Wednesday, December 02, 2009

DaddyTeller Free Training Video #5

(from my site)
Dads: Should you get close to your kids? Yes! The father role in bedtime kids' stories is get close and snuggly. You can't do that with a book in your hands! Here's more information in this free "how to tell a story" video. See all our videos of storytelling techniques at .

Get the DaddyTeller Paperback at via this link here.

If Amazon is sold out, order a paperback copy of this book direct from the printer. Please click on this link now.
All the free vids are listed on this page here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

New FrogKisser Storytelling CD from

Press Release Synopsis: releases a new storytelling CD titled "Frog Kisser" with stories including "The Frog Princess" and seven other tales of enchantments. Especially for adults and teens, the CD is available now from

Avondale, AZ- announces the release of their latest storytelling audio CD "Frog Kisser." "If you are looking for a story of the princess and the frog, we've have that as well as seven more unusual tales of enchantment and changelings," says Sean Buvala, director and producer of the CD. The "Frog Kisser" CD is now available at the website as well as Featuring the work of seven unique storytellers from around the United States, the CD contains eight stories that are designed for adults, teens and tweens. Buvala, also one of the performers on the audio CD, continued, "All over the world, there are many stories of beings changed through love, commitment and challenge. In this CD, we have captured both world folktales and original stories to remind folks that things are not always as they seem." Comments from and about all seven storytellers are available at

"We know that in this 2009 holiday season, with the latest Disney animated movie, there will be renewed interest in the stories of enchantments. We created this CD so that folks who would like to explore great stories of changeling beasts can do so with a mix of traditional tales, original works and new perspectives on old themes," says Mr. Buvala.

The "Frog Kisser" project is a unique listening opportunity for fans of storytelling. "Our CD is unusual in the storytelling world. There have been very few collaborative storytelling projects like this at the national level, and nearly none that are aimed at a slightly older audience like 'Frog Kisser'," said Buvala. "I went to some of the best storytellers from our site and invited them to join me on this new creation. We're very happy with how this turned out and I am looking forward to the next project and new discoveries with other good storytellers."

Sean Buvala, a 23 year veteran of national storytelling, is available for expert consulting and media interviews on the nature of storytelling, fairytales and legends connected with this project and all media releases based in story and storytelling.

Contact Information:

K. Sean Buvala
Available nationally for Radio, Print, TV interview


The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Free Training Videos at

Here's a picture of the first fresh-off-the-press DaddyTeller™ book! You can order yours from Amazon if you'd like. Also, there are many free training videos on the site.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

About Sean: From the DaddyTeller™ Site.

(Here's the bio page from my new DaddyTeller™ book.I hired a professional write, Durga Walker, to create it for us. )

K. Sean Buvala is a Trainer, Corporate Coach, and Speaker. But first and foremost, he’s a Storyteller.

If you’re anything like me, this word evokes images of rapt little faces gathered round the yarn-spinner, mouths agape, hanging on every word. It should. Storytelling is an art that appeals to the deep emotional memory in all of us. Unlike motivational speaking, which seeks to uplift the listener and spur to him action, storytelling strengthens our powers of creativity and problem solving by drawing on our own imaginations.

In short, storytelling conveys information in a way the listener will never forget.

In 2007 Sean Buvala was presented the Oracle Award by the National Storytelling Network for his work in the promotion of storytelling, including the development of, an online goldmine of resources for storytellers and their audiences alike.

His work as a trainer and coach in the corporate word demonstrates his ability as a master storyteller. On the premise that good leadership requires strong communication skills, good storytelling techniques and the ability to convey information with impact, Sean designs workshops and seminars specifically for corporate groups, where he trains leaders to lead more effectively by improving their storytelling abilities. Here, he teaches real skills—not theory—that corporate management can implement immediately. In executive-level workshops that identify what already works for the company and what needs fixing, participants are shocked to see dramatic improvement in their public-speaking and leadership abilities.

Now Sean has applied his years of experience as a storyteller—and, not incidentally, father—to a project designed to help Dads convey valuable information to their own children. DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What’s Really Important By Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time is a step-by-step e-book guide for teaching Dads to become storytellers for their kids.

As the father of four daughters, Sean knows this subject intimately. Based on the premise that any father can learn to tell his children stories that convey values and ethics to his children, DaddyTeller offers nine simple stories (eight plus a bonus) aimed to turn story time into a meaningful and loving experience for both parent and child.

Beyond the book, Sean provides ample support, not just for Dads but for anyone who wants to learn to tell a story with impact. His video clips and audio files are abundant. Watching him perform is inspiring, and even if all you do is watch, I guarantee you’ll tell your next story with just a touch more panache.

Sean describes his own style as somewhere between “in your life and in your face,” depending on his audience, and he has ample opportunity to adjust his approach. In addition to his work with teenagers, he is an expert presenter for corporations, teachers’ groups, colleges and universities, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations. His expertise includes communication and presentation skills, group dynamics, arts marketing, theatrical training, ministry management, and entrepreneurial development, to name but a few.

As a storyteller, he travels to where the need is, performing in schools and libraries, nonprofit groups, businesses and corporations, festivals, and churches—anywhere people will gather round the yarn-spinner. Using myths and legends, fables, sacred stories, and observations about life, Sean chooses stories that speak to the specific needs of each group

A group with needs was, in fact, exactly where Sean Buvala got his start 23 years ago, in a classroom of wild eighth graders on a very wild day. Desperate, he called out over the din, “Once upon a time....”

A hush settled over the room.

“I grabbed the first kid,” he says. “I led him to the front of the classroom and said, ‘Once upon a time, there was a man who had two sons....’”

He grabbed the next two boys and placed them next to the first one, where they became the sons. In turn, he brought each child up to be cast as an actor in the story. And the rest is, well, history.

-- by Durga Walker

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Power of Touch in Bedtime Stories

Even more on how to tell a story. Storytelling techniques with your own children need to include touch. When you buy the book, you will be able to acces many more in-depth videos as well.

You can learn more about or buy the DaddyTeller™ book at this link now. There are many more free DaddyTeller™ videos at this link here.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A DaddyTeller Moment.

A quick DaddyTeller moment:

Good day at the Mesa Storytelling festival yesterday. Met a Dad there who had purchased the Ebook and had already told one of the stories to his preschool kid. The Dad said how much he liked the breakdown of the book all the way to telling him what to do with his hands during the story.

When he told the preschool son in his arms that I was the guy who wrote the "donkey story," the child was completey unimpressed wtih me, but totally in love with his Daddy. As.It.Should.Be.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Friday, October 23, 2009

StoryRise Adult Storytelling Podcast #1 Posted

Free audio stories for adults from StoryRise events. (Click here for the podcast.) We're really happy to kick off our new Storyrise podcast. Leading us off is storyteller Sandy Oglesby from Phoenix, AZ. She tells the story of "One Wish," an Irish folktale with a twisted path and ending. Enjoy. Don't forget to join us at Storyrise on the 3rd Saturday of each month in the West Valley of the greater Phoenix, AZ area. Sponsored in part by and the DaddyTeller™ Ebook.

More Podcasts will be posted soon from StoryRise. We have a huge backlog of stories to share with you. Subscribe to our updates at the site and/or follow StoryRise on Twitter at @storyrise.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Video: Fathers Need Communication Advice

Here is an adaptation of the article below this one, but set to a short video.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

3 Things Dads Can Do to Communicate Better with Their Children

The world needs fathers. Study after study confirms the important role of the father in a family. Let's improve your father-children relationship. Here are three quick and easy ways for Dads to relate better to their children.

