Show the why behind your leadership, and move people with the power of storytelling.
An immersive workshop to help you develop your Leadership Story, based on the Public Narrative framework taught at Harvard University. Facilitated by Aditi Parekh, a two-time Teaching Fellow who has facilitated leadership courses and executive programs since 2018 for 2000+ leaders worldwide.
📅 Saturday, April 15th, 2023
🕰️ 9:30am - 5pm, lunch & coffee to fuel you through the day
🎟️ INR 11,000 for individuals, & INR 9000 per person for groups of 3+
➕ A 45-minute 1:1 narrative coaching session with Aditi included
About the workshop
“First - Why do I need to share a leadership story?”
As a founder, team leader or community builder, reaching your goal relies almost entirely on working with other people. What separates a leader from any other role or title, is their ability to move people to action. And to do this, without carrots and sticks, requires you to earn trust, inspire effort, and motivate people – especially when things get tough.
Now, your actions can speak about your leadership and inspire people to act, and they definitely do. But you might have had the unfortunate experience where you were under-appreciated, or misunderstood, because you didn’t proactively share your WHY and show your wins.
When we don’t tell our story, we leave it entirely up to people to create their own stories of who we are and why we do what we do. And often, it’s not a story that does justice to who we are.
If you want people to “get” who you are, what you stand for, and why you are asking them to do something, storytelling is an absolutely essential leadership skill.
“How does one learn to tell a leadership story?”
Let me dispel the myth that storytelling is some kind of innate skill. It’s not! It’s learnable, it’s teachable, and I’ve taught 2000+ leaders how to make storytelling their own. And the way I’ve done it is through the framework of Public Narrative.
Public Narrative helps you communicate:
- what values you stand for
- what choices you’ve made to get here
- and what your vision for the future is.
With a story that communicates this, you can move people to join you on the journey by getting them to see the fundamental values you share.
Once you learn this framework, you’ll begin to see it everywhere – in the most memorable speeches from history, in movie scenes that give you goosebumps, in the impactful writing of modern day business leaders.
A powerful leadership story links these three stories that we’ll learn step-by-step in the workshop:
Story of Self
Why do I care about this, and why should people follow me?
Story of Us
What binds us all together, and why should we be hopeful about the future?
Story of Now
How can we reach our shared purpose and act with urgency?
The most important technique we will practice in the workshop is ‘Show, not tell.’ By just stating our vision statement or statistics alone do the job! By narrating the right moments, we can get people to relate with us, feel the emotions from our journey, and deeply understand the values we stand for.
“Isn’t storytelling like performing a speech? Making things up? Manipulation?”
Storytelling as it is taught in Public Narrative is not about applying dress-up techniques from the outside. It’s not public speaking, personal branding, or the art of spin. It focuses on substance, not form.
Storytelling as a leader is the craft of creating an identity: making choices about what our purpose is, what we believe about ourselves, and how we might act to get there. It’s about being intentional: what can I show about myself, with authenticity and truth, so that people can understand who I am?
“In Public Narrative, [students] learn how to bring out their ‘glow’ from within, not how to apply a ‘gloss’ from without.” – Jayanti Ravi, MPA/MC ‘07, Harvard Kennedy School
"What will this workshop be like?”
The workshop is interactive, practical, intense and fun! Public narrative is taught through plenty of deconstructed examples, and the core elements of storytelling are explained through a memorable framework. You will put the framework into practice immediately by writing a story of self, and engage with one another’s stories to develop an intuitive sense of good storytelling.
You are the subject, and you are the narrator, and this can be challenging at times. What you can expect is a safe and courageous space for you to learn and grow in the company of reflective and intentional leaders.
"You can read about authenticity, vulnerability and all of that but it's daunting to actually do it yourself! Hearing everyone's story gave me the courage to share and improve my own.” – Utsav, a participant from the February workshop
Scroll down for an agenda of the workshop, and to see examples of Public Narratives out in the world.
Who this workshop is for
- ⭐ You are an ambitious founder or CEO who does a lot of internal and external storytelling to motivate your teams, users or investors to see the WHY behind your work
- 🎗️ You are passionate about building a community, and want to inspire people to take ownership and action in the community
- 🎭 You want to share more of yourself with your team or the world, but are afraid of underselling yourself, bragging, putting on a show, or oversharing
- ✍️ You find it difficult to go beyond your role or your resumé when asked “Why do you do what you do?”
Crafting a leadership story will help you build trust, connect the dots, and relate with people you closely work with.
Here are some reflections from past students in the Public Narrative course at Harvard:
Avinash Nagla, Founder in Stealth
Ex-Plum, High Radius, Idea
“As an early stage founder, you know that at this point, people are really taking a bet based on your story. I have my usual set of points, but I didn’t realise until the workshop that I was missing out a key element: the Story of Now. This is the part that shows strategy and creates urgency, and now I have incorporated that in my communication with my customers, teams and any external partner. I’m a fan of the Self, Us, Now framework! The workshop was very interactive, I met diverse leaders, and I would highly recommend founders to take time out and attend this workshop with Aditi.”
