Keynote General Session

Friday, August 2, 2019


Piper Hendricks, Professional Storyteller

This hands-on, workshop-style general session will help you structure the story around your key issues and priorities. Professional storyteller, Piper Hendricks, will demonstrate her process to ensure a great R.E.S.U.L.T. by analyzing the story of a fellow practitioner’s campaign and then showing how to apply those lessons to your own efforts.


Advocacy orgs need messengers so that they can be more effective at telling their stories beyond lobbyists and other stakeholders. The narrative arc requires tension to keep an audience’s attention. One example includes Kurt Vonnegut’s Shape of Stories. Another follows a pattern like:

  1. GASP! A sharp intake of breath, a beginning that gets attention – the story is going up and bringing your audience with you

  2. Holding your breath – you and the audience are waiting to see what happens as the story reaches its peak and tension builds

  3. A cathartic exhale – releasing the tension, bringing the audience to a resolution at the end of your story

Get your desired R.E.S.U.L.T.

Relatable – having something that your audience can relate to is incredibly important.

Emotion – the feeling or feelings you want your audience to have during and after your story will influence how you develop and tell your story.

Source – who is the best source of a story? A lobbyist vs. a community member? Your executive director or a parent? People will hear a story better and be more receptive to your message if it’s told by someone they can identify with.

Uplifting – some orgs might feel that having an uplifting story for them is impossible, but good storytelling can pull a positive, uplifting narrative out of anything – even asking people to donate their organs after they die. Aim to have an element of hope in your story, or something the audience can do, or else they’ll tune out.

Language – groups have their own language. Don’t just focus on avoiding jargon or acronyms. Also focus on really speaking to people. 

Transformation – the difference that action can make is incredibly powerful. Show the transformation or something that positively changes a person or community.