1. Put down the distractions.
If you want to communicate better with your young kids, then learn to pay attention. Listening to a child while you channel surf, web surf or refrigerator surf is not really listening. Put down the remote or the mouse or close the 'fridge door. Pay attention to what your child is saying. By the way, this rule changes a bit when your kids, especially your sons, are older. A great way to get your teens to talk is do a shared activity together. You'll notice that I used the word "shared" in that sentence, right?

2. Look your child in the eye.
All the media your child is exposed to shares one thing in common: all of it has your child's eyes and ears glued upon it. When you talk to your child, do you have their eye-contact? One of the greatest gifts we give to our children is looking them in the eye. Let them see you seeing them. Put down the storybook and tell them a story. Involve them in the tale. Advertisers are not hesitant to look your kids in the eye. You should do no less.

3. Make your child's needs the priority.
As more and more dads, thankfully, become much more active in parenting, I read more about fathers who do not like kiddie things. I have read several posts, for example, about how some stay-at-home dads don't like kid's music and wish to substitute rock artists for kids musicians.

Although some of these daddy-blogger posts are written tongue-in-cheek, there is an underlying issue: kid things are not designed for dads. They are designed for kids. Don't be in a hurry to bypass the usefulness of all the kiddie toys and noise that is out there.

The "Wheels On The Bus" song is driving you crazy? Let it make you crazy and let your kids listen to it a hundred times a day if they want. Raising four kids in our house, I can assure you that this phase doesn't last long. Very soon, you'll be dealing with the wheels on the car which is under your teen's control as it is driven from your home.

The repetition of songs and stories is important for your child's development and even future skills for learning and school. Be focused on what your kids need, not what you want.

In reality, all three of these ideas are really expressing the same need: Dads, give your kids the gift of your attention. You don't need to be father of the year. You need to be the best daddy you can to your kids.

Sean Buvala, father of four and a professional storyteller, is the author of the book "DaddyTeller™: Be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What's Really Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time." You can read more about his Daddy/Child improving work by visiting

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

The Elevator Speech is (still) Dead

I think the entire idea of developing an elevator pitch should be scrapped.

Over at A Storied Career Blog, Katherine has posted a discussion about the issues of putting storytelling into one's elevator speech. Overall, I think Katherine has a great blog. This particular post, however, reminds me of one of my frequent battles: The Elevator Speech Is Dead.

My podcast on this subject is at:

It always surprises me to see people teaching this archaic communication tool. The "elevator pitch" (EP) is designed to snag or sell. Are we still doing that in today's world? Are we still trying to "get" people? Is this the 90's where the whole world is full of dot-com startups begging for a venture capitalist to give a moment of attention?

Storytelling is a sole and single source of business communication that contains everything you need to communicate. Our job, no matter what our work is, is to create our Core Story. Once that is done and done correctly through the use of episodic creation, we now have a tool that can be broken down into the very quickest of communication in an elevator to a full-on presentation in a keynote.

Trying to make a story fit our EP (uggh) is like building a house and then wondering if you can find a way to pour some cement into the foundation now that the house is finished. Start with storytelling and your core story, not with an elevator speech. Start with the full knowledge and understanding of your story and then the rest falls right into place. Yes, it's still work but at least you are not trying to fit an elephant into a tutu.

There is so much going on where folks are dabbling in storytelling rather than embracing it for the essential and most foundation too that it is. I've been teaching my clients for years now: choose a project, wipe the slate clean and build your new approach upon the foundation of the story and storytelling techniques.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

DaddyTeller™ Ebook Now Released!


Today we launch our latest Ebook! DaddyTeller™ has arrived.

Focusing on helping any Dad tell stories to his kids, this affordable Ebook is available today with an instant download by visiting

(Moms can use this Ebook, too. Just know that it's written in guy-speak.)

Written by award-winning K. Sean Buvala, a 23 year veteran of the storytelling movement, we help Dad put down the storybooks and look into the eyes of his children while he tells them stories that pass on values, build communication, improve reading and math skills and create memories that will live far beyond the moment.

Filled with training and coaching, the book includes 8 stories with step-by-step instructions on what to say and how to say it. Going beyond fathering tips, this is a very specific guidebook.

The "DaddyTeller™: Be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them What's Important by Telling Them One Simple Story at a Time" Ebook is available now at the initial launch price of just $14.95.

This Ebook is just the beginning of the DaddyTeller™ project. Be part of the first to join this unique learning and telling community.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Storytelling Techniques for IT and Research Departments

The more esoteric your work is, the more you need to use storytelling in your job. To those of you in the IT (or any technology at all) and Research departments, I am talking to you.

Sometimes it is hard for the others in your company to understand the ins and outs of the mysteries of technology and research. By using the power of storytelling techniques in your communications, you can create the "frames" to highlight, carry and explain the bigger concepts of your work.

Every house I have ever been in has a wall or table filled with pictures of family and friends. Rather than just glue these pictures to the wall, the pictures are placed in frames that help draw the eye to the subjects contained within. In the most artistic of homes, the frames surrounding these pictures have been carefully chosen to help emphasize the content of the pictures. Done well, the frames are an extension of the pictures. The more important the pictures (the "everybody in the family" type) have the most expensive and sturdy frames.

Just like these picture frames in someone's home, your ability to frame your complicated and important data in the context of a memorable story will protect and carry your message to your listeners.

Let me give you an example of how this works.

You could talk about the collection methods used to complete a survey and how that proves the validity of the data. However, folks want results first. So, instead of talking first about how the data means you must completely drop an ingrained and "sacred cow" program from your company, you could start with the story of "Jack and the Beanstalk," (JATBS) emphasizing how Jack's mother was furious with Jack for trading her sacred cow for a few magic beans. However, in the end, Jack ends up with a goose that lays golden eggs, giving Jack and his mother more than they ever dreamed of.

You will the present your data after you tell your version of JATBS, showing the data that correlates to your conclusion. Then, you might lead a discussion based on the data that asks, "Just like the mother in JATBS, what do we in our company fear from what the data tells us? In what ways is this data like magic beans for our company's future?"

You can then end your presentation with a recap of JATBS. Now, you have framed your data (data is important and needed) in the center of a very familiar and comfortable story. I can assure you that the first time you do this process, you will wade through some discomfort and come out with a presentation that will cement the conclusions of your data into the minds of your listeners.

Here are three things you should know about story and narrative as framing tools.

1. People just want to know "what's in it for me?"

Your fellow employees are not as interested in the mechanics of your job as you are. I know you have gone to school to learn how statics work. I know you understand the many ways to hook up one computer to another in your office. However, the people you work with have not gone to the same schools you have. For most of them, how you collected the data is not nearly as important as what the data implies and instructs for their work. Storytelling lets you talk about benefits of research and technology, not just mechanics.

2. Stories remind you to speak in the language of the people: your fellow employees.

Although the idea of the uncommunicative IT employee is an unfair cultural joke, there are those in your company that are still slightly afraid of you. When they know you will speak in ways they understand, they are more open to hear what you have to say. When you can give folks the story of how others have benefited by the work you are proposing, they will feel better about providing you the tools and time to fulfill your projects. In a sense, storytelling allows others to know you are "on their side." It's far better to talk to others about how Susan at the other office could get twice as much work done in the same amount time after the expensive software update you have proposed rather than list of the uncommon features of database processing.

3. Your CFO approves funds for results not information.

Most people hate the process of change. Results are better than promises. Stories are the frames that carry results. You will get much more support for any project when folks know how others have benefited from your proposals. How the office across the city became so efficient that they now have a four-day workweek is one-hundred percent more effective in getting results than any presentation of how a Blade server works.

Your work in statics, data and technology is vital to your company. Even more vital is your ability to communicate the benefits of your work to the rest of your company through good business presentation skills. Information framed in the context of story, information carried by understandable narratives, will stick with your fellow staff members much longer than data alone. Take a chance and frame your next presentation in story.

