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ANU Crawford School of Public Policy

Policy and persuasion: communicating with influence at work

One-day short course


15th September 2016


ANU Crawford School of Public Policy



In this course, you will master the principles of successful business narrative, developing and refining your storytelling skills for use in leadership and organisational contexts.

Course overview

The ability to tell stories well is a powerful leadership tool, which builds relationships and helps you to connect with others. Good stories are inclusive, celebrating shared values and inspiring trust. They strengthen ties and they promote collaboration.

Our reasons for telling stories are as varied as the forms that carry them. Stories can be stirring calls to action or innovative teaching tools. They offer ways of consolidating knowledge as well as avenues for opening up fresh options. They set goals and they establish intentions. They harness techniques that motivate and influence people to change their attitudes and behaviour.

Narrative taps into issues of human interest, which is what makes stories memorable and meaningful. As American leadership consultant Harrison Monarth says: “Data can persuade people, but it doesn’t inspire them to act; to do that, you need to wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.”

We can all improve on our techniques in order to integrate authentic storytelling into the workplace. This course offers a balance of theory and practice, drawing on examples and exercises to reinforce and enhance our narrative skills. You will reflect on other people’s stories and you will find your own as you practise communicating in an authentic and engaging manner.

Course convenor

Dr Mary Lynn Mather

Mary Lynn Mather has worked on several newspapers in Australia, including the Canberra Times. She loves playing with words and began her storytelling career as a feature writer on a women’s magazine in South Africa. Mary Lynn has taught at the university and school levels. In addition, she has done stints in corporate public relations and helped to promote everything from arts festivals to education. She produced a novel as the research component of her PhD in the Department of English and Creative Writing at the University of Adelaide. Mary Lynn received a Dean’s Commendation for Doctoral Thesis Excellence. Her undergraduate degree is in journalism and media studies.

Course date:9.30am–4.30pm 15 September 2016
Venue: Crawford School, ANU
Enrol: T 02 6125 2154 E
Cost: $1,100 GST incl; Group discounts applicable

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