July 14, 2020 |

Facilitating with Stories: The Story Cookbook Vol 2 – Story Bistro

Do you use stories as part of your facilitation practice?  Are you interested or passionate about working with story and narratives within your group work and facilitation? If so you are invited to join us for the Story Bistro a special online series of experiential and collaborative conversations about facilitating with stories.

Cathryn Lloyd and I are excited to announce that we’ve started curating the second volume of The Story Cookbook, and we would love to invite all those who are interested to set sail with us for a special series of conversations that will see us:

  • Connect as a community of practitioners
  • Experiment and learn with activities from the first Story Cookbook: practical recipes for change
  • Collaboratively explore the provenance and personal philosophy of your facilitation practices and specifically how story and narratives relate to your practice
  • Experiment and test new story-based activities which can become part of a contribution to the volume 2 and your facilitation practice

The series of conversational experiential workshops will begin on Wednesday 12th August running from 7-9pm and continue through the 19th and 26th August.  The schedule for the sessions is listed below:

  • Session 1 – Wednesday 12th August 7-9pm AEST– Opening up and playing with The Story Cookbook Vol 1 Activities and diving into Facilitation Philosophies
  • Session 2 – Wednesday 19th August 7-9pm AEST– Deepening of Facilitation Philosophy Stories and exploring New Story Activities through the Experimental Story Hub
  • Session 3 – Wednesday 26th August 7-9pm AEST – New Story Activities Open Space and next steps for Volume 2 cookbook

Click here to Register

We’ll look forward to seeing you!

— Andrew Rixon and Cathryn Lloyd

January 16, 2020 |

Reflections on The Story Conference 2019

Celebrating its 10 year anniversary, the Story Conference reconvened for the fifth time returning to its origins at the Abbotsford Convent in Melbourne. Running November 27-29th 2019 it was an enriching experience. (Click here to read some participants 6 word stories reflecting on the conference.)

The theme of the conference was Work-Health and Well-being, and following a rich Opening welcome address to the conference with contributions from Bob Dick and Christine Carlton  – we saw a really rich and diverse collection of workshop presenters (national and international!) sharing on the many different ways that we can work with story and narratives and how they impact our lives. As shared by one of our conference attendees:

“This was a brilliant, stimulating smorgasbord of inspiring people, all passionate about transformational possibilities and the power of story. A great experience for head and heart!” –Suzanne Walshe


“The Story Conference is much more than how stories can influence our perceptions, but it’s also a place to connect with knowledgeable peers from cross industries while gaining skills which can be used on ourselves and others.” – Ivan Chew

It was great to see the relationship building power of story working, both during the conference, but also keeping together old bonds formed 10 years ago at the inception of the conference series as well. Nicely reflected too by another conference participant:

“The Story Conference was one of the most collegial conferences I have attended and I came away with not only a wealth of new knowledge about the use of story in work, health and wellbeing, but also a wonderful group of new friends.” – Leanne Dodd



Melbourne Playback Theatre have been one of my favourite parts of all the Story Conferences, and they didn’t disappoint again in helping to bring the conference to a close through the power of interactive playback storytelling. As one participant shares, there was a nice balance of reflection and excitement throughout not only the closing performance but also the Story conference as a whole.

“The energy and atmosphere were electric in times of high excitement the then there were times of quiet reflection and the venue accommodated for all activities with grace and practicality. Loved the venue.” – Chris Latimer

The combination of these elements help to bring about a unique spirit that is part of The Story Conferences. “There is a spirit about The Story Conferences, optimistic, giving and communal.” – Simon Kneebone


All in all, it was an inspiring way to finish off 2019. Such a successful conference couldn’t happen without a great team behind it, so a big thank you to Daryl, Russel, Simon, Jo, Cathryn, Todd, Annie, Russell, Andrew and Sascha!

“The Story Conference is a great chance to sample a diverse range of story skills from telling to creating and owning.  The time to review your own story and to learn how other people include story in their work, from a variety of industries was inspiring and insightful.” –Cherelle Whitney

So what next?

Well, one of the exciting outcomes will see the work begin on 2 new books emerging from the conference. Interested? Check-out our call for contributors here. The next Story Conference will be once we’ve completed these. 😉 (Which will of course – provide another marvellous opportunity to connect, collaborate, explore and have a pic taken together like this one with all our The Story Cookbook co-contributors!)

Until then, I’ll look forward to seeing what will emerge from this unique and intimate community of practice.

“This conference helps to foster the use of stories to give voice to people’s experiences. It is an intimate community of practice.” – Geof Hill

January 16, 2020 |

6 Word Stories reflecting on The Story Conference 2019

The six word story was supposedly made famous by Ernest Hemmingway with “For sale, baby shoes, never worn” … it also forms a great way to quickly and effectively invite people to reflect on a topic or area of inquiry.. as has been described in Activity 87 – 6-word-memoirs contributed by Russel Deal in The Story Cookbook.

