Storyshowing - Sam Cawthorn - ebook

Storyshowing ebook

Sam Cawthorn

42,99 zł


Take your audience on a journey to leave a more lasting impact Storyshowing is an instruction manual for making connections. Storytelling has been shown to be one of the most effective methods of persuasion, motivation and inspiration, yet the disconnect remains -- you're still only telling. To truly influence people, you need to go deeper than that -- you need to show them your story. By inviting your audience in, you connect on a much deeper, more emotional level; you bypass the brain and connect at the root of what it means to be human, leaving a profound impact on their entire outlook. This book shows you how to transcend telling and start showing your story, using an easy-to-follow framework you can start applying today. Unearth your own experiences, and bring your vulnerabilities out into the light; share your emotions and forge a path to true communication. Use images, body language and gestures as tools to build that indelible connection; then and only then will people truly engage and transform their thinking. No matter your message, the impact lies in the delivery. This insightful guide equips you with the tools and skills you need to start communicating like never before. * Share more powerful stories using a simple 5-step method * Build confidence, influence others and make a deeper connection * Be more persuasive in presentations, pitches, calls and talks * Transform the way people think by inviting them inside your story The difference between telling and showing is like the difference between a lecture and a play. It's the difference between giving information and taking the audience on a journey. The difference between a brochure and a test drive. Storyshowing helps you level up your communication to leave a lasting, more profound impact.

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Also by Sam Cawthorn

Bounce Forward

111 Tips to Bounce Forward

The Support Person

The 4 Needs 4 Teens

The Positive Teen

The Bounce Theory

First published in 2018 by John Wiley & Sons Australia, Ltd 42 McDougall St, Milton Qld 4064

Office also in Melbourne

© Speakers Institute Pty. Ltd. 2018

The moral rights of the author have been asserted

National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication data:


 Cawthorn, Sam, author.


 Storyshowing: How to stand out from the storytellers  / Sam Cawthorn.


 9780730345886 (pbk.)  9780730345893 (custom)  9780730345909 (ebook)


 Business communication. Business presentations. Storytelling.

All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (for example, a fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism or review), no part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, communicated or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission. All inquiries should be made to the publisher at the address above.

Cover design by Wiley

Cover image © Siri Stafford / Getty Images


The material in this publication is of the nature of general comment only, and does not represent professional advice. It is not intended to provide specific guidance for particular circumstances and it should not be relied on as the basis for any decision to take action or not take action on any matter which it covers. Readers should obtain professional advice where appropriate, before making any such decision. To the maximum extent permitted by law, the author and publisher disclaim all responsibility and liability to any person, arising directly or indirectly from any person taking or not taking action based on the information in this publication.


About the author


Introduction: I told you so!

Chapter 1: So why are stories important?

A call to action

The power of emotions

Stories disrupt

Chapter 2: Beginning, middle and end

A story’s essential elements

The classic story structure

What was and what could be

The key to successful storyshowing

Example: my story

Chapter 3: Giving structure to your story

The Authority Communication Framework


Chapter 4: The toggle

The Toggle Framework

How to toggle

Chapter 5: Building your content

The art of storyshowing

Your introduction

Once you’re on stage

Chapter 6: Stand up and show your story

Facial expression



Body language and breathing

Chapter 7: From average to outstanding

The average storyteller

The good storyteller

The great storyteller

The excellent storyshower

The outstanding storyshower

Chapter 8: The four disrupters of the speaking industry

Respond to the moment

The influence of TED

Types of speakers

The rise of cyborgs

Chapter 9: The future of story

The future of story is now

Chapter 10: Show, don’t tell

Visual storyshowing

Emotional buying and storyshowing

Conclusion: How telling then showing helped me

A rallying cry for storyshowing




List of Illustrations

Chapter 2

Figure 2.1

beginning, middle and end

Chapter 4

Figure 4.1

the Toggle Framework

Chapter 6

Figure 6.1:

face with muscles scrunched up

Figure 6.2:

face with muscles relaxed

Figure 6.3:

how to stand properly

Figure 6.4:

palms open

Figure 6.5:

palms facing down

Figure 6.6:

hands straight up and down

Figure 6.7:

forward and back of stage



Table of Contents














































































































































About the author

Since 2006 Sam Cawthorn has been sharing his personal story around the world, reaching over 100 million people live at an event, through his books and resources, or via his social media.

Sam’s journey has given him a unique perspective on what works and what doesn’t work in ‘story’, giving him the credibility and authority to write this book, Storyshowing.

Sam is a thought leader in peak performance and turnarounds and also a professional speaking coach. He founded and is the CEO of Speakers Institute, a company dedicated to transforming people for influence and impact.

In October 2006, Sam’s life changed forever when he was involved in a major car accident, where he was pronounced dead. He was thankfully resuscitated, but was left with an amputated right arm and a permanent disability in his right leg.

With a past career in the Australian government as a youth futurist, after his accident Sam did not go back to his old job. Instead, he went on to learn how to tell and show his story of miraculously overcoming a serious car accident.

