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Become a successful storyteller

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Annette Simmons

travels from USA

Storyteller and author helping her clients and audiences improve their storytelling skills in engaging keynotes

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About Annette

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Keynote speaker Annette Simmons, the founder of Group Process Consulting, has focused on improved dialogue and storytelling for more than a decade. She shows how the good stories and best storytellers are the most successful in business. She helps audiences improve their storytelling abilities and create collaborative environments.

Annette founded Group Process Consulting in 1996 after a ten year career in international business. She followed her degree in marketing from Louisiana State University in 1983 with a Masters Degree in social psychology and adult education at North Carolina State University.

After founding GPC Annette initially delivered training and facilitation to stimulate dialogue and overcome turf wars.  In 1998, Annette designed a course to teach storytelling via the Office of Personnel Management’s  leadership training for United States Government executives.  This course resulted in her books on storytelling.  Annette continues to provide leadership training, keynote speeches, and workshops covering the subjects of all her books.

Annette Simmons has written four very successful books including The Story Factor (Basic Books, 2006) named as one of The 100 Best Business Books of All Time (Penguin, 2009).  She also wrote Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins (AMACOM, 2008),  A Safe Place for Dangerous Truth (AMACOM, 1998), and Territorial Games: Understanding and Ending Turf Wars at Work (AMACOM, 1997).

A guest on talk radio and web podcasts, she has been quoted in Fortune, Working Woman, Harvard Business Review, The Chicago Tribune, Washington Post, and dozens of other respected publications.  In addition to English her books have been published in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Taiwanese, Japanese, Norwegian, Korean, Swedish and German.

See keynotes with Annette Simmons

    Keynote by Speaker Annette Simmons

    The Story Factor/ Whoever Tells the Best Story Wins

    • The people you want to influence don’t want more information – they want faith. Faith in you, your ideas, your plan…your story.
    • How can you tell your story in a way that is compelling? believable? long lasting?
    • Discover how to tell a story that awakens people’s faith in you. They are more interested in what they see in your eyes than what they see in your powerpoint presentation.
    • Every human being has a story to tell. Story is how we give meaning to our work, our ideas, our lives. People crave meaning. They will pursue almost any “what” if you deliver a meaningful “why” through the story you tell.
    • Armed with a powerful story unbearable frustrations become tolerable and impossible odds seem less daunting.
    • Storytelling is an ancient art easily adapted to today’s business world.
    • Annette Simmons unlocks the secret of finding and telling inspirational stories.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Annette Simmons

    Territorial Games: The Saboteur of Collaboration

    • Power, position, property. It’s been the name of the game throughout human history. And now territorial instincts are showing up more than ever as “people fight for more of the less they are supposed to be doing more with!”
    • Anyone that needs cooperation across departmental, functional or international boundaries in spite of cultural differences needs to better understand the human dynamics that divides “us” from “them” – even when it is in our own best interests to work together.
    • Discover how to tame the warring tribes by learning about the emotional origins of turf wars, and the ten territorial games (like camouflage, occupation, shunning, intimidation, etc.) that these emotions generate.
    • Understanding the territorial dynamics that can hi-jack common sense will help you dismantle departmental, regional or pre-merger boundaries, diffuse the empire builders, and prevent ‘silo’ effects from sabotaging team efforts.
    • One recent participant said, “I didn’t know there was actually a term for what I see everyday on the job”
    • Not only is there “a term” for these previously covert activities, but there are solutions as well.
    • Annette offers practical and realistic suggestions for what you can do to stop the game playing and get back to business.

     

    Keynote by Speaker Annette Simmons

    How to Create a Safe Place for Dangerous Truths a/k/a “the elephant in the room”

    • If the “truth will set us free”…Where is it? Who has it? How will we know it when we see it?
    • ‘Dangerous truths” are a gateway to creative solutions and shared responsibility.
    • Un-discussable truths may cripple a group, but when you learn how to discuss the un-discussable you learn that you can also solve the unsolvable.
    • Facing the scary stuff allows us to trade what we see for what “they” see and grasp a bigger picture.
    • In today’s world what you know depends on who you know, how recently you spoke to them, and how much truth they chose to tell you.
    • Vital information goes undetected in places where speaking the “truth” is perceived as career suicide. Dialogue is a way for a work group to get “un-stuck” when frustration and apathy threatens forward progress.
    • Annette Simmons explores some of the dangerous truths currently sabotaging the workplace and the risks and rewards of truth telling.
    • Learn the art of creating a safe haven so “truths” do not deteriorate into blame sessions, scape-goating, or hopelessness.
10.08.2014

Interview with Annette Simmons

What types of talks are you typically asked to give?

Often I deliver the keynote for a conference or for larger conferences a general session keynote. When an event has breakout sessions, I offer to do a short workshop after the keynote for those people who want more information or talk in person.

I also offer a half or one day workshop for groups from 15 to 250. Several times I’ve taught storytelling to 250 +/- people facilitate for practice sessions so each individual gets personal attention

How did you become a public speaker?

Early in my career, I found if I could just give a presentation I had an excellent chance of closing a deal or beginning a project.  I had a knack for it.  In 1998, American Management Association selected my first book, “Territorial Games,” as the free gift for membership renewal. Suddenly 40,000 of my books were in circulation. I spoke at several conferences and found I loved the simultaneous goals of teaching and entertaining.

What type of audience benefits most from your keynotes?

The beauty of teaching storytelling is that it will improve all communication.  I’ve worked with patient safety officers, global marketing teams, and software designers. I like to work with people who think storytelling is too hard to do, or too soft to be measured. I also enjoy turning apathy into action.

There is a lot of leverage when people learn how to intervene at the level of our common humanity. Humans all need a story to make meaning and we all need to know where to draw territorial lines. Because I’ve worked internationally for two decades, culturally diverse cultures recognize my experience in the examples I give and the stories I tell.

How do you work with clients when preparing for a keynote?

In addition to a client’s audience’s demographics and job descriptions I like to invest in a few personal phone calls to collect stories unique to my audience.  I usually discover hidden questions, good stories, and a little jargon to make my speech more relevant.

Which issues do you cover in your talk about Territorial Games?

The beginning validates that humans have a primal desire to control their environment.  A sense of control over our lives is a major ingredient to happiness. We discuss how unexamined control needs can get out of hand and find some comic relief talking about the ten games “other people” play escalating into ego battles, information hoarding, even misdirection in an effort to control “territory.”

Humor about those “other people” who play these games begins to create audience awareness that everyone – including themselves – play games. When we unconsciously hoard information, protect relationships, or control access to decision processes other’s return in kind. Building a “no fault” theory makes it save to re-examine past behaviors and build awareness that changes future behaviors. We then review ways to bring down the walls, cross territorial boundaries, and build better connections. This speech sequentially reduces defenses, provides insight, and embeds new more collaborative behaviors for future interactions.

What is your most popular keynote?

The Story Factor is the most popular. Interest in storytelling has exploded since I published the first edition of “The Story Factor” in 2001. Because I was one of the first people to call attention to the value of storytelling, people realize I have a lot of experience to share about how stories can transform communication.

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Keynote topics with Annette Simmons