What follows below are a collection of 6 word stories conference participants shared when asked to reflect on the Story Conference 2019 held November 27-29th:

Great networking, highly enthused, still talking!
Personal storytelling drives reflection, learning, direction.
Play in the woods before dark
Low key process threads through story-interaction.
Arrived anxious, dwelt comfortably, left inspired
Hi there. Tell me your story.
Echoes of present, past and future
Words and feelings, partners in crime.
Believe, you can rewrite your story
Tellers of stories are teachers undiscovered
big rooms,full of of stories and people.
I love this 6 word play…so I have some choices:    My Story, Your Story, Our Story   or  Our stories create courage and connection.   or  Old Stories + New Stories = Change  or  Our reality is in our stories.
committed people, who care, great work
Story telling is best with friends.
Three days’ food feeds for years.
People learning together, through stories shared.
Delightful inviting warm stimulating balanced happiness
Inbox three messages. new friends made.
Open mind, open heart? Empowered stories.
So many stories…many common threads
Intrigued, I step into discovery mode.
I have nothing to say.
new insights, to share and use
Plenty of fun, emotions at play.
Storytellers came, told, listened and broke bread together.
Own your story, not another’s story
Sharing story experiences doing good
opening hearts and minds against silence
Fantastic company, stories shared, enlightenment received
Time to share with story lovers.
Stories bring us all together, better.
We gather  Over stores  Experiences shared
Stories are both unique and universal.
It’s not hemmingway but I will try: wonderful people, great ideas, open minds, caring hearts and new inspiration.
My story won’t die with me
Lovely people, wonderful workshops, excellent environment
Lived experiences, bare feet, changing directions
Change through story; who’d have thought…….
Anxious hopes  great exchange, new journies
I met an amazing interesting human
Flowing words, warm company, soul food.
We changed a story when needed
awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome, awesome,
Untold stories told, hearts aerated, complete.
Life is story, stories are life.

November 20, 2019 |

Lisa Evans – The Power of Your Story

Stories have the power to heal, inspire, educate and connect. Humans are hard-wired to share stories, and when we share a story we can create an incredible moment between teller and listener, and when we do something magical takes place.

This session will see:

  • How to mine, refine and polish your story gems.
  • Discover how to share your story to connect, inspire, and captivate.
  • How to create a personal story based on 5 C’s of Compelling Storytelling. A simple formula to storytelling success.

About Lisa Evans:

Lisa Evans is known as The Story Midwife. Lisa is an international keynote speaker, author of three books, a Certified World Class Speaking and Storytelling Coach, a TEDx speaker coach, Media Trainer with Media Stable, and an improvisation actor with Perth Playback Theatre.

Lisa helps her clients mine, refine and deliver captivating stories for their business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, ballroom, platform or podium she helps them craft powerful presentations with compelling stories that are hard to forget.

Before her transformational journey, Lisa worked for over 20 years as a midwife. Her purpose these days is to help bring life into the world in the form of stories and to empower others to speak with confidence.

November 3, 2019 |

Whose Lines Are They Anyway? Co-constructing useful stories as a leader and coach

As a leader or as a coach, you need to ensure that you are shaping stories that move things in the right direction. Dive into this pragmatic 90-minute sweet spot of Solutions Focus, Applied Improvisation and Storytelling to generate powerful ways of communicating with audiences, colleagues and clients.

This workshop takes you step by step through activities that will have you telling stories as never before. Drawing on lessons from journalism, PR, theatre, film-making, psychology and your own rich experiences, you will:

  • Gain a fresh appreciation of the importance of the stories you are telling
  • Improve your skills at making stories compelling and memorable
  • Learn how to co-create life-enhancing stories with your different audiences

Once upon a time, any story would do. No longer. Audiences have zero tolerance for boredom. And what we are working on is too important to get wrong. You can no longer afford to repel the audiences you need to attract.

Let’s tell better stories.

About your Workshop Leaders

Paul Z Jackson is a consultant, facilitator and coach, previously a journalist, theatre director and BBC comedy producer. Author or co-author of several books about improvisation, coaching and organisations, he’s on the accreditation team of the UK Association of Solution Focused Practice and President Emeritus of the Applied Improvisation Network.

Janine Waldman MSc FCIPD is an executive coach, organisational development consultant and facilitator specialising in positive approaches to change. Attracting a wide range of clients from DP World and Zain Telecommunications to Metropolitan Police, Imperial College, local authorities and charities, she is co-author of  ‘Positively Speaking: The Art of Constructive Conversations with a Solutions Focus’ and ‘The Resilience Pocketbook’.

September 12, 2019 |

Did you miss the Online Summit? Here are some resources

Great to host the Online Summit, and a big thank you to our Story Conference pre-conference workshop presenters of: Yamini Naidu, Lisa Evans, Samantha Hardy, David Newman and Cathryn Lloyd for being part our Online Summit held yesterday!