 Go deeper into this subject on how to create a story with my short-and-focused book on designing your stories: "Measures of Story," over on Amazon

Sean Buvala is an award-winning trainer who teaches businesses and nonprofit organizations how to grow their bottom line and employee satisfaction through the power of storytelling. You learn more about his work at Follow him at Twitter @storyteller .

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Water Deep: Growing Your Nonprofit Through Internal Storytelling Techniques

Your nonprofit organization will grow both the financial bottom line and staff satisfaction when you incorporate storytelling into your organization's internal communications.You need to water deeply.

As a leader of a nonprofit organization, it might be easy for individual staff and volunteers to be focused just on those who receive the services of the organization. However, does your group remember to talk to each other about your own work? Nonprofit storytelling is not just for the outside customers, it is for our very own staff members.

Stories can inspire your staff, improve staff retention and grow job satisfaction. You will see greater nonprofit fundraising. In turn, a happy organization generates deeper satisfaction among clients and benefactors.

Learn to use the power of nonprofit storytelling in your business communications with these five tips:

1. Leaders should know and speak the stories of everyday successes.

Do your nonprofit's leaders only speak to everyone when there is a problem? Stories are everywhere in an organization and they can be easy to find. I teach several methods for story gathering, but whatever method you choose to use, do something to solicit and find the stories of your company. When using storytelling for nonprofit organizations, the leaders must be the first to demonstrate this communication technique and they should seek to do so for every level of staff.

2. At least once a calendar quarter, have a single department share in-depth stories about their role in the organization.

Are your staff meetings limited to cursory sharing of agendas?

My wife is a gardener. Among other things, I have learned from her is that plants not only need the surface watering on a regular basis, but that they benefit from a "deep" watering occasionally. Much like these plants, your company needs to be "deep" in sharing their stories.
I have been on staff for many nonprofits. In our busyness, our staff meetings were reduced to around-the-table updating, doing not much more than checking in. To grow your staff cohesion, make a monthly gathering where one department shares both the success and challenge stories. As the deep watering that my gardener wife does for her trees, let these monthly or quarterly gatherings feed the roots of the entire organization.

3. Be sure volunteer training includes stories from other volunteers.

Do you assume your volunteers (or those seeking nonprofit jobs) are present because they really understand your group? As a nonprofit leader, I have seen how quickly some volunteers can burn out, especially in jobs requiring a great deal of face-to-face interaction. It is easy to assume that volunteers completely understand your mission statement. Of course, that is false. When your volunteers know the joys, challenges and reasonable expectations of your group, they will be more inspired to stay longer with your group. Mixing in a generous portion of stories (fun and serious) to your training will have long-term benefits.

4. Invite, rather than require, staff to create stories of the organization.

Mandatory story sharing results in low quality stories. Gathering stories is a natural process but sometimes your staff needs to be reminded how to do so. Rather than mandate to a group, teach them skills. Your stories will be much more genuine as they grow out of desire to share and not a requirement to meet a quota.

5. Never be afraid of negative stories.

I have found that negative stories (complaints) are a more effective gauge of staff satisfaction or job issues than any comment box will ever be.

In any organization there will be moments of success and sometimes challenge. Learn to listen carefully to all stories you hear. What are the trends and patterns? Before a staff issue becomes a major problem, it first appears as a few whispers. Are you listening to these stories? In thinking about your own work history, what problems might have been avoided if management had been carefully listening rather than defending or suppressing issues?

Strive to implement these "internal customer" tips for the health of your nonprofit group.

Thinking of starting a nonprofit organization? Make these steps an integral part of your initial plans.

K. Sean Buvala is a national leader in the communication skill of storytelling for business. An award-winning veteran of nearly three decades in storytelling, he uses his experience in the non-profit industry to help you grow your bottom line and increase staff satisfaction. Learn more at  For daily tips, follow him at Twitter @storyteller .

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Learn Business Presentation Skills at our "Intro" Workshop 09/09/09

We are offering our "Intro to Business Storytelling Workshop" on Wednesday, September 9, 2009. We meet at 9:00AM for about two hours. We will be meeting in Avondale, AZ.

Who should attend? We welcome nonprofit leaders, business management, small-business owners, entrepreneurs, anyone involved in any type of leadership or business communications.

This is a REAL WORKSHOP on storytelling techniques for nonprofit and business leaders. It is not a two-hour sales pitch. You will walk out of the workshop with at least one new, use-it-today skill in narrative communication, probably more. You will learn from Master Storyteller Sean Buvala, a storytelling trainer, of

This first "come and see" workshop has a token fee. Sean normally gets a good consulting fee to teach this material, so you why not take advantage of this chance to get some professional training from an experienced storytelling consultant for business and nonprofit organizations.

Come learn with us!

You must preregister for this workshop.

$39 per person, pre-registered with this form.
Includes workshop, supplies and continental breakfast.

Homewood Suites, Avondale, AZ
11450 W Hilton Way, Avondale Arizona
(Avondale Blvd (115th Avenue) just south of the I-10 Freeway.)

9:00 AM on September 9, 2009. We will be finished before noon.

Please register at this link here.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Michael Vick Needs Storytelling: Healing and Apologizing with Story

Being truthful leads to reconciliation. Truth is expressed in the story of change.

Storytelling can be used for many different applications. One of the most difficult, but needed, application of storytelling is to express reconciliation, repentance and recompense.

Let’s look at real-life and very public example. As of this writing, professional football player Michael Vick is in the news as he tries to make a comeback after spending two years in jail, "doing his time" for the abuse and torture of dogs while funding illegal dog fighting. He’s on his own personal quest to be restored to his previous national career while trying to express that he’s learned his lesson, repaid his debt to society and is a new man.

Michael Vick needs to learn the art of storytelling. He needs to learn to tell the Truths he has learned. He needs storytelling to apologize.

Understand that I am appalled at his abuse of animals. However, after working many years as a professional listener in nonprofit human services, I have seen people who have committed awful crimes become contributing, forgiven role models who were/are able to positively impact the world around them. I have to assume that Mr. Vick will be in that category. Time will tell.

So, how does the Michael Vick(s) of the world seek this forgiveness? Well, along with contributions of time and treasure to causes that externally demonstrate their internal conversions, they need to craft their true story of their journey.

Here are six steps to creating the story for redemption.

1. Always tell the truth.
No mastery of storytelling techniques or communication skills will help if you aren’t ready to tell the truth about the past, present and future. When you need forgiveness and a second chance, you need to speak the truth. If not, you simply won’t have an audience when you are trying to get forgiveness the next time around.

2. Start the story with the vision of the future.
In essence, you will use your commitments to bookend your story with your vision to the new you of the future. Why? It is hard for an audience to truly listen to people they hate. By using this “bookend” technique, you allow your audience to immediately know you are ready to put your actions and not just your words into motion. For example, you might say "I know I have caused harm and pain, and I have already begun to support XYZ Organization with not only my money but 10 hours a week of volunteer time for the next few years.”

3. Acknowledge your "sin" against the world.
Be prepared to use the word "I" when speaking, not some generic "you." "I did . . . " is the correct phrase, not "sometimes you find yourself doing . . . " The use of "I" acknowledges and owns your failings. "You" means you are still not convinced of your failure.

For those of you who follow my storytelling training, you know I teach you how to break your stories into Episodic Telling. In your storytelling, some folks need to know more about your failure than others. In Michael Vick’s case, when he talks to others involved in dog fighting, his story will be more graphic. When talking to wayward youth, he might omit some details. An audience of PETA or animal-rights activists will require even different episodes.

