With more and more media competing for our attention, businesses that can tell compelling stories about themselves have a huge advantage over their competitors.
But turning the information about a business, brand or product into a story that grips people from beginning to middle to end is challenging.
Story for Business makes it easy and straightforward by showing you the basic rules all professional storytellers use.
During this seven-week course, you’ll experiment with different story-structure techniques to develop your skills. You’ll learn how to apply the techniques to your own business, and by the end you’ll able to craft a story to grab and hold people’s attention. You’ll also understand why some stories engage people while others fail. And you’ll apply the principles to everything from letter-writing and presentations to brand strategy and market research.
Story for Business is the only course based on real-life examples from the worlds of business and entertainment, devised and taught by people with track records in creating some of the world’s most popular stories.
The course will give you not just a new skill, but a thorough understanding of why the shape of stories is hardwired into our brains, and how you can use this knowledge to transform your business and marketing communications.
John and your tutor are on-hand throughout to answer questions, feedback on your assignments, and critique your business stories at the end of the course.
This is a professional development course and so you may be able to get funding from your employer to do it. All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a certificate of completion evidencing their learning and study hours.
Course Director John Yorke
Course Tutor Richard Benson
Course Moderator Emily Ronan
Many businesses think they’re telling stories when they’re not. It’s important to understand what the elements of story are and use them properly. Otherwise it’s like forgetting to put a call to action in a marketing campaign.Nick Parker
We all use story all the time. The more you identify with the protagonist, and the more you loathe the baddie, the more powerful your story is going to be. You see that everywhere from a business memo to an advert.John Yorke
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This course has been made possible by the support of Screenskills, and has been approved as part of an informal or formal continuing professional development (CPD) programme.
You may be eligible for a training bursary of up to £1000 for this course. Apply direct to ScreenSkills here, at least FOUR WEEKS before the course start date.
We’ve developed Story for Business for individuals and organisations looking to develop a practical understanding of the mechanics of effective storytelling, and how to use it in business.
It’s for anyone who needs to communicate as part of their job. From brand and marketing communicators, internal and external communications teams, HR teams, and anyone who needs to write briefs and case studies. You don’t need any previous experience and you can take the course for personal or formal professional development.
We teach this course in groups of up to 15 people. You can book as an individual or you can block-book a dedicated class exclusively for your team.
The course is suitable if you:
- Are a novice storyteller and want to learn how stories work and how to plan and structure narratives
- Are a seasoned professional and want to refresh your skills, learn new ones and improve your knowledge of how stories work, and how to apply this to your work
- Are developing online content for businesses, charities and other organisations and want to understand how to use stories
- Want to learn how to select, develop and realise your ideas
- Are keen to master five-act story structure
- Would like to see the underlying framework behind all stories everywhere
- Need to discover why your business stories aren’t working — and how to fix them
- Want to gain the confidence to create your own brand or business stories
- Are looking for a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course
- Want to join a friendly and supportive group of learners
- Can dedicate 5-7 hours per week for the duration of the course
Over seven weeks, you’ll learn the building blocks you need to create a compelling narrative for business and brands, and all the essentials you need to fix broken stories and create original material.
We’ll look in detail at the act structure of stories, protagonists and antagonists, inciting incidents, climaxes and resolutions. We’ll also look at the big things they can teach us to apply to business communication. You’ll work within a supportive community keen to share their experiences with you.
We teach this course in our online classroom, which is open 24/7 so you can fit learning around your work, family and friends. You’ll work in a small group of learners so you can discuss ideas, ask questions and share your writing as you progress through the weekly sessions.
You’ll learn from:
- Short podcasts from John Yorke and Nick Parker
- Short videos from John Yorke and/or other industry experts
- Written guidance notes and carefully selected reading and viewing lists devised by John Yorke and Nick Parker
- Practical exercises and prompts, devised by John and Nick to help you experiment and practise your skills
- Guest lectures from industry experts
- Guided discussions with your group
- Live chatroom sessions with your group and tutor to give you the opportunity to ask questions
- The opportunity to share your work and give and receive feedback from fellow writers
- Tutor feedback on your two business stories at the end of the course
- 5-7 hours per week to work through the course
- A notebook and pen or pencil, if you like to make notes by hand
- Access to the following films on DVD or via streaming sites:
- Jaws, Cars, Inside Out and Steve Jobs
- A laptop or computer* with:
- A reliable broadband internet connection
- Speakers or headphones
- The latest version of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Edge, or Safari
- Microsoft Word. If you don’t have this you can download Open Office free
- Adobe Reader, latest version. Download free
- QuickTime Player, latest version. Download free
- Adobe Flash Player 10 or higher
*You can access the course from a tablet or smartphone, but we recommend using a laptop or computer, as this makes it easier to share your work files with your writing group.
Join our alumni
After your course, you can join our online alumni where you’ll meet our growing network of past students. The alumni is a friendly group of writers who support each other as they continue to explore and develop their writing.
Within our online alumni area you can:
- Rejoin your classmates on a private forum and access an archived version of your course materials and forum posts
- Meet alumni from other courses and groups and share your work for feedback on our alumni critiquing forum
- Join in on discussions about reading, writing, editing and ideas on our general discussion forum. This is also where we share news and useful info
- Retain access to our resources area, which has interesting and informative links
- Chat with other people online using the alumni area live chatroom. We also host live chats with guests here
Mentoring and one-to-one feedback
The John Yorke Story tutor team offer mentoring, script reads and reports. We are happy to quote by job or script, or to arrange a longer mentoring scheme as you work on a specific story idea. We’ll create a package to suit you, so for more information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Taking things further
If you’d like to continue on to another John Yorke Story or Professional Writing Academy course, we’ll give you a discount. Please get in touch for more details.
Watch John Yorke and Nick Parker discuss why businesses need stories and how they should use them
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WHAT STUDENTS SAY ABOUT the COURSES
While it’s simple enough to recognise a successful business story, I’ve realised it’s another thing entirely to pinpoint the reasons for its success and understand how to recreate that in your work.Emily
So many business briefs can be unambitious, and would benefit from being challenged. This course gives a good framework for making those challenges. The course also made me aware that there’s now a whole thing called brand storytelling that often isn’t storytelling at all.
I had never thought about my pitches in terms of story elements, story structure – I’ve always just done them on instinct and judged them on whether they read well. So I’m finding this course hugely illuminating and it’s already causing me to think differently.Dan