It was a great event exploring various perspectives of using story and narrative techniques, and in case you were unable to attend here are a few resources from the event for you:

There is also a special discount code available within the main slide-deck – which provides you access to register for the story conference at the special Early-Bird rate. Interested? Simply click the link below to register!

August 26, 2019 |

10 Reasons to attend this years Story Conference

This year the Story Conference running from November 27-29th 2019 celebrates its 10 year anniversary and here’s 10 great reasons to attend and join with this great community of practice.

  1. Great location! – Returning to the venue of the first Story Conference – the conference this year themed on work-health-and-wellbeing will be at tranquil Abbotsford Convent
  2. Great food! Yes – we know the secret to a fantastic conference is the food and you’ll enjoy delicious lunches from the Abbotsford Convent Bakery
  3. A delicious conference dinner will provide a great way to relax and soak up the atmosphere of a Melbourne institution
  4. Four key streams of the conference focussed on: Storytelling tools and techniques, Personal development and transformation, Stories in Communities and Organisations, The role of Stories in Well-being
  5. Pre-conference workshops to choose from to get you warmed up to ways of working with story and narratives
  6. 32 great workshops to choose from with workshop leaders from all around Australia…. and the world!
  7. Melbourne Playback Theatre is performing…twice!
  8. The great learnings and insights …  With workshops ranging from Narrative Competence in Healthcare to How to lead with Humour, and Rewriting your fitness story to The Future of Belonging, there is literally a smorgasboard of learnings awaiting…
  9. We’ve had a history of superb feedback on how engaging, interactive, community building and simply fun this conference is! (Read here more about the last conference here)
  10. The people!  Over the years what we’ve noticed is that it’s the people that really make this conference. Come along and join in with this great community of practice exploring the many and various ways that stories and narratives can emerge and impact on our work, health and well-being.

Wondering how to register?  Simply click here.

August 21, 2019 |

Sandy McDonald – Changing the Narrative

A voice is only empowered if it’s heard. First we must manage attention, an increasingly scarce human resource in a world of overwhelming information and hyper connectivity.

Brain science shows us why emotionally charged, character-driven story holds the key first to holding attention, then producing in our listeners empathy, trust, a sense of belonging and a willingness to co-operate.

When we understand how stories told in context work to do this, then we can employ them to change a hopeless, or negative narrative into one that fuels clarity, vision and collaboration.

In this workshop, Sandy demonstrates through her own unique experience of storytelling to build a worldwide community, the framework that introduces the context for telling stories and how we can harness the power of story to propagate good in the world.

Through a mix of presentation and practical application participants will learn:

  • why and how story works • how story changes the narrative  •  the context for telling story, • the five big concepts that uncover our authentic stories — clarity, curiosity, truth, trust and insight  • how to structure and craft story

About Sandy McDonald:

Sandy McDonald is an author, a TEDx speaker, and a storytelling trainer, working with business and academia to bring clarity of communication through purpose-led story.

After 22 years running a marketing communication company, she used purposeful storytelling to start a worldwide community of more than 20,000 in 71 countries that helps thousands of orphaned children in Africa today.

Her TEDx talk about this, Tell Your Story. Save a Life, received a standing ovation, and her book, Clans, Supercharge Your Business, details the framework that achieved the success.

Sharing the remarkable science behind why stories impact on our brain to build trust, she demonstrates why the correlation between storytelling and an individual’s purpose boosts recall and a willingness to cooperate.

Sandy is a fierce proponent of sharing the wisdom accumulated in a lifetime through story as a legacy to better humanity, and is known for helping people convert the complexity of their world into memorable stories to enrich, transform, or even save lives.

August 13, 2019 |

Online Story Summit – September 11th

 Online Story Summit – September 11th from 12-1pm Melbourne Time

Imagine. You’ve reached the summit. A place which has intensity, beauty and inspiration. This is exactly the experience which we invite you to join us for on September 11th running from 12-1pm Melbourne time, where you can join a very special selection of intrepid story entrepreneurs as they share about their journeys and key learnings about using story and narrative techniques to influence work, health and well-being.

Are you interested in any of the following:

  • How to use humour and humorous stories safely and professionally at work?
  • How to create compelling stories for any occasion?
  • How people tell stories about conflict and the impact this has?
  • How story listening and story telling activities can build relationships and inspire change?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then this special free online event is for you, and it will see you gaining the opportunity to meet, engage and learn with the following great leaders in the application of Story and Narrative Techniques as they share about their exciting upcoming pre-conference workshops that are part of this years Story Conference:

The online summit event will be hosted using Zoom technology.

Like to register?

It’s simple – click here.

I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

June 22, 2019 |

6 word story contest — And the Winner is

Congratulations to Melissa M … Winner of the 6 word story contest!

Melissa’s winning 6 word story entry had 19 votes and was:

“Working in collaboration to empower change”