what business storytelling is, which will make them feel more capable of using it
  • Understand how storytelling applies to the business messages they send and communicate every day
  • Generate new ideas about how they can get their message across—and have a richer sense of what’s blocking them from doing it effectively
  • Feel more confident and creative about their own personal skillsets, and more connected to their team
  • Have a clear and practical sense of exactly what they should do next.

That’s a lot to deliver in just one or two days—and I know how to do it.

I’d love to tell you much more about how a business storytelling workshop can help your team.

Learn more about who I work with

I help executive change agents find a new creative vision for their organization—and then help them fully integrate the change across their operations both functionally and emotionally.

Storytelling workshop & training with master business storyteller Jordan Bower

I help functional teams develop next-level communications skills like authenticity and leadership storytelling—clarifying their message and empowering them to step beyond “the way it’s always been done” so they can be more dynamic and impactful.

I help founders, entrepreneurs, and other ascendant leaders find their own voice—and guide them to use it practically and productively to spread their leadership messages.

Get more information about a business storytelling workshop