For you, new and popular

An edit of newly added resources and those proving consistently popular among our partners' teams.
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Book Club: New Methods for Women — With Sharmadean Reid MBE
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Raul Aparici on mitigating impostor syndrome
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Kate and Catherine on pausing, for conversational space
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Kate and Catherine on intentional listening
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Kate and Catherine on questioning well
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Worksheet: Time Blocking
Worksheet
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Kate and Catherine on the coaching opportunity
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Matteo's coaching reflections
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Kas's reflections on listening and questioning well
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Time Blocking, and bringing some colour into your calendar
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Worksheet: Owning Feedback
Worksheet
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Making the case for situational flexibility as leaders
Video
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eCourse: Difficult Conversations
eCourse
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Mentors, Sponsors and Champions. With Abi Adamson
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Effective Allyship. With Abi Adamson
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What's your Privilege Pledge? With Abi Adamson
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Diversify your feed. With Abi Adamson
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Privilege reflections. With Abi Adamson
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Mindful toothbrushing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Anchor dropping. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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5,4,3,2,1 — a mindfulness technique. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Urge surfing. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Everyday mindfulness. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Making room for emotions (and the weather). With Dr. Sam Akbar
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Letting go of emotions. With Dr. Sam Akbar
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How do you notice your thoughts? With Dr. Sam Akbar
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A coaching conversation around strengths
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eCourse: Confidence Mastery
eCourse
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Daniel Goleman's Six Leadership Styles, explained by Louise Hedges
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eCourse: Mastering Delegation
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eCourse: Time Management and Prioritisation
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eCourse: Get SET with your Goals
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Perspectives on privilege, with Abi Adamson
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Neurodivergent Perspectives Lexi Keegan in conversation with Dr Anne Cockayne low
Neurodivergent Perspectives. Lexi Keegan in conversation with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how: The Spiky Profile explained
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Neurodiversity explained, with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neuroinclusion at work: Thinking about adjustments
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Neurodiversity know-how. Autism with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how. ADHD with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Neurodiversity know-how. Dyslexia with Dr. Anne Cockayne
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Rest
Micro-learning: Setting Better Boundaries
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eCourse: Practicing a Coaching Approach
Meetings
Finding fortitude, and follow on experiments
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eCourse: Conscious Inclusion
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Seven things to avoid when writing at work
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Share genuinely useful feedback with the BID model
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Solve problems before they happen with pre-mortems
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Five tactics for influencing those more senior
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Five powerful questions for adding impact and insight to your next interview.
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Try out the CAR technique, and upgrade your understanding when interviewing someone.
Good Qs
Smart ways to frame questions in your next mentoring session
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Try the 5 Whys to invigorate your problem solving and add depth to your decisions.
Allyship CP
Course Pack: Effective Allyship, with Abi Adamson
VCR
Course Pack: Voice Gym. Building your vocal confidence
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A three minute mindset exercise, to support a coaching approach
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Try this deep listening exercise for deeper connection and better conversations
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Experiment with the BRAIN model for confident decision making and problem solving
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Discover the impact a five minute favour can have on your relationships, and network building
Homework
Homework for Life: A ten-second daily ritual for noticing, capturing and practicing stories
LWS
Course Pack: Storytelling
Do Story
Practical storytelling principles from Bobette Buster's book — Do: Story
Mentorsqarer
Evolve your 'inner mentor' — a short reflective exercise to focus your development, and the ways you can better support others
Spring
Experiment with a Springboard Story to communicate your change idea, and take people with you towards it.
N Ngrab
Course Pack: Natural Networking
TP
Tone Policing - What it is, why it's unhelpful and how to helpfully notice it.
Coaching Criticism
Find the Coaching in Criticism. Things to try when feedback doesn't quite land
4 Ds
The 4Ds. A practical framework for acknowledging microaggressions
Breathman
Mindful breathing — the foundation of focus and flow
Fly
Channel that fly on the wall. Try some purposeful self talk to mitigate moments of doubt
Friction
Add some friction to your most common distractions
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Build belief by recognising small wins — Try a 'Done List'
Silent Meeting
Make your next meeting a Silent Meeting
Can If Go
Immediately build your confidence, with a 'Can-If' statement
To Think
Don't forget to diarise thinking time — experiment with a 'To Think' list
Setback
Smarten your approach to setbacks, by trying out a Setback Story
CLAP
Get clear on control with a Clarity Clap
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Everything I Know about Life I Learned from PowerPoint — What we learned and where it led...
Circlestwo
How to be a meaningful mentor, insights from a purposeful podcast
If Then New
Design (and share) your If > Then statements, for a purposefully prompt towards action
Orange
Practice the principles of persuasion from 'Godfather of Influence,' Robert Cialdini.
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Six steps for finding focus and flow, with Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in mind
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Course Pack: Making Time
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Great questions to ask in coaching conversations, 1-1's and other curious contexts

Practical storytelling principles from Bobette Buster's book — Do: Story

Bobette's punchy and enlightening publication Do: Story is a goldmine of practical pointers for storytelling at work, in presentations, in any and all contexts. Here, alongside her 10 core principles for successful storytelling, we share some lateral thinking of our own and five key takeaways from the book for you to experiment with.
Do Story

In Do Story: How to tell your story so the world listens, Bobette Buster — lecturer, writer and script consultant to Pixar, Disney and Sony — lays bare a brilliant practical blueprint for effective storytelling. Alongside touching, insightful and entertaining stories of her own, she steps out the importance of vulnerability, emotional connection and sensory memory to connect with and inspire an audience.

Keeping to Bobette’s philosophy of Handing over the spark, we’ve shared five takeaways from the book, alongside her 10 principles for storytelling and some lateral resources and further thinking of our own, for you to experiment with in any context that a story's called for.

