Words That Change

Making stories happen

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Welcome > Archive by category "Storytelling"

In the end, stories are all we have

Parool pic

Amsterdam’s daily newspaper Het Parool recently interviewed me about storytelling. The interview is in Dutch, so I’ve translated one of the passages below.

People need human contact, especially with much online. They want a feeling of living in a community. Coming together and listening to a story gives a feeling of connection that so many of us miss.

It’s as true for wider society, as it is in business. I wonder where you can create more connection in your work?


Telling other people’s stories

What to expect at the Media Trust story training for non-profits on 4 December – to which you can sign up here.

It’s rare now to see non-profit organisations talking only about themselves. Instead they are becoming very good at telling the stories of other people: the ones that speak for themselves about the good work we do. In this way, the third sector is blazing a trail for other sectors to follow. It has, after all, a lot of outstanding stories to tell.

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A rare turn of intimacy in Scottish referendum ‘no’ campaign

I’ve been watching the Scottish independence referendum with interest, as you’d expect of an Englishman that lived in Edinburgh for five years. While I do hope the Scots flip the switch on the UK in 9 days and vote ‘Yes’, that is not what is interesting me particularly. As a storyteller, I want to zero in on a particular event that happened today that I thought revealed an interesting truth about storytelling: that the more you have a stake in what you are talking about, the more you are committed, the greater your credibility.

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Cultural Responsibility of Language | Conscious Connection Magazine

Elevating our quality of language has the potential to transform businesses and community through expecting greater responsibility from the listener. An article published for Conscious Connection Magazine.

One of the gifts of social media has been its ability to pull out of us an immediate spontaneity. Those who succeed on social media are alive to what they experience and pull a creativity out of themselves that is restricted by strategy or being too carefully thought through.

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How to get 60 people telling a story together

Photo (c) Rianne Hordijk

Everyone likes a story, but what does it take to make one effective?

On Sunday I was asked by social media platforms Peerby and Konnektid to ‘do some storytelling’ at their global sharing picnic. The open brief got me thinking up some mischief – how to get a large bunch of people, thinking and moving together?

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In a world of noise, quietness rings loudest


A connection is a precious thing and using words to find them a delicate art.

There is so much text in today’s society that constructing attractive, deeply resonant words, becoming less recognised – even as it becomes more effective. It is effective because taking this long to say anything engenders a great deal of trust in the reader, and this is rewarded with an improved relationship.

We need quiet writers. We need people who listen and who can provoke listening in others. A quality of attention given by the writer, provokes a similar response in the reader. Loudness is dying as a tactic and while it may get high volume, it is quick to pass by customers by. It may get traffic, but it will make less psychological imprint. The people who would like to read and understand, are more likely to take your business further.

Words That Change works with stories and words that use, and therefore to capture, high quality attention. We work with speakers, writers and teams to bring out their stories and create meaning between you. We also deliver many of those words ourselves.

As such we are specialists in team building, ideation, organisational alignment, speaker coaching and copywriting. All of these are linked by a common thread: to prize quietness over noise and bring more meaning into business.

Everyone is a storyteller, workshop 15/6/2013


A day of getting your story right, bright, and getting it to work for your business. For entrepreneurs and professionals.

15 June, The Hub Amsterdam, event on Facebook.

Storytelling is an essential art in modern business. The ability to condense and communicate what you really need to say can make the engine of your business run so much more smoothly. At the same time storytelling can help you deepen your understanding of what you do and help you organise your communications as well as your general business activity.

In this full day workshop you’ll not only get massive amounts of storytelling practice and “upskilling”, you’ll also dive deep into motivations for doing what you do and learn to apply them to a target audience. You’ll also learn the relationship between developing a core story and your own communications strategy.

In brief, you will learn,

  • How to structure and perform a great story
  • How a story can organise all your communications from web pages to social media to speaking and pitching events
  • Develop your own story with expert feedback
  • Gain public speaking confidence in a safe supportive space

In addition you will be invited to join the Storytelling Learning Group, a community of constantly improving entrepreneurial storytellers based at the Hub in Amsterdam.