4. Tell us about how you have paid your debt.
Let your audience know how the paying of that debt affected you both physically and emotionally. It’s time to dump the anecdotes and really talk about your life, your feelings, your fall. I’ve heard Mr. Vick say he was a jail janitor who made pennies per hour. That is only an anecdote. I don’t yet know how he felt; that will come from his storytelling. Tell me the story of working for pennies when you once had millions.
Caution! I am not talking about chest beating and crying on stage. Perhaps images of weeping evangelists come to mind? Although I want to know how you feel, I do not want you to use your story to dump emotion on me. Save that for your therapist . . . or court.

5. Express the actions you are taking now, in the present and future, that demonstrate how you have changed.
What are you doing now to create change in yourself and society? Here you are repeating the opening of your vision for your future. However, this time, do not just tell us about your thoughts, show us your feelings again. What have you learned? How has your "heart" changed? How is your life impacted and challenged because of your new actions?

Storytelling is not always used for fantasy time. Storytelling has been used always to teach and instruct. In some cases, when the desire to change is genuine, the power of storytelling can reconcile people and communities.

Sean Buvala is the executive director of and an executive speaking coach training the use of storytelling to effect organizational change.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Free Telecourse: Using Social Media to Market Your Performing Arts

Monday, August 17, 2009
MyTweetLinkBookNing: Sorting Out Social Media for Working Artists

"Should I be on (fill in name of social media)?" is a frequently asked question during coaching sessions with Sean Buvala. In this free telecourse, Sean will look at the various popular social media services such as Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook and Ning in light of their advantages and disadvantages for working performing artists. When we are done, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the place of these types of services in your marketing plan.

Monday, August 17, 2009
3PM Pacific (U.S.) / 6PM Eastern (U.S.)

Be sure to double check where YOUR time zone falls between those two! If you are unsure, use this link to find a city near you in the same time zone.

Time zones listed are U.S standards. Participants in our telecourses come from all over the world. Everyone is welcome. Check the link above to find a city near you in your country.

To register, please visit at this link now.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Three Secrets Storytelling Reveals About Your Business or Nonprofit Organization

Knowing storytelling techniques is not a "fluffy" or soft skill for your business. Just as your accountant needs to have strong skills in numbers and laws, so must all your staff and volunteers learn storytelling, both creating and listening.

As good accounting can be a barometer about your company so does storytelling give you a picture of your organization's health. Like the ledger, business storytelling reveals truth about your organization. No matter if your company has just a single entrepreneur or a payroll of thousands, pay attention to these revelations.

1. Storytelling reveals what your customers really think. Gathering customer stories tells you what is truly happening. No matter what organizational myth you might have, the real truth comes from your customers. There is a reason the "Emperor's New Clothes" is such a popular story for so many generations. Are you going to be caught naked someday because you did not truly listen to your client's real stories?

2. Storytelling reveals who is really paying attention. Your company should make it a point to conduct regular sessions of story gathering from employees and management. Processes like my "Intentionality"(tm) activity help anyone in any company create stories about everyday experiences. Like a Board that cannot tell you about the company ledger, be very afraid of any upper management that never has new stories of the company. Stories of how the powerful are deposed are very common in world folktales. Is your CEO paying attention- even if the CEO and the janitor are the same person in your small business?

3. Storytelling reveals your organization's ability to adapt to change. For survival, your ledger needs to show some reserve funds for your metaphorical "rainy day." So, too, stories of change show how your company has the readiness and acceptance of the inevitable shifts in the market. Are you prepared for everything to change tomorrow? Are you stuck in the same old ways? Can you make a list, right now, of the stories that show how your nonprofit or business has adapted to change? You do not have past stories of change management and adaptability in your company? You are in for a rough future.

Corporate stories and skills in business storytelling, yes even storytelling for financial advisors, are as valuable to your group as good accounting. Are you giving storytelling the attention it deserves?

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Learn Storytelling Techniques from Magic Johnson at the Michael Jackson Memorial Service

Magic Johnson Teaches How to Tell A Story

Sometimes there are surprise moments when some rather public storytelling skills are demonstrated very well.

It is common to see public figures fail at storytelling. However, at the Michael Jackson Memorial service, entrepreneur and former professional basketball player Earvin "Magic" Johnson demonstrated a command of and elegance to his story. Although many speakers spoke at "MJ's" funeral, Magic's few moments stand out.

Here are 4 things that anyone who wants to use storytelling can learn from Magic's story.

1. His story was brief. I am sure that Mr. Johnson may have had more to say, but he cut through the extraneous details and went directly to his point, taking the audience with him as he experienced the wonder he felt as Michael Jackson ate KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) with him one night many years ago. Ironic as it may sound, the purpose of being a storyteller is not to talk words but rather to communicate ideas.

2. It was a story told in the "voice of the people." I have watched and commented on many public speakers, especially politicians, who try to speak "to the people." In the Jackson memorial, Magic Johnson used an important storytelling technique: talk so people understand. His words were simple. His illustrations were accessible to all as he talked about family gatherings, dinners, playing games with family, celebrity-meeting nerves and eventually, something as simple as a fast-food icon: a bucket of chicken.

As a pro-basketball star, Magic could have easily made sports references. However, no sports reference would speak to such a wide range of listeners as his family references did. Choosing to speak to your audience so they understand rather than using self-serving references is a sign of a mature and effective speaker.

3. In his story, he laughed at himself. Magic's story was not to tell people how wonderful he was but rather to share how wonderful he thought Michael Jackson was. A good storyteller can reflect the focus on the story and the subject of the story.

4. His story was actually a story. It contained a beginning, a middle and an end. Magic did not tell an anecdote: "I once sat on Michael Jackson's carpet and ate KFC with him. Wasn't that cool?" Rather, he placed his story in the context of a developing relationship with the family and the invitation to dinner. Without being sappy or manipulative, he shared his own feelings about the invite and his surprise to discover his idol ate "real food" like everyone else.

His story supported this expression of hope for the future. At the end of his comments, when he referred to Michael's children having family support, you knew his point of reference to make such a statement.

Although in the past Magic has been critiqued for his speaking style, his presentation at the MJ funeral was a good example for any speaker striving to improve their storytelling skills for business or personal use.

Sean Buvala is a public speaking coach who specializes in helping you tell your core story. For free Email lessons, please see .

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Corporate Storytelling Techniques: Five Ways to Convey Your Passion

Corporate Storytelling Techniques: Five Ways to Convey Your Passion

Stories are being told about your company all the time. Unless you have never had a customer, someone somewhere is talking about your company. When they do so, they are speaking with passion either for or against your business. You need to have your passionate stories ready to add to that conversation. To create raving fans in your business, you need to be a raving business.

When a customer experiences your company, they leave with an impression. If they were offended, hurt or feel they did not get good value, they will passionately talk about (create the story of) their perceptions of your business. Likewise, if you exceeded their expectations, they will also talk about that story. When a person hears one of these customer stories about your business, do you have your own equally passionate company stories to counter or confirm? Can your customers find these passionate stories on your website via video or audio links?

Here are five storytelling for business tips to help you express your passion:

1. Do not be afraid to be full of passion about your product or service. For example, I am always amazed at the way small brick-and-mortar business owners can be so alive and excited about their offerings but yet have zero expressions of that anywhere on their websites, other advertising or in casual conversations. Real passion ignites real passion. Don't tell me that you're "passionate about the perfect cup of coffee" at your coffee shop. Rather, through business storytelling, show me your passion by telling me the story of how you spent a year travelling the country to find the best and most unique roasting machine. I want to see that look in your eyes as you tell me about the best/worst coffee you ever had that led you to start your own business. Let me laugh with you about your obsessive interviewing and auditioning in order to find the perfect baristas. Help me to feel your focus as you tell me about going through a dozen suppliers (and their unique personalities) looking for the perfect coffee beans.