Sam has written six other books, one of which became an international bestseller. He has trained over 4500 speakers around the world and has spoken in 36 countries.

Sam Cawthorn has won numerous awards, including Young Australian of the Year for Tasmania in 2009, and Edupreneur of the Year in 2015.

Sam walks his talk, and it is through his experience that his authentic message is heard.

He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife, Kate, and their three children, Emelia, Ebony and Jacob.


First, I would like to acknowledge Bernadette Foley for her amazing skills and talents in putting this book together. To Lucy Raymond at Wiley for championing it to its release and Sandra Balonyi for her thoughtful editing. Jodie Spiteri-James for being a great sounding board and challenging me to be a better coach.

To Drew Wade, Nick Harding, Matt Busby Andrews, Daniel Flynn, Dan Gregory, Marilyn Horowitz, Allen Palmer, Nancy Duarte, John Wood, Simon Sinek, Richard Toutounji and Stuart Zadel. And, to my love and the greatest inspiration in my life, Kate Cawthorn.

Introduction: I told you so!

A great storyteller will inspire, but inspiration will not necessarily lead to action. That’s why the time has come to stop telling your story.

Stop saying:

Listen to what I’m going to tell you.

I told you so.

Now it’s all about showing.

Let your story show what you feel, what you’ve experienced and what you can offer others.

Start saying:

Hey, can I show you this?

Each of us has a unique value proposition that separates us from every other person in the world — and that is our own story. No-one else has your experiences, your feelings and your beliefs. I realised this in 2006, when I first started to share my story. I came to see that my personal story has value and can inspire others. Everyone — every company and organisation and even every product and idea — comes with their own valuable story.

There’s nothing new about this idea. We are told that story should be the key ingredient in our communication strategy — whether we’re in sales or marketing; whether we’re politicians or presenters. To inspire our listeners and potential customers — to motivate them to buy or act — we need to be great storytellers.

But if you truly want to persuade your audience; if you really want to inspire your team as a manager or leader; or if you want to transform the way others think about an idea, stop telling your story.

‘Telling’ comes from a place of ‘I’m not concerned with what you think or feel. I’m just going to tell you what I know’. ‘To tell’ means ‘to make known, to announce or proclaim, to inform or appraise’, according to the Macquarie Dictionary. It is not a call to action or a compelling way to share experiences. When you tell, you expect people to listen, but what do they receive in return? Where is the connection?

I speak in front of over 40 000 people every year and reach over 100 million people annually through social media, all by sharing my story. Yet the first time I told it could have been the last.

It was my first well-paid corporate gig. I’d been booked by one of the large banks to speak at their conference. I flew business class for the first time — from Hobart to the Gold Coast, where I was picked up in a black stretch limo and taken to the Palazzo Versace hotel. The conference organisers were waiting to meet me when we drove up, and they escorted me into the lobby as if I were royalty.

I had prepared my message and I was ready to go. They ushered me onto the stage and I looked out at 300 to 400 people. I felt so confident that the big crowd didn’t faze me. I was sure I would impress them. I told a few jokes and made them laugh. Then I reeled off some research and statistics. Even though I wasn’t a researcher, I was sure this was what they wanted to hear because these people were in the corporate world and expected to be informed. I thought I was good. In fact, I thought I was a lot better than I actually was. In reality, I was an amateur speaker trying to get a message across by entertaining and educating my audience.

Next, I told them my story. I didn’t pause … I didn’t give the audience time to breathe … I didn’t allow them to experience what I had experienced. Instead, I simply went through the motions of telling them what had happened to me.

A few years ago I had a car accident and I remember driving along and I fell asleep. I was told I then veered over to the wrong side of the road while I was doing 104 kilometres. My arm was ripped off …

Rather than letting the audience see and feel how I felt at the time, I built up walls of defence.

What I mean by ‘defence’ is that I cracked jokes while telling my story to deflect from showing any emotions. I was trying to be emotionless on stage because my concept of a speaker was someone who was strong, powerful and successful. My concept of myself as a speaker was that I could overcome anything. I believed that I needed to tell and persuade these people that if I can do it, they could too. At no time during my talk did I try to connect with anyone or emotionally move them.

There I was on stage, laughing about how when a body part is detached from you, it becomes the property of the federal government … joking about going through airport security with a metal arm, setting off a never-ending beep and scaring everyone around me.

After having just told these people that my arm had been ripped off in a car accident and that I had been close to dying I was trying to be funny. It wasn’t that I hadn’t gone through the process of dealing emotionally with the accident and the months of rehab, because I had. It was that I thought I had to tell the story of my accident in the most straightforward way, which didn’t leave room for vulnerability. I thought that audiences only wanted the facts — I believed that was what they expected of me.

I didn’t connect emotionally with the people in that room and I didn’t show them that I was vulnerable. I made them laugh and offered them facts and research, but I didn’t bring them into my heart and let them feel what I felt. I told them something — I didn’t show them anything.

