IBPA October Issue

I am pleased, surprised and even a bit gobsmacked by the outstanding layout of my article in the October 2017 issue of the IBPA (Independent Book Publishers Association) magazine. There are 10 tips and ideas about how to use your self-published or micro-published books to build speaking engagements. Thank you to the great team at IBPA for this honor. Our whole team at The Small-Tooth-Dog Publishing Group LLC is grateful.

I have written for many magazines, blog exchanges, and more in the past and with various organizations. I always hope the article is helpful to all the readers.

Business Storytelling Coach and Training

In this note, I am specifically talking to those connected to the nonprofit, business, entrepreneurial, or “start-up” worlds.

Tired, yet? Have you heard:
“Use Business Storytelling to Make Your Company Stronger.”
“Everyone is a storyteller.”
“You have to have great stories.”
+ more. . .

I do understand the problems you’re facing.

Look, there are some fine people out there talking about business storytelling. Maybe you were lucky and you have learned from one. That’s great.

But. . .

Maybe your company management bought the hype of a “storytelling consultant” who became an expert in storytelling sometime in the last year or so. You are commanded to “tell a story” at the start of every meeting. The consultant showed you papers, articles, books, charts, tables and graphs about storytelling. You get that corporate storytelling works, but you look at the faces around the conference-room table and you know you and they would rather die than tell another bad story.

It’s time for no-nonsense coaching in the art of communicating via corporate (or non-profit) storytelling. Talk to me.

Or maybe…you’re standing in front of a table of “Angel” investors. You know you need to use storytelling to communicate your great ideas. You’ve read all the books about storytelling. You’ve seen the charts, diagrams and info-graphics about business storytelling. Yet, there you stand, unable to actually tell a story. Millions of dollars of investment go to the best storyteller. And…you’re not the best storyteller in the room.

It’s time for no-nonsense training in the art of “platform” storytelling. Talk to me.

What about the sales and marketing professionals? You are sitting at a kitchen table trying to sell insurance to a young married couple. You took a storytelling course. You read the books. You have bookmarked the storytelling websites. And, there you sit, unable to make this one sale stick, because, well, they “have to think about it.” That’s code for, “You’re a generic insurance sales agent. Nothing you say or do makes you stand out from the crowd.”

It’s time for no-nonsense training in the art of across-the-table business storytelling. Talk to me.

Your small business needs networking meetings and the connections those meetings bring. But, you have no idea what to say in those two-minute “introduce yourself” exercises that happen at every meeting. On top of that, you would rather be chased by an angry dog than have to speak in public. No matter how many storytelling manuals you read, you still can’t form the attention-getting narratives that work. You have zero confidence and some about-me yapping: how’s that helping your small business grow?

It’s time for no-nonsense coaching in the art of networking with storytelling. Talk to me directly. You could start with my workshop if that helps.

Sean Buvala is an experienced storyteller, author and business coach. He’s been at this work since 1986…long before there was this fad-like hype, buzz-words and the experts grasping at CEO-soothing (but useless) marketing lullabies about narrative. Sean is Arizona-based but is available internationally. Let’s get this conversation started. You are under no obligation by just reaching out.

Midwinter Story-Speakers’ Retreat 2018

midwinter story speakers retreat on a clock showing the number 3

Information Coming Soon. January 26-27, 2018. Phoenix, Arizona.

Working with the three pillars, the three essentials of the story experience, we’ll talk about the person of the artist, the role of the words we speak, and how we gather an audience. Some reflection. Some art. Some business. An intensive. A retreat. A rethinking for anyone involved in working with story in spoken word, oral storytelling, poetry and the like. Details to follow. Friday evening. Saturday all day until early evening. Comfortable, private home setting. Details soon.

