Root, Stem, Branch — An organic approach for telling your own story

A pleasing, and practical three part tool for purposefully presenting ourselves to others. The beauty of the Root, Stem, Branch framework is in how it enables us to get ourselves across in a way that reveals our story memorably and tailored to whoever's on the receiving end.

The Root, Stem, Branch tool — coined by coach and author Hilary Gallo — gives us a simple and sequential framework with which to present our story.

🌱 Each stage builds organically on the previous one, adding more detail, and enabling us to adapt and tailor our story to whoever we're sharing it with.

An example to get you going

Here's an example of the framework in action.

You could imagine Matt using the tool when connecting with someone that works in the charity sector.

Root: I'm Matt, part of a training company called You Can Now.

Stem: We're really interested in modern, social approaches to skills building, where people learn among peers from different businesses.

Branch: So most recently, we've been working with leadership teams across the charity sector; helping them develop remote management skills throughout lockdown.


You can see from the example above, how the branch would have been most relevant if talking to someone who worked in that sector, or for whom leadership development were an interesting topic.

And if Matt were using the tool with a different person or audience he could adapt his branch as needed. His Root would have remained the same, with the Stem flexing as needed.


In the short film below, YCN Director Nick shares an example of the Root > Stem > Branch tool in action too.

Trying out the tool

Take a few minutes to work on your own Root, Stem, Branch.

🤔 How can you keep the Root as simple as possible?

🤔 It can be helpful to have in mind who you'd be sharing it with. A potential client at a networking event? A new group of peers you've been invited to present your background to?

🤔 How might you evolve the Stem and the Branch to reflect the interests and motivations of different people and audiences?

Good to know

If you found the tool interesting, you might like to experiment with the AND-BUT-THEREFORE framework too.

We use the Root, Stem, Branch tool in our Natural Networking and Purposeful Presenting workshops. Find coming dates for that here.

Another good thing about the tool is that it adheres to the rule of threes. More on that, from government speechwriter Ben Ludlow, here.