The Story Rules Podcast

E18: Paul Smith - Bestselling author of books on storytelling

September 30, 2022
The Story Rules Podcast
E18: Paul Smith - Bestselling author of books on storytelling
Show Notes
“And then something amazing happened – what I heard from the audience was, “Ohh!” and then right after that, all of my conclusions started coming out of their mouths. And after that, all my recommendations started coming out of their mouths. I never drew my conclusions, or made any recommendations, but every one of my recommendations got implemented. It was the most effective presentation (that) I (had) made in the whole 20 years at Procter and Gamble”

Paul Smith is the bestselling author of books such as ‘Lead with a Story’, ‘Sell with a Story’ and ‘The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell’.

Paul specialises in what I call as ‘human stories’ – which is narrating specific incidents from work and life that contain valuable lessons or insights. 

Through his books, Paul teaches us how to use such incident stories to lead better and to sell better.

Now, you might think that the ability to narrate incident stories is a God-given one – you either have it or you don’t. But reading Paul’s books gives you the clarity and confidence that this is very much a learnable skill. 

Look, I get it. As a skill, storytelling may seem esoteric, mysterious and difficult to break down into component parts. 

But it is possible to do that… and of the many books I’ve read on the topic, Paul’s books are perhaps the best at achieving a neat, structured breakdown of this craft.

In this short but insight-filled podcast episode:

  • Paul talks about his life journey and how he used a mix of thinking clarity, determination and sheer hard-work to pivot his career from the corporate world to the world of storytelling
  • He also shares some great story examples that you can use immediately at your work. For instance:
    • He narrates a story of when he made a presentation to P&G’s senior leadership, where instead of telling his findings upfront, he took the audience on a discovery journey and tapped into their curiosity
    • He offers ideas on how to elicit stories from your clients and other counterparts
    • Paul also mentions when should you use elaborate storytelling techniques vs just share the information requested
  • Finally he surprised me with what is he currently upto (you will find it hard to believe) and how he plans to 'go for the stars' in his latest innings.
It has been a privilege for me to have such an accomplished author and storyteller on the podcast. I hope you find the conversation as insightful as I did.

Show notes:
Paul's website, YouTube channel, LinkedIn, Twitter
Paul's books on storytelling:
- ‘Lead with a Story’,
- ‘Sell with a Story’ 
- ‘The 10 Stories Great Leaders Tell