My talk was followed by half-hearted claps. When the conference manager came up to me afterwards, he wasn’t over the moon about my talk. Rather than saying, ‘Wow, you really made a difference. Can we book you again?’ he said, ‘Thanks for coming. See you.’

Does this sound familiar? Have you ever had that feeling of being told and kept at a distance instead of being shown and brought right into the picture? Or have you ever told someone a story and they simply didn’t respond? I had a powerful story to give this audience, but I failed by not showing them that I was vulnerable or letting them share my experience. The problem was not a lack of preparation. It was to do with a lack of vulnerability and emotion, a lack of any engagement with them. I informed and entertained them and used a couple of jokes as a defence mechanism to hide my emotions.

Personally, I respond better to someone showing me their story than telling it. I need to feel an emotional pull in order to respond or act. Give me facts and figures and I probably won’t do anything; connect to my heart and I will jump on board.

In mid 2006, I was working for the Australian Federal Government as a youth futurist — following cultural and economic trends to help predict how they would affect 13- to 19-year-olds entering the workforce. Like any man who is the sole breadwinner supporting two young kids and a wife, and has a mortgage to pay off, I was finding it hard to make ends meet. So I also had a part-time job as a singing teacher. I had set up a room in my house as a little studio. I did this extra work to make sure that my family would be all right financially.

One day I received a cold call from an insurance salesman who had been given my number by a mate of mine. He started telling me about income protection — wanting to make sure I had the right type of insurance in place, just in case something happened to me. To be quite honest, I knew I couldn’t afford any insurance and I told him that. He was persistent and wanted to meet with me over a coffee. So, with the offer of a free coffee, I thought, ‘Why not?’ and we met at a café a week later.

I remember sitting in the corner of the café and being one of the only customers in there. It was July in Launceston, Tasmania, and it was freezing and wet so people didn’t go out unless they had to. The insurance salesman arrived and started showing me information about the insurances he recommended. I told him again that I couldn’t afford to buy insurance. Next he produced case studies of men whose situations were similar to mine: father of young kids, single breadwinner and a mortgage to cover. Then he shared stories of the men’s families, showed me their photos and started to engage my emotions.

My thoughts shifted right away from the documents in front of us to focus on those other fathers, and my own determination to be a great father and to have financial protection for my family. By showing me these stories, this man had ignited strong emotions in me, especially when he shared the story of one man who also had a young family, didn’t have insurance and was injured in an accident. He couldn’t provide for his family and had to deal with his critical injuries as well as the huge worry of not having an income to support his family. I started to think, ‘What if …? What if I were in the same situation as that man?’

One of the emotions the salesman’s stories roused in me was fear. Whether using fear in this way was a good or bad thing, thinking about it later I realised that what this man had shown me in the café that day was my saving grace because I bought the insurance he was selling. Just a few months later I was involved in a serious car accident and was pronounced clinically dead on the way to the hospital. I lost my right arm and sustained extensive injuries to my right leg. I would not recover quickly from this — in fact, I didn’t start earning a wage again for nine months.

By showing me photos and sharing other people’s journeys with me — both those who had taken out insurance and those who hadn’t — the salesman had made me think about and wonder what I would do in their situations. In my mind I started to ask questions: ‘If something happened to me, how would my family cope? How would I provide for my wife Kate and our girls?’

The salesman finished that conversation by saying, ‘Sam, you can’t afford not to have insurance.’ So I signed up there and then. Here is the outcome: I believe one of the main contributing factors to my miraculous recovery from the accident was that Kate and I did not have to worry about our financial situation. I had trauma insurance and income protection so we were able to focus entirely on my rehabilitation.

This man completely changed my view by sharing real stories, and even though there was an element of fear in them, I was grateful. His use of stories was disruptive, transforming and — for Kate and me — it turned out to be almost life-saving. When I met with him, I didn’t realise he was using stories to make a sale — to be good at his job. I was simply engaged in the case studies and put myself in the situation of the fathers he told me about. Much later, after I had learned about the power of stories, I realised that this man had shared those stories so that I would connect with them, respond to them emotionally and think with my heart, not my head. He used stories cleverly, made a sale, and made a really bad situation so much better than it could have been for Kate and me.

The entire world is experiencing massive changes — in consumer behaviours, in economies, in governments. We are living in the greatest, most rapid period of disruptive change in history, across every country and every industry. Good communication is pivotal to every aspect of the change management we need to successfully transform our industries and ourselves, whether it is change for individuals in a shifting relationship, or disruption in an international organisation. The essential element in all communication is to make sure that others catch your ideas and use these ideas to transform their way of thinking.

We can’t afford to tell stories that hit a brick wall; stories that audiences, students and customers walk away from uninspired; stories that don’t influence or persuade. We have to ask, ‘What will transform people’s way of thinking? How can I address other people’s problems through my story? What have I experienced that is relevant to others? How can I connect with them?’ And the answer is by showing and sharing your story.