Turn Over the Stones You Know

Validation. The stones here are more valuable than the stones there.

black and white picutre of sean buvala with the the title of the storytelling podcast in blueThere are folktales that tell about how a tradesman had a dream of a great fortune, there under a large stone in a far-away city. Discontent with his own life, he set out, in disguise, to find this fortune there. On his way there, he encountered a city guard and the disguised tradesman shared his secret dream with him. The guard mocked him, saying he himself had a dream of a great fortune under the hearthstones at the home of a tradesman in a city far away. The city the guard described was the tradesman’s city.

Undaunted, the tradesman still sought out the stone there in that foreign place. When the tradesman finally found the stone there in the far away, there was nothing underneath it.

Returning home sad and dejected, he remembered the mocking of the guard. Thinking it futile, he went to his own hearth and moved aside the flagstones. Here in his own shop he discovered a huge fortune in gold had been with him all along.

In decades of storytelling and coaching, all I can say is this: the fortune you seek (as you define it) is where you are now: here. Waiting to get on the perfect stage, festival or conference won’t fix your career. Getting published in the right magazine won’t bring the throngs to your door. Being on the World’s Largest Afternoon Talk Show doesn’t always mean success (ask around) and that moment of success is usually fleeting. This is not just about money, either. Getting your kids in the right school, meeting with that one guru, falling in love with the right person, or buying that thing you wish to conspicuously consume is never the “there” you are seeking.

I’ve heard the stories from my shocked friends and clients who discovered the thing they finally got “there” only left them empty “here.” Some of those stories sound like:

“I was on the (BigGiantWherever) stage and it made no difference in my career.”
“I published my book and I still don’t have any new bookings!”
Old School: “I bought 1000 of my new CDs and 900 are still in storage in my garage.”

“Getting There” isn’t one thing, it’s many. And, in forewarning: if someone from one of those “getting there” places says they have the one thing you need, they are in it for your money or your body or your freedom.

You will get “there” when you finally learn to turn over the stones in your own “here.” The constant turning of stones, in many small acts, stages, coaches, and events will get you to the “here” you want.

Success and contentment take time. You are as valuable here as you are there.

The true treasure is under your own stones.

I am going back and listening to decades of recordings of my own storytelling. Every month or so I will pop one up on my new podcast “Hear Sean Tell Stories.” Go to hearsean.com to figure out where to hear it at. Thanks.

“Story on Saturday” Podcast

I’ve created a new weekly podcast for you, full of short stories. We’re basing it out of Anchor.fm, but we’ll add the stream here. Latest Update: Week 7 for September 23, 2017.

You can also subscribe on GOOGLE. Click this link to go to the podcast page there.

Get it on Itunes or Apple Podcast.


Week 1: “Lion and Hare and a Well.” The fable is a traditional Aesop tale. I’ve shortened it a bit from previous tellings. Do the powerful have the right to oppress? Let’s let the victims become the victors. Launching a new and faster podcast over on Anchor for as long as I can keep up with it. 4:15 second listen.

Week 2: “The Hare and His Ears” by Aesop. The powerful should ban those who are different? Maybe everyone will leave. 3:16 run time.

Week 3: “The Miser and His Gold” by Aesop. Go ahead, collect wealth only to stare at it. Or maybe not. 3:30 Run Time.

Week 4: “The Lion’s Share” by Aesop. When the powerful hunt with the lesser, who do you think gets the the spoils?

Week 5: “The Fox and the Hedgehog.” Who has the most tricks? Who has the one best trick? An Aesopian Grimm tale by way of Romania or the like.

Week 6: “The Lion and His Bad Breath.” Does power require good news, delivered twice a day? The questions of speaking truth-to-power is an old theme. Also known as ” The Lion and his Councilors.”

Week 7: “The Eagle at the Concert.” It’s hard to speak truth to power; that is why so few can do it. An Aesop-influenced fable.

Do You Want A Podcast Sometimes Darker, Harder, Off-Kilter? Try:
watercolor rave head with the words of the podcast on it

Art work on the yellow lion is from The Mesquite Tree Studio in Arizona.

The good British voiceover on Episodes 3 and later come from SuperWiseMon.

Music credit: “Baba Yaga” Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/