Your facilitator Simon Hodges has developed this workshop through his travels over land and business all over Europe. With a background in corporate communications and performance storytelling, he is an official storytelling coach for the speakers at TEDxAmsterdam. His joy comes from helping new stories be born, and seeing people develop through their stories.

“I loved the workshop. It helped me a tremendous amount to reinforce the story on what I want my business to be. It has helped me to clear away some of the distracting details and go back to the very core of what drives me and my business. It has helped me find the foundation that allows me to tell and retell my story easier and in a much more powerful way.” Max Kloosterman, Dream Team Dynamics, workshop participant

This will be a significant day in your professional and personal development that focuses on clarifying, refining and adding to your current storytelling skills and content.

For more details see this storytelling video.

Date: 15 June 2013, 10.00 – 18.00
Sign up: workshops@wordsthatchange.nl
16 places available
Cost: 240 euros (discount for Hub members)

Storytelling workshops with ING

Storytelling is coming to be seen as a vital art in in any leader’s toolkit. Whether communicating in writing or in person, they need to know how to can structure a story to get a message across for maximum impact.

These workshops, in association with Flickering Wall, taught leaders how they can bring more focus to their communications and apply the age-old art of storytelling to improve internal communication and alignment within and across teams.

The workshops were produced in a customised format for the needs of ING, with 20-odd workshops run throughout the company in the Netherlands and Belgium, in English, Dutch and French.

Haven’t we all got something to say?



Everyone is a Storyteller is both the mission the intended realisation of Words That Change.

Everyone is a storyteller because we are communicating our story all the time. For leaders, organisations and teams however, we want to influence the stories that are told around and about us.

That’s where storytelling comes in.

Storytelling is not just the creation of a story, but setting up a process to help that story become part of the community around you: whether colleague, business or senior managers. Through storytelling you learn what your intrinsic motives are for the task you are undertaking, and how these relate to the motives of people around you. How can you communicate and relate to their needs better? Read more

Everyone’s a storyteller – Workshop 23/2/2012 Amsterdam


Drive your work by what you love, and tell the world about it!

A workshop for entrepreneurs and professionals given by Words That Change
23 February, 10.30-17.30
Event page
Sign up: simon@wordsthatchange.nl
Booking deadline: 31 January 2013
Place limit: 16
Cost: 240 euros (Hub members 180 euros)

Storytelling is the practice of becoming aware of what you live and love, made relevant to your target audience.

The Everyone’s a storyteller workshop will power up the conversations you have every day with what really drives you and by what your audience finds meaningful. This is not only a basis for communications, but can organise all your business activity. You won’t just tell your story, but live it!

Amongst other things you will learn to:

  • Engage your audience in every conversation you have with them, online or offline
  • Identify the key ingredients of your business or professional story
  • Create a bullet-proof pitch
  • Spread your story by getting others to tell it
  • Discover the psychological basis of story to give it more power
  • Be confident when speaking in public

This ground-breaking workshop is like none you have done before, and is for both those new and practised in the art of entrepreneurial storytelling. It is facilitated by storyteller and entrepreneur Simon Hodges, who first presented the format at the Hub Amsterdam, and has since added to it  his insights and experience gained through travels, workshops and contact with businesses around Europe.

For more on his approach to storytelling see this video.

Remember to book before 31 January 2013 by emailing  simon@wordsthatchange.nl
Only 16 places available.

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“As the world and information move faster and faster we have lost touch with storytelling. We have become too reliant on forms of communication scant on emotion and passion that tend to pass us by faster than we can even interpret. Over the years, the act of storytelling has become a lost art – a relic […]


I spent a brilliant time with a group of corporate leaders in the Autumn. Having organised a pitching competition, they wanted a little storytelling help, so I came in to enjoy their company. Now I must tell you, this was a very analytic division of quite an analytic company.  Being much more at ease in the creative […]

What to expect at the Media Trust story training for non-profits on 4 December – to which you can sign up here. It’s rare now to see non-profit organisations talking only about themselves. Instead they are becoming very good at telling the stories of other people: the ones that speak for themselves about the good […]