Senior Associate, Byju's
Ex-IIM Bangalore & Teach For India
“After doing Aditi’s workshop, for the first time, I had a beautiful answer to the question that all interviews start with: ‘Tell me about yourself’. Instead of just re-telling my work experience, I put into practice the challenge-choice-outcome framework from Aditi’s workshop to narrate how I reached a few big goals in my previous roles. That journey showed who I really am and it felt authentic to share it. I’m never satisfied with my answer to this question, but for the first time I felt happy and confident about what I said. I think this workshop doesn’t just help people see you as a leader, it makes people trust you as a team player as well.”
S&P Global, Ex-Infosys
Most times unless we ask a question, we don't get any answer at all. The workshop's framework is built on some hard-hitting questions: 1. If I am not for myself, who will be for me? 2. When I am only for myself, what am I? 3. If not now, when? - Hillel, the Elder of Babylon (a contemporary of Jesus Christ) The framework and workshop provides foundational and conceptual tools to help understand oneself and one's why - essential needs for leadership at every level.
More reflections on Public Narrative
“I had no idea emotions were so key to leadership. After this course, I started being more vulnerable and telling my stories in a very honest way. This improved my connections with people in a way I hadn’t felt before.”
“I used to think that leadership was taking charge; now I know that it about enabling agency in others and building community.”
“I would recommend this workshop to anyone who has to do a lot of communicating in their day-to-day, and wants a reliable framework to include values, urgency, and the WHY behind what we are doing as an organisation.”
Meet your Facilitator
Aditi is a leadership trainer, ed-tech consultant and alternative learning researcher. She supports universities, communities and mission-driven businesses to develop leadership capacity in their teams through workshops and custom learning experiences. Her 10-year journey in the field of education – across research, teaching, business and philanthropy – draws on Narrative Storytelling, Community Organizing, Relational Pedagogy and Alternative Education. She seamlessly moves between the online and offline world, conducting workshops, coaching leaders, and crafting narratives for people whose stories need to be heard.
Aditi is an alumnus of the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and spent two semesters as a Teaching Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School. After Harvard, Aditi worked with and advised edtech startups such as Coleap and Maven, designing programs and products for cohort-based courses. She is a trained Bharatnatyam dancer and teacher, and has been passionate about infusing educational spaces with self-directed learning since she dropped out of high school and took two gap years at the age of 15. The youngest of a large joint family based in the Nilgiris, Aditi enjoys helping people leverage technology in education, making friends on Twitter, and searching for the best Sambar between Chennai and Bangalore, where she now lives.
Curious about Aditi’s story? Listen to ‘From dropping out of School to teaching at Harvard’ here.
What to expect from the workshop
We use the metaphor of ‘getting on the bike’ when learning storytelling! Because this is an experience in practice (not theory), it will require you to try new things, to risk failure, and to step outside your comfort zone. You will learn through critical reflection on your experience, through feedback, and through coaching. Your facilitator will gently nudge you towards more “showing, not telling” and help you find the moments that can most bring your story to life.
“After 22 years of leading an organization, this new understanding of how I can connect my personal story to the work I do has given me a new way to look at myself.”
– Reflection from a past student
Our approach is to help you learn a process, not write a script. At the end of the workshop, you will have crafted the first iteration of your public narrative. This will likely not be the final version you want to share with your people, and you may want to have many versions. You will be able to use this framework for future iterations and integrate feedback based on how it resonates with people.
We do not want the learning to stop at the end of this workshop. As part of this inaugural workshop, we also want to offer the following resources and a follow-on 30-min coaching call to help you refine your public narrative for a specific audience.
9:30 AM - 10:00 AM
👋 Check In Create your name tag, grab materials, and say hi to your learning community
10:00 AM - 1:30 PM
📘 Leadership & storytelling, starting with YOU Deconstruct examples, draft your story of self & experience narrative coaching
1:30 PM - 2:30 PM
⚡️ Lunch & Us-Building Meet your peers, exchange stories and discover moments of ‘Us’
2:30 PM - 5:00 PM
🎁 Create connection & motivation Find and articulate shared values in the room, and move the group towards collective action
This immersive workshop is the first offering open to all, since workshops are usually offered only at Harvard University or within large social change organisations. Our hope with this format is to make it more accessible to leaders who want to invest in themselves with a supportive community and the magic of in-person learning.
- Individual registration is priced at ₹11000 and it includes all materials, lunch & beverages.
- If you would like to join the workshop with a group of 3 or more people, please email Aditi at firstname.lastname@example.org for reduced group registration pricing at ₹9000 per person.
- We do not want cost to be a barrier and offer limited scholarships, including but not limited to folks working at non-profit organisations. Please write to email@example.com elaborating your background and purpose to learn Public Narrative and we will get back to you.
- All participants will receive a one-on-one coaching session with Aditi post the workshop.
Examples of Public Narrative
If you listen or read any of these below, you’ll see the frameworks of Public Narrative in play. Notice the visuals, images, the emotional power of narrating key moments from these leaders’ lives.
Jeff Bezos' antitrust opening statement (credit to Trung T Phan)
Barack Obama's 2004 DNC Speech
Virat Kohli’s ‘Story of Us’ – deconstructed
Watch the video below, then read the post below to identify elements of Story of Us in his speech
Aditi Parekh on LinkedIn: Virat Kohli’s pep talk to the RCB Women’s Team | Bold Diaries
What you can learn from Virat Kohli about crafting a leadership narrative, straight from the heart: Watch these 8 minutes, then read…