Click here to get your free copy of my 7 Simple Story Prompts

A story within a story

A technique that can take your storytelling to another level is using one story to set up another. In other words, to tell a story within a story.

I recently heard speaker John Stapleton, co-founder of The Covent Garden Soup Company do this with great effect.

He began by telling an evocative and emotional story from when he was 6 years old when he learned that when things go wrong it’s not the end, you just start again. By the end of this story, he’d engaged his audience fully.

He then went on to outline the history of his company and how he had to apply what he’d learnt from the earlier story more than once, before taking us back to his childhood to make the link and to bring his presentation full circle.

What lessons have you learned from a specific previous event that you continue to apply in your business?

How can you bring those stories into your presentations?


Need some help with this? Book a call to see how I can help.





Continue Reading...

How tuned in are you?

Sharing stories helps you connect with your audience – to a point, that is.


Sometimes though, no matter how relatable you might think you are being, the gap between where you are and where your audience is remains too big. It’s too hard for them to put themselves into your story when they have zero experience of your world.


If your story is about the challenges of living within a jet set life of glamour when your audience inhabits a world of basic survival you risk creating too wide a gap between where you are now and where they are, however much they might want to bridge that gap.


So start where your audience is. Find out more about them, their levels of knowledge, the worlds they live in, etc. and choose stories that match that.


So yes, stories will help you connect but make sure they’re the right stories.


And if you need help with finding those stories, let’s have a chat.



Want help in finding your stories? I...

Continue Reading...

You've made my day

Are you one of those people that others open up to and share their life stories, whether you ask them to or not?

It frequently happens to me.

On a recent morning walk, I found myself chatting with a complete stranger.

He seemed keen to talk and shared a lot of his personal story. In truth he wasn’t in a good place so for the most part I listened and reflected.

Imagine my surprise when as we parted company he thanked me for making his day!

I thought about why that might have been.

Simply letting him talk probably helped.

With a counselling background, I knew how hard depression is, for both the person suffering and those around them so he probably felt understood.

I was familiar with several of the techniques he was using to improve his life and could tell him about other people I knew who’d successfully used those techniques so he probably felt validated.

I’ll never know – but I know that I made his day.

Encouraging people to share their stories as a means of...

Continue Reading...

Is it drizzling or pouring?

How many different ways can you think of to describe rain?


Here are just a few:

  • Drizzling;
  • spitting;
  • raining steadily;
  • pouring;
  • tipping it down;
  • chucking it down;
  • p***ing it down;
  • bucketing down;
  • raining cats and dogs


The English language is a wonderful thing and most of the above give a clear idea of how heavily it’s raining – but if you use them to set the scene in your story, will your audience know what they mean?


If they’re not native English speakers, possibly not.


While I’m not suggesting you stop using descriptive language to bring your stories to life, you do need to think about using language that can be understood.


If you really want to use a colloquial phrase, think about using body language and vocal expression to convey the message.


Think about your audience and find out if there will be non-native speakers among them.


(PS French speakers use ‘…comme une vache qui pisse.’ How...

Continue Reading...

Nurturing your audience

‘I loved how you told that story. I felt like a child at nursery school being read to, feeling all warm and cosy. It was wonderful!’


That’s what stories do. They make the listener feel warm and cosy and much more drawn to you than when you just share information. Stories transport listeners to a much more comfortable place.


To emphasise the point, this was feedback a client had after adding a story to a business presentation at her networking group. They already knew what she did and had heard her speak about it before – but this time it was different. She had added a personal story. Nothing earth shattering – but a personal story about how she helped a client.


You too can achieve that difference in response from your audience – and if you need any help with finding or crafting those stories then please get in touch.

Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and speaker coach...

Continue Reading...

A bit of history

How often do you think about your family history and whether it’s similar or different from your life now?


I hardly ever do so I thought I’d share a bit of it here. You can decide for yourself whether you find it interesting and whether sharing some of yours might also be a valuable thing to do.


Both my parents were born to working class country people, my Mum one of 11 children and my Dad an only child. Money was scarce on both sides and most of their fruit and veg was home grown by my respective Grandads.


One Grandad was forester, and the other a taxi driver, driving a horse and trap instead of a car.


My parents met making Spitfires during the war. My Mum could never understand why that was interesting.


What parts of your family history would let your audience know more about you?


To find out how I can help with pulling out some of that history, get in touch and let’s have a chat.


Continue Reading...

Making every word count

Hands up if you enjoyed doing precis at school....


At the time I hated it but I’ve more recently realised how useful it is to me now, in honing my message.


Over the summer I dusted off some pieces I’d written but never used. I wanted to shorten them and there’s nothing like an exercise like that for gaining real clarity about your message.


The first edit was around what’s relevant or not to the key point. Then it was about how to say the same thing in a more succinct way.


I apply the same principle to these weekly tips. In case you haven’t noticed, they’re never more than 150 words.


It’s something I help my clients do when it comes to gaining clarity of message in their talks and presentations too. So often less is more.


Let me know if you’d like my help with this. Get in touch to arrange a chat.


Rachel Maunder is a communication skills and...

Continue Reading...

A favourite place

Do you have a favourite place? Perhaps more than one?


And what on earth does that have to do with promoting your business?


By sharing your insights on some of your favourite places and why tells your audience something about you. Do you like the bustle of a city, or a secluded island beach, or is somewhere from your childhood dear to your heart?


It doesn’t even need to be a specific location but might be some thing like the bow of a ship in a storm, the quiet and cool of a place of worship or the buzz of a busy market.


Just giving your reflections on anywhere does the job and of course at a later date you can write or speak about somewhere else. What does need to be genuine are those reflections because they’re the window to you, the person behind the business persona.


‘Your favourite place’ is just one of over 100 prompts you’ll find in my Story Prompt Cards and Story Journal.

To get the other 99 check the cards and...

Continue Reading...

Mind your language

Have you noticed how different groups and organisations have their in-phrases that everybody uses, that don’t mean much at all to others outside the group?


During my time as Cabin Crew, one of our in-questions was ‘Are you going or have you been?’ meaning, are you about to go out on a trip of have you just arrived home.


When stopped for speeding on the airport perimeter road by a policeman and asked where I was going, my default reply was ‘I’m not going anywhere. I’ve just been.’


‘Now we must be going somewhere, mustn’t we?’ he said, in that semi-amused semi condescending way police officers often have.


He clearly didn’t know Air Crew speak.


Back on sensible street, the conversation continued and I was allowed on my way with a warning.


It’s the same when you’re addressing an audience. Make sure that your phrases and language match theirs. If they’re not in...

Continue Reading...

Creating connections

Within less than a minute of small talk with a prospective client, I learned that she’s game for an adventure such as kayaking, is married to someone she enjoys spending time with and has children.


I learnt that because she told me how she’d spent her weekend.


As it happens, I’m also someone who’s game for things like kayaking so we’re already resonating with each other at a different level. We created a meaningful connection.


And that’s what sharing information about yourself can do.


Even if you shy away from sharing stories as such, just letting your audience take a peek into your world tells them something about you, about the things you like to do and about your lifestyle and that’s what can create connection.


People like to work with people they relate to and can have that connection with – so how can you take more of yourself to your business?




Why not a book a call with me...

Continue Reading...
1 2

Sign up for our Newsletter

We send out weekly tips and let you know of any offers available. We certainly do not spam you and you are free to unsubscribe at any time.