Story as Catalyst: How to Tell Stories that Motivate, Persuade and Galvanize People


Because people have been telling each other stories to convey experiences, ideas and thoughts since the dawn of human time, storytelling is equally as vital for adults as it is for children and can be a powerful tool to persuade and motivate others. Yet storytelling is an art for it takes skill to be able to imbue facts/abstract thought with the human dimension and help people make sense of and connect to their communities and the surrounding world. Story as Catalyst will be an excellent introduction to this age-old craft. Through this practical, hands-on workshop, you will listen to some stories, understand how storytelling works and gain some tips on how to tell stories that will capture the attention of adults and move them.

By the end of this workshop, participants will:

  • Experience the joy of listening to stories
  • Understand the value of storytelling
  • Understand the difference between storytelling and public speaking, and
  • Gain some practical tips on how to structure and tell stories effectively.

Areas Covered

  • What is a story?
  • Choosing the right story: factors to consider
  • Learning and connecting with your story
  • Using your voice and body to bring stories alive
  • Relating to your audience

Pre-Workshop Preparation

For Participants

  • Participants who are able to communicate fluently in English are welcome.
  • If you have an anecdote/short story (max length: 1 A4 page) that you would like to learn to tell, please bring it along to the workshop.

For Organisers

  • Please make available a fair-sized room that can easily accommodate all the workshop participants and the facilitator (seated in a circular formation). Please make sure that any other tables and chairs are stored against the wall or outside the room so that the participants have space to move freely about the space when they do the various exercises.
  • Please provide a large whiteboard and pens as well as access to computer/computer projection to show PowerPoint slides.
  • Please provide paper and pen/pencil for some writing exercises.
  • Please make copies of handouts that will be emailed to prior to the workshop.


Participants' Feedback


What aspects of this workshop benefitted you the most?

"The practical storytelling & then disecting the exercise. But I loved your storytelling as well. Thank you so much! It was fun."

Ritika Arya

"1. The practice sessions.
2. Diverse background participants — each listener to my story gave a useful different feedback. And the questions asked by others gave so much insight through answers.
Because Verena has so much knowledge, that she enriched us."

Geeta J.

"Since I am from field of NGO, that works with children & youths in sports & education, and I have to interact with children & youths most of the time. Therefore this (workshop) would be really helpful for me to keep them engaged with our NGO. Personally, I (never knew) story could help to motivate, inspire and keep the audience engage with your various character roles and word style. Thank you very much for providing this opportunity to learn new things and work effectively."

Surajsantosh Patro

"Seeing you enact/narrate the story and learning all the ways to engage the audience and pep-up the story."

Arathi Luthra Pinto

"I had never thought of storytelling as a 'science' — something that has so many aspects. This workshop helped to bridge the gap between the art & science of storytelling.
Absolutely loved the passion and constant engagement with the audience."

Santanu Bhattacharya

"The exercise of storytelling in pairs was helpful to exchange feedback with different people and improvise in accordance."

Priyanka Saha

"Extremely engaging and informative. Lots of useful tips and skills."

Raghav Tomans

"Listening to you! You exhibited all of the points we spoke about later.
Loved your session. Makes me so much more conscious of storytelling on a daily basis."


"One of the best workshops I've attended. I consumed & also produced. Loved that balance. I loved the stories you narrated."

Harsh Swaminarayan

"Storytelling activity: helped all the theoretical elements & discussion points come alive."

Puneet Goenba

"1. The storytelling tips. 2. The wealth of information and experience of speaker.
Really liked the format of the workshop. Impressed with the knowledge of the speaker."

Sundeep Narwani

About the Facilitator

A Singaporean writer, editor, storyteller and theatre practitioner, Verena Tay has published a short story collection, Spectre: Stories from Dark to Light (2012), and three play collections, and edited various fiction anthologies, including the bestselling Balik Kampung series of short stories published by Math Paper Press. She possesses three Masters: English Literature (National University of Singapore, 1993); Voice Studies (Central School of Speech and Drama, London, 2005); and Creative Writing (City University of Hong Kong, 2015). Since 2005, she has been helping people to improve their communication skills and has taught voice, speech and presentation skills, storytelling and creative writing.