Bobette Buster’s 10 Principles of Storytelling

  1. Tell the story as if you’re telling it to a friend

  2. Set the GPS: give it a time, a place, an era

  3. Use active verbs: spice up your verb choices but keep them succinct.

  4. Juxtapose: take two ideas, images, or thoughts and place them together to create a whole new idea

  5. Gleaming detail: find an ordinary moment or object that best embodies the essence of the story

  6. ‘Hand over the Spark’: reflect on the experience or idea that actively captivates you and hand it to your audience as if it were aflame

  7. Be vulnerable: dare to show the emotion of your story

  8. Tune in to sense memory: use description of taste, smell, sight, sound and touch to forge a deeper connection with your audience

  9. Bring yourself: ‘a story is as much about you as anything else'

  10. Let go: hand over your story. Build it to an emotional punchline and leave the audience wanting more

Digging deeper

Here are some expanded insights, lateral to and building on the points above, with links to other relevant ideas and memorable resources within the platform.

1
Create an emotional connection

Stories provide the basic human need of connection. And to really emotionally connect with an audience you need to be vulnerable. Vulnerability shows trust and faith in your audience and your message, and sends an open, irresistible invitation to empathise.

Remember, you’re taking the audience on a journey with you, and they want to know every step of your emotional journey, as well as what action you took.

👉 When you’re building the story, take a moment to reflect on your emotional journey. Weave it into your plot points. What happened? How did that make you feel? What did you do?

2
Set the scene, stimulate the senses

Vulnerability is the best way to draw an audience into the emotional world of the story, but what about the physical world surrounding it?

The time and place surrounding emotions sets the stage for the story to really shine. So be sure to ‘Set the ‘GPS,’ - the time, the place, the era. The more specific you are about the surrounding world, the better.

Another important tool for connecting with an audience and drawing them into the world of the story is through sense and sense memory. What were you hearing? Tasting? Feeling? Seeing? Smelling? As Bobette says “a sensory retelling of a story will help your audience to ‘feel’ it and, if the sense is particularly evocative, allow it to linger long after the telling has ended.”

👉 Where and when does your story take place? What sense is strongest in this world? What sights or sounds did you hear and see? How will you weave these into your story? It's a belief advocated for by Stephen Denning in his 'Springboard Story' framework too — more on that here.

3
Tell the story as if telling it to a friend

You want the message, the emotional core, and the world of the story to shine. Using ‘multisyllabic, erudite, four-dollar words,’ as Bobette calls them, muddies your message.

Wherever, however and whenever you are telling your story, tell it like you would to a friend. Keep the language simple, and lean into the active tense; ‘she is fired,’ rather than ‘she was fired’. It illustrates a journey - the journey you’re taking your audience on.

Try, as much as possible, to use strong, punchy, ‘Hemingway,’ verbs - for example ‘sprint,’ ‘dash,’ or ‘charge,’ rather than simply ‘ran’.

👉 What ‘four dollar words,’ in your story could you swap out for something simpler? What ‘Hemingway,’ verbs could you use in place of less vivid ones? Copywriting maestro Steve Harrison has something to say on this too.

4
The Journey

Bobette references the story of Yvon Chouinard, the founder of clothing brand Patagonia and the first man to climb Yosemite’s El Capitan. In the 1960’s, Chouinard and his best friend decided to climb Argentina’s Mount Fitz Roy; a perilous mountain that had only been ‘beaten’ twice before. But halfway to the summit, a deadly blizzard hit. Rather than head home, they spent 31 days huddled together in a snow cave, living on rations, before the storm cleared and they could reach the peak. When they got there, they watched the view for just 20 minutes before beginning their descent. ‘How we climbed the mountain was more important than reaching the top,’ said Chouinard.

The ending of your story is really important, but the obstacles you faced, the choices you made, and the road those choices led you down on IS the story. Take your audience with you, lead them on a journey: as Bobette says "Nothing else matters."

👉 You know your ending, but what obstacles got in your way? Were there problems with money? With family? With late trains or rude taxi drivers? Set these obstacles up, and knock them down again in your story. Tension is great for keeping people's attention.

5
The Gleaming Detail

“The gleaming detail is the one thing that captures both the emotion and the idea of the story at once, in one fell swoop.” It is the seemingly ordinary thing that comes to represent so much more. And all great stories have them.

Bikes, to use Bobette’s example, are incredibly ordinary. But to a scared and lonely ten year old using one to search for an alien in the woods (Elliot in E.T.) it’s about so much more: exploration, coming out of your shell, looking for companionship. And when that same bike magically flies through the air against a silhouette of the moon, it becomes even more evocative: the power of friendship and childhood wonder.

Gleaming details work for brand stories as well. Innocent Smoothies, for example, still tell the story of their first festival stall. The founders, three advertising consultants, provided two bins beside a table of free samples, one labelled ‘yes,’ the other ‘no’. Written above the bins was a wooden board with a simple question: ‘Should we quit our jobs and start a business?’ That simple set-up became the gleaming detail for Innocent’s brand identity - doing things differently, creatively, and with humour.

👉 What other gleaming details can you think of? What is the gleaming detail of your story? Maybe you'll appeal to the senses in evoking it?

Hungry for more chapters?

Try Root, Stem, Branch - a simple tool for structuring your story.

Experiment with Setback Stories for greater self-belief.

Give Springboard Stories a go, referenced in our Leading with Stories workshop.

Listen to Bobette Buster on the Squiggly Careers Podcast.

And do join our Leading with Stories workshop for a collaborative and experimental experience around these ideas and more. You'll find coming dates here.

More Resources