2. Your employees are your best source of truth about your company. Train your employees in ways to gather and collect their own company stories. Then, on a regular basis, gather employees together to share these stories. The sharing of these stories must not be mandatory. Requiring employees to have a story results in faked stories. By the way, my clients will sometimes hesitate to use this story-gathering process with employees because the session will generate "nothing but complaints" from the participants. All stories have value to your company and if you are getting lots of complaints, let those stories be the catalyst for internal change. Take the cue to understand: if your staff is producing uncomfortable stories, then you can be assured that your customers are unhappy, too.

3. If your company is very large with multiple locations or large departments, start your storytelling process in just one section of the company. Nothing squashes passion more than yet another management project that "we are all going to do." Choose one department and let them be the first group to experience the power of business storytelling. Once they have learned and applied storytelling techniques successfully, then other departments or locations will want to join in.

4. The elevator speech is dead. For any size company, learn to tell each of your stories in a variety of time formats such as two minutes, six minutes or fifteen minutes. Always be ready to tell potential customers about your work. Your preparedness will help convey your passion.

5. Remember that storytelling is a person-to-person experience. Take every opportunity to be in front of customers or employees to tell your stories. Digital storytelling, print advertisements and social media are all fine tools, but they can never replace the benefits of experiencing your story passionately told live and in person.

Storytelling is one of your business communication essentials. Add passion to your public speaking!

Sean Buvala is a storyteller and corporate coach focusing on communication skills through the art of storytelling for business. He can be reached at . You may also follow him on Twitter at @storyteller.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

12 Reasons Why Artists Should Attend the Performing Artists' Open Conference.

12 Reasons Why Artists Should Attend The "Performing Artists' Open Conference" This August! Please distribute!

Dear Working Artists and Friends of the Arts,

Join us this August for the first annual "Performing Artists Open Conference," where we skip the pretense of choosing workshops for you and YOU could be one of the chosen speakers- chosen by your peers.

Learn more details about the PAOC at

Why Should Southwest artists attend?

1. Retreat #1. You need a retreat before the school year starts. Many artists (and those who support and love the arts) have their work deeply connected to the school year. So, before the new year begins in full, come spend a few days learning with your peers, taking some chances learning and presenting. In our open-conference environment, you will be challenged.

2. Retreat #2. Okay, maybe you just finished the killer "library show" season and you need to clear your mind, be with adults and think anew about your art form. You know, a shared meal table is a great place to start conversations that will make you think.

3. Real Conference, Real Close. Many artists and staff (in the West and Southwest) love the fun and professional growth inspired by conferences, but find it hard to find something local that is accessible due to issues with money, location, or relevance. Some other artists, new to being a working artist, are hesitant to spend gobs of travel money just right now. So, before you pay to jet out to across the U.S, no matter your experience, come learn in your own backyard.

4. Networking. We are not just inviting folks connected to one type of performing arts, but rather all performing arts. Sit next to someone who does something you do not do. Explain what you do. Learn what they do. Create a collaboration and invite us all to it if you want. Alternatively, just talk about life. Do you know every artist in the state yet?

5. Staycation. If you are in the Southwest, we are next door! Why not stay over Friday night and/or Saturday at the huge discount room rate of $79 per night? You don't have to share a room to get that rate- that is single occupancy! You can GET AWAY to focus on your art without having to do all that getting-away work. You do not have to stay at the conference hotel, but why not make it a gift for yourself?

6. New Ideas. We are asking YOU and others to bring their best presentation, discussion, performance, round table ideas. What do you want to talk about? Not ready to lead a workshop? Then- propose it anyway as a discussion group and get everyone's creative juices flowing. Come on- do not fear! DO something with your great idea. A conference like this typically lets you be affirmed in some areas and challenged in other subjects. By the way, you are not required to submit a workshop or discussion idea. Just come and participate if you want.

7. Tax-deductible? In most cases, continuing education for working artists is tax deductible. Check with your tax pro because we are not tax pros.

8. Early Bird for Everyone. Look, we want you to be there. We need at least 10 people at the early bird rate of $209 to pay for this event. Register by August 1 for this rate. You get two lunches, registration and other surprises for this fee.

9. Pay Less. Okay, you have read this far, huh? Great! Email Sean Buvala (the host and director) at sean (at) and put:

Secret Western StayCation Rate

…in the subject line. You will get an even lower rate and the instructions on how to claim it. Act now.

10. Pad Your Resume. At the moment, we are going to be a smaller and more intimate group. Small group= more chances to get your proposal fit in. Your proposal accepted= you can add the "PAOC Presenter" to your growing resume.

11. Honest Feedback. A conference like this has no stars, only friends and peers. Come offer your best work and ideas. Get honest feedback to your presentation by others who know the same challenges of presenting for and with artists. No need to pretend to know it all, just share what you know. Or, just absorb it all.

12. Experienced Staff. Yes, we know, this is about you, but we have been putting on events like this and others for decades. Despite the fluid nature of the event, we are totally prepared to be sure you do not have to worry about facilities or other nonsense. We've also chosen a place where good places to eat dinner (across the budget spectrum) are within walking distance for you and your old and new friends that you met back in #4: Networking.

We are not spending a zillion dollars of your money on PR. We are being light hearted and casual in this note, but we want you to come spend some time with this exciting new conference. You can reap the rewards for taking a new path at the PAOC this August 21-23, 2009.

Details:::> So- Artists and Friends of the Arts, please learn more at .

See you in August,

Sean Buvala
For The PAOC staff.
Use Twitter hashtag #paoc09

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Sean Buvala Talks about Storytelling Techniques for Business Podcast (Guest Blog)

I was fortunate to be interviewed for the "Entrepreneur People" blog talk show. There is a great deal of good content in this interview, giving you an good overview of the power of storytelling techniques in business and non-profit groups. Sherry writes:

"Sean Buvala is a storyteller who teaches, speaks, and coaches organizations on the value of the story for understanding their culture, their people, and advancing their cause. Meet Sean and hear tips on the how and why of storytelling.,, (33 minutes)"

You can listen in to the interview in the player below or go directly to the EP site at this link now.

To download the mp3 file, use this link here.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Keynote or Inservice for Teachers and Education

I've just launched the "Welcome Back, Dragon Handlers" site for my 'back to school" or teacher professional development days. You can find this site at You can hear a 4 minute clip of me speaking to a teachers' convocation as well as learn more about this very specialized keynote for educational events. We've priced this as very affordable for any school district gathering. Please come take a look.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Business Presentation Skills: The Elevator Speech is Dead

Episode Five Podcast: "The Elevator Speech is Dead"
Sean Buvala talks this week about the archaic concept of the elevator speech. The elevator speech: when you learn a singular "speech" to talk about your business with new clients and customers. Rather, Sean talks about learning the power of your story to be used in different time frames. Sean also tells you the obscure Grimm tale of "Not Much." You’ll also hear from a listener who called in to tell us his reaction to these podcasts. 10 minutes.
Listen in: Episode Five

You can find all of the podcasts in this series at at this link here.

Twitter This Post Now.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Performing Artists' Open Conference, August 2009 in Arizona


We are happy to tell you that we will be hosting the First Performing Artists' Open Conference this year in the Phoenix, AZ area.

The Performing Artists' Open Conference (PAOC): The Convention We Create Together.

2009 THEME: "We Create Together"

What is an Open Conference?
Although there are many definitions, an open conference is created by the participants. There are no stars or featured speakers. Rather, our open conference, much like the unconference idea, has workshops, performances and activities planned by the participants. If you wish, you can "throw your hat into the ring" and submit a proposal. Unlike most conferences, this PAOC does not have a committee to decide which proposals get accepted and which do not. Instead, all participants, on the first night, vote on which workshops they would like to participate in. From this vote, the rest of the conference is laid out and you'll be free to attend the workshops you would like when they are available during the weekend.

YOU could be a presenter. You will need to bring your creativity, your freshest ideas, your "best game" to this event and use your best presentation skills. Your workshop proposal might or might not be accepted by the group, who knows? Regardless, you are sure to hear other workshops that inform you of new ideas and topics in regards to the performing arts. To see the workshop guidelines, please click this link now.

There are only a few organized, large group events at the PAOC. Of course, there's the voting process on Friday. Lunch is provided each day. There is a concert of performing artists on the second night, with slots filled by names drawn by lottery from the participants who want to perform. Finally, on the last day, we will hold a large group "what did you learn and hear" process to share insights and challenges.

The PAOC is not for everybody. If you want to hear ideas that might not be getting "play" at the large conferences, then this event is for you. If you enjoy spontaneous creation and discussion of the arts with others, then come to the PAOC. If you need high levels of control and no surprises, then the PAOC will not be a good choice for you. If you can laugh and enjoy the company of other artists regardless of who is chosen to present, then we would love to have you. If you can enjoy the creative use of the conference space and are flexible, then you are going to enjoy your time at the PAOC. Without the long "juried workshops" process of other conferences, you might hear some brilliant speakers and presenters or you might not.

ANYONE can submit a proposal for a workshop. You must register for the workshop to submit a form. And if your workshop/performance/event is not selected, there is no refund of fees. Come with a thick skin, a sense of humor and just stay and enjoy your time with the other presentations and new friends you are going to meet.

Most of the workshops will be recorded in some format and these recordings will be made available at no charge on our website. You are also encouraged to "blog" and Twitter the conference as we go along.

The Performing Artists' Open Conference
Friday 5PM through Sunday 430PM
August 21-23, 2009

Comfort Suites Hotel and Conference Center
Goodyear, AZ (Phoenix AZ)
The conference location is easy to access from the greater Phoenix area and is about 25 miles away from the PHX airport. It's easy and convenient to get to this location. In addition, there are a number of dining and shopping options within easy walking distance.

SPECIAL: The Comfort Suites is extending a special discounted room
rate of $79 per night (plus taxes) for all participants. You must call
the hotel directly and tell them the code "storytellers" to get this discount rate.

Performing artists of all disciplines, those who love the performing arts, administrators and staff of arts programs, those who want to or do pursue the arts professionally, arts hobbyists, journalists who cover the arts, teachers, librarians and other folks we haven't listed yet. Beginners or veterans. Those who want to present and perform are welcome as are those who just want to participate as audience and workshop members. Come on out to the desert and forge some new understandings.

Your registration includes workshops, two meals, concert,
chance to submit proposal (optional) and a few other surprises.
Registration numbers are capped.

$209 Early Bird Registration by May 30.
$244 Registrations after June 1
$274 Registrations after August 1

Special discounts if registered by May 30:
If you are a member of any of our MasterMind groups or an alumni of any of our previous conferences, please contact Sean at for your costs and deadlines.

Workshop proposals must be received by August 7 to be included in the voting. Register now to avoid missing this deadline. A workshop submission form will be included in your registration packet.

Children and Non-Participants:
This workshop is intended for adults. Young persons between the
ages of 13 and 18 may register as a participant with an attending adult.
There is no registration option for non-participants.

This workshop is presented in part by funding from

You may use the Paypal button here to register for the $209 early-bird price. PayPal account is not required. Use your credit card.

You may contact us at our office at 623.298.4548 or . More information will appear on this website soon.

To register by mail, please make your check payable to "Creation Company" and send to
PO Box 392 Tolleson, AZ 85353.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Non Profit Leaders: Do Your Volunteers Know Your Story?

Non Profit Leaders: Do your volunteers know your story?

Yesterday, on my way into the grocery store, a woman sitting at "animal rescue" table asked me if I would like to donate to their rescue shelter. As I made my way into the store, I had both the time and the inclination to listen to her ask for a donation as my family has been connected to the work of rescue shelters for more than six years. (You can see the website at As well, we have three "rescued" shelter dogs in our life. So, I am open to the idea that these volunteers were promoting. I also know that these impromptu tables are an important non profit funding source.

I asked her, "What does your shelter do?" The volunteer was not ready to answer my question. She did not know the story of the shelter she was representing. Her only answer was, "We do the adoptions at the (name of pet store)." Outside of that, she did not know what to say.

So, unlike most people passing her table, I stopped long enough to actually talk to her. I was a prime-candidate to donate money to her cause. However, she had not been trained in how to talk to potential donors. Either she did not know the story of her group or she had not been trained to speak about her organization.

This, of course, is not her fault. Her lack of preparedness was the fault of the director of her non-profit organization. It is possible that she had been trained on where to find the table that she needed, what to do with the money she collected and where to turn in the forms at the end of her shift. She was not trained in talking about the mission of her organization.

How about your volunteers and employees? Have they been trained to tell both their story of why they volunteer as well as the story of your organization? I am not talking about elevator speeches here. These elevator speeches, also know as unique selling points, are static anecdotes used to snare others. Rather, knowing the multiple stories of your organizations and how to adapt them to both casual and formal situations is a key skill for your staff, both volunteer and paid.

Here are three steps you need to follow to prepare your staff to use the power of story in your non-profit organization.

1. Collect the stories of your group.
There are a variety of techniques available to aid any organization in the collection of their stories. However, the best method is the oldest method: listen. Train your staff to think about stories. Ask them to think: what is happening/has happened that others need to know about? Find a way to share these stories at regular gatherings. Never make story sharing mandatory in any setting. Although many trainers advocate this, the pressure of "I must have a story" results in poor stories shared when your staff is under pressure to come up with anything. Stories should always be gathered in an organic or grass-roots process.

2. Train staff in the essential skills (the how-to) of storytelling.
The best investment you can make in your organization's future is to enlist the help of an experienced storytelling coach to teach your staff and volunteers to tell stories. You want your team to be able to know and tell your core or essential stories in a variety of time formats. For example, the volunteer I encountered outside the grocery store might have known the 20-minute story of their organization but had not been trained to tell it to me in a two-minute setting. She would need to know both the long and short versions. You also want your team to be able to use stories as frames for presentations that require quantities of data and shared information. Teach storytelling techniques first and save the high-level theories of storytelling for advanced classes once your staff has had success with storytelling.

3. All non-profit leadership must use stories at every gathering.
In every public speaking setting, from formal board meetings to casual walk-arounds, the leadership of the organization must fully immerse themselves in the use of story. Despite the glut of storytelling-for-business consultants available, the idea of storytelling for adults in a business setting remains challenging for many. Your leadership team, from the top on down, must clearly demonstrate the importance of story in all settings.

In even good economic times, a non-profit organization must have a strong command of their past, present and future stories. Your potential donors are interested in what their money can do in your organization, assuming your mission aligns with their values. Are your volunteers ready to speak your mission statement, not in overused mission "statement-eese," but rather in the geniune stories of your group's daily experiences?

Expressing your organization's story should be a skill for all of your staff. It is a requirement for business communication today. Consider everyone in your organization to be public speakers. Your experiences, expressed in story, are the unique features of your group. Be sure your donors can understand them.

I did explain to the volunteer outside the grocery store about my family's history with rescued animals and thanked her for the good work she was promoting in defense of abandoned animals. Her work was important and I hope she had some success in collecting funds for their rescue project. However, I knew that she was unprepared for real conversations about the work and mission of her group. I hope that the leadership of her group soon gets a chance to teach their staff to tell the real stories of the challenges and successes of their charity.

Good stories, willing listeners and a staff trained in public speaking skills are tangible assets that every non-profit group must have.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Storytelling for Business: Three Quick Fixes

Three Quick Fixes to Your Storytelling for Business.

Having done executive coaching and corporate storytelling training over the last 23 years, I have seen many common mistakes from folks wishing to use storytelling for business presentations. Here are three of my quick fixes for public speaking issues.

Fix Number One: Take your story seriously.
World stories, myths and legends have endured for many centuries because of their ability to carry powerful messages in the small space of well-selected words. Use this power carefully. When I work with clients, they will often have spent many hours on their appearance, their eye contact and the slides they will project. However, they only spend minutes on story selection and presentation. This is a big mistake. There is no such thing as a simple story. Stories are powerful tools and, used incorrectly, they will explode back at you. Stories selected with care, crafted with good storytelling techniques and told with an intentional purpose will create a long-lasting impact on your audience. Your listeners will remember your stories long after the memory of your nice tie, fancy dress or overhead slides quickly fades away.

Fix Number Two: Plan the gestures you will use.
Your hands do not always need to be in motion nor held clasped in front of you as if you were carrying a bouquet of flowers. Avoid making choppy hand movements with eve-ry syl-la-ble you speak. Plan your gestures to match your story and move effortlessly and smoothly from one gesture to another. Let you hands rest naturally at your sides in between gestures. Try to avoid the finger pyramids or hand clasping between gestures.

Fix Number Three: Speak in your natural voice.
One of the best time investments you can make as a public speaker is to watch a professional storyteller speak to your target demographic of adults. You will see and hear the differences between how one tells stories to adults and how one practices storytelling for children. You must avoid the "sing song" voice of the unpracticed storyteller, who, like revered hosts of children's television programming, makes a lilting vocal pattern that sends adult audiences screaming out of the room.

Also, be aware that when you speak personal or "real" stories about your company you do not imitate or mimic the voices of others. Speak in your own voice. In most cases, do not change your voice to reflect your perceptions of the gender, race, regional origin or social status of those of which you are speaking. Mimicking another can quickly backfire on you, causing you to lose goodwill and trust with your audience.

Applying these quick fixes for public speaking will help your audience to be fully immersed in your presentation. Your storytelling, well prepared and well coached, can lower your public speaking anxiety and make you one of the best business speakers your audience has ever heard.

Sean Buvala ( Twitter him @storyteller) is an award-winning storyteller, experienced business speaker and executive speaking coach who helps businesses grow their bottom line and create employee satisfaction through the power of storytelling. His website is He offers private training and coaching.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Storytelling Techniques Improve Your Communication Skills

Why Storytelling Techniques Improve Your Communication Skills

Storytelling is the "mother" of all communications. Every art form relies on Story to convey meaning. Despite this truth, many communicators only approach storytelling as an adjunct to their speaking and presenting. For this quick article, I am speaking about oral storytelling, not digital storytelling that does not rely on or build on a presenter's public speaking skills. I suggest that mastering oral or traditional storytelling should be at the top of every speaker's list of priorities.

Here are three foundational reasons that storytelling helps you improve your presentation skills:

1. Storytelling teaches you to think on your feet. When you learn to be a good storyteller, telling stories to all sizes of audiences from 2 or 2000 people, you must learn to adjust your energy and pace to match the audience reaction. "Reading" or understanding the mood, energy, and desires of your audience is a good communication skill at all levels.

2. Storytelling teaches you to be spontaneous. While you are learning to tell a story, you focus on thinking about your story in an outline form, or episode-by-episode. Good storytellers do not memorize their stories word-for-word and do not use notes or other ways of reading their stories. No matter how you are communicating, it is never a good idea to deliver a canned, memorized speech to anyone. As a storyteller, you learn to rely on your ability to "see" a story as it happens, letting different parts of the story take precedence at different times. You will never tell a story the same way twice just as you should never speak to an audience like any audience before it.

3. Storytelling helps you to think about the deeper meanings of your content. Almost all stories carry some type of moral or ethical message and understanding. As you adapt personal and world stories to your presentations, you will start thinking deeper about the meaning of your communications. Of course, you may or may not act on those meanings, but you will generally find your presentations more satisfying as you understand their impact on your listeners.

All cultures use storytelling. Storytelling is a universal language and a core-skill for all presenters. My best public-speaking tip: seek out learning and coaching in the art of storytelling and work stories into all your presentations.

Sean Buvala is a professional storyteller, the director of and a nationally recognized storytelling consultant. Please
see his website to learn more about his storytelling techniques for corporate training. You can learn how to tell a story through his Ebook at

The official blog for
K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

How To Tell A Story

How to Tell a Story?

One of the most searched-for communication skills on the Internet is "how to tell a story." I would like to give you a quick step-by-step guide to this process of story telling, drawn from my 30+ years of being a professional storyteller. This is the fast and quick method to learn a new story.

1. Decide on a story. Sounds elementary, but at some point, you need to find a story that you love. If you are having problems, search the Internet for some simple Aesop fables or find some good stories at a site like .

2. Break the story down into an outline of events so that you can remember the episodes of each story.

You have two choices for step three. Do one or both if you would like.

3A. Write out or draw out the parts of the story. Using longhand, that means pencil and paper, write out the episodes of the story in your own words. Do not copy the story. Rewrite it in your own words. Doing this process by hand allows your brain to overcome any resistance you might have to the story. Knowing you can do this process with your story is also a way for your brain to overcome some fear of public speaking that might hinder you from telling this story.

3B. The other way to break down a story is via "storyboarding," a technique that many storytellers use. Take a letter-sized piece of paper. Fold it in half along the length. You now have an eleven inch piece of pager that looks like a taco. Then, fold the right side up against the left and then fold the same way again. When you unfold the paper you will have a piece of paper divided into 8 segments.

Starting at the top segment, draw out each step of the story. This is only for you to learn so stick figures and bad drawings are just fine. This visual method may help you grasp the story better than writing alone.

4. Begin to tell yourself the story, aloud, using your own words while looking at one of the #3 tools above. Repeat this process several times.

5. Think about the story you are telling. Are there parts of the story that do not really need to be there? Do they drag down the story? Cross them off the list or the storyboard and tell yourself the story one more time with those parts of the story removed. Again, at each of these times, you are speaking your story aloud. Let your face get a feel for the story.

6. Put your notes down and tell yourself the story a few more times. This is a great exercise to do while you are driving your car or cleaning your house. Just keep talking to yourself.

7. Call up a friend or find an associate and tell them your story. Use no notes or storyboard. When you finish telling the story to your associate, ask them if it makes sense to them. Did they think you left out any parts? This is not the time to see if they "get it" or understand the deep meanings. You just want to know if the essential delivery of the story makes sense.

8. As your confidence in the story grows, you will want to start thinking about the emotions represented by different words in the story. You may find that you wish to emphasize one part or character over another. These things come with time. If you feel better about saying "once upon a time" at the beginning or "the end" as one of your story endings, then do so. As you grow to understand storytelling even more, you will learn so many other ways to start or end a story.

9. When it is time for your story's debut, be confident. Look at your audience. Speak clearly. Slow down and enjoy the story experience. As a professional storyteller, I can tell you that it takes a dozen or more tellings of a story to find the your true rhythm and delivery for each story.

There you have it, how to tell a great story! This is a quick, get-it-now guide to storytelling. There is so much more you can learn about how to tell a story. Remember- get started today telling stories. Like a painter who must paint often to get better at painting, you, too, must speak stories often and to many groups in order to improve.

Some resources:
For hundreds of articles and stories, please visit To order the EWorkbook on storytelling that includes live coaching and audio files, please visit

Based in Arizona, Sean Buvala is a full-time professional storyteller and storytelling consultant who works throughout North America teaching storytelling for business. Along with storytelling techniques for corporate communication, Sean is also sought after for teaching storytelling for teachers of middle school and high-school students. For more information about Sean's work as a storytelling coach, please see his site at

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Video: How to Use Gestures in Storytelling and Public Speaking

Here's a brand new, eight-minute video on using gestures in storytelling and public speaking skills. We are thinking about making a series of storytelling techniques videos. Storytelling for teens? Storytelling for business? This is a prototype we assembled here in the office. (I said "we" like I have a monkey in shirt pocket.)YouTube of course botches the quality of these things but you can see a High-Quality version at YouTube or I can get you the 1.7 Gig version if you want it. Don't watch it in full-screen. Eww.

Have fun watching. It was fun to make. Any of you video production people want to joint venture with me on a project? Ahem.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Storytelling Techniques in an Eworkbook from an Experienced Storytelling Consultant.

Would you like to start learning storytelling techniques- right now?

Wow! We've relaunched the "Storytelling 101" Workbook as an Ebook project. You now get immediate access to the workbook in a an immediate download. I am so happy about this new facelift to this project.

I have been a storytelling coach for a few decades and I understand what people want and need from a storytelling consultant. I've packed these exercises into this workbook and you can be learning from me in just a few minutes.

In addition, you get a chance to pick the brain of storytelling trainer: ME! Buy the book and you get free telephone story coaching with me. There are also two storytelling teleseminars included in the kit once you register your purchase.

I am very proud of how we could put this "storytelling consultant" idea into a downloadable Ebook.

Please come learn more at Your purchase is backed by a one-year 100% promise of satisfaction.

Thanks for your time. Come get my book. We've got this priced right now at an amount that I won't be able to offer for long.

By the way, you can get a free storytelling Ecourse from me. Just look over there in the sidebar to sign up. The Ecourse is not nearly as in-depth as the Ebook of storytelling techniques, but you'll still learn a bunch- and at no cost.


The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Get My Daily Tips On Twitter

At noon (AZ time) every day, Monday through Friday, I post a a storytelling tip or concept. I have to be very succinct to get it to 120 characters. The other 20 characters are take up in the title.

Here's a sample:

Come follow me on Twitter to get these mini ideas. I am having much fun with them. My user name is @storyteller .

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Storytelling in Business Podcast: Storytelling is Not a Soft Skill.

The next episode of our "Storytelling and Narrative for Business Podcast" is ready for you!

Episode Four: "Storytelling is Not a 'Soft Skill': Sure Looked Easy"
Sean brings you some tough-love this week to help you understand that storytelling is a "hard skill" for your business. Fail that understanding and things can go bad. Get real coaching and training to sharpen your skills.

Listen in: Episode Four

Find all the podcasts in this series on this page here.

Sponsored by: Executive Speaker Training Workshops.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Are Videos Really Storytelling?

Over at Kathy Hansen's excellent blog, A Storied Career, she posted a very popular video that's floating around the Internet. It's a visual explanation of the financial crisis. I truly enjoy Kathy's blog and think she's one of the few quality and consistent bloggers for storytelling out there.

I disagreed, in this case, that the video was storytelling. Regarding the video and digital storytelling, my casual comments I left were:

It's informative.
It's useful.
It's fun to watch.
It's a great video experience.
It's educational.
It's a way to understand a complex subject.
It should be seen by many people.
It's something that I am glad that I watched.
It's something that deserves attention.

It doesn't need to tagged as storytelling to make it valuable. It stands well on it's own as a powerful video that serves a good purpose. It has value as art in its use of video.

If everything is storytelling, then nothing is storytelling.

It's not storytelling.

A hammer is no less a valuable tool just because it's not a screwdriver.

This video doesn't have to be storytelling in order to still be excellent.

And it is excellent.

Kathy, you have illustrated the a real issue: Just what is storytelling?

For me, storytelling takes people. I have videos on YouTube of me doing storytelling, but the videos are *not* storytelling. They are video records of my storytelling and they pale by compare to the video quality and technique of the above video you posted.

We do a disservice to both storytelling expertise and video expertise by not treating each to its own unique charism and definition.

I can talk about the financial crisis by retelling (speaking) the stories of others or using world tales to illustrate the meaning. A program of these stories, used to frame the video above, would be a powerful evening of conveying an idea through the dual communication methods of storytelling and video.

If I had to attach a shelf to a wall, I would have different tools to choose from based on how I wanted the shelf attached. I could use a hammer, screwdriver or glue gun, for example. Each is a different way of getting to the same goal.

If I had to talk about the financial crisis, I could choose different tools based on how I wanted the audience to understand the issue. I could use oral storytelling, writing, video or dance. Each is a different way of getting to the same goal.

I shall stop rambling now.

Let's stop calling all communication storytelling. Let's recognize that there are many ways to get a message out and storytelling, the one-to-one even-in-a-crowd oral technique (or ASL), is one very exciting way. Let's not dilute everything into one single pool called storytelling. Let's value the many ways to express story.

Having practiced and taught the art of storytelling for many years, I think it's the most effective and cost effective way to communicate. However, I know that all art forms (video included) are equally important contributors to the conversation.

By the way, add Kathy's blog to your regular reading. It's that good.

The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

National Professional Storyteller Brings Live, Literacy-Building Performance to Maryvale-Area (Arizona) School

Press Release Immediate Release

National Professional Storyteller Brings Live, Literacy-Building Performance to Maryvale-Area School on Friday, February 27, 2009.

Avondale Arizona- As part of the literacy program of "Read Across America," the students at Lela Alston Elementary School in the Maryvale area of the West Valley will be treated to a presentation by national professional storyteller K. Sean Buvala on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 11:00 in the morning. The school is located at 4006 West Osborn Road in Phoenix.

As a presenter for the school's "Read Across America Program," Sean Buvala will use oral storytelling to entice the students to explore the many great books in the libraries in their neighborhoods and school. Mr. Buvala is donating the performance to the low-income school.

"As a storyteller, I don't actually read books to students," Mr. Buvala said. "Rather, through the use of the oral tradition, my stories excite kids to jump up and go directly to the 398.2 section of the library to find many of the stories I've told them. Often, at the end of my programs, I will tell students just the first half of a story. After the final applause, it never fails that students will immediately go to the bookshelves to find the final portion of the story. I have even seen a few teachers peruse the library or the classroom Internet to find the story themselves."

Research indicates that teaching children to create and communicate with oral storytelling improves reading and writing skills and test scores. Buvala stated, "Oral storytelling not only encourages kids to use their imaginations but helps with other skills such as sequencing and vocabulary development. Principals have told me that adding storytelling and other performing arts increases the overall test scores of the students. Over the last several decades, I have been honored to help bring the power of story to so many schools and certainly am glad to help Alston school achieve their goals as well."

Sean Buvala, the director of with more than two decades of national experience, is especially glad to help schools in his home state of Arizona. "I travel frequently to teach in a variety of corporate and school settings. It is always an honor and even fun to do things here in my own hometown. Most recently, I did a tour of the Washington school district here and that was a very unique opportunity to be involved in my own community."

Mr. Buvala, who also teaches corporate storytelling workshops in Avondale, Arizona, can be reached at his website at For more information about the Lela Alston Elementary school, please contact their office at (602) 442-3000.

Contact Information
K. Sean Buvala
(623) 298-4548


The official blog for K. Sean Buvala, storyteller and storytelling coach.