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Building Brands

Storytellers KLH Brand Advocates were the hosts for a hugely popular Lunch & Learn event at Southampton Science Park on 27th April.

The company’s Kris Lawton naturally opened the session by telling a story. It is one that he has told many times before about a little boy who went from racing his mobility trolley round hospital wards in New Zealand to become founder of the McLaren Formula One Team. Bruce McLaren’s story is one of resilience and perseverance and Kris explained how these virtues continue to live on in McLaren culture today, more than 50 years after Bruce’s tragic death.

Danielle Fenemore then dived further into the theory of storytelling: why stories are so effective for conveying information, entertaining and keeping messages consistent. She explained that every employee, partner, sponsor, investor and fan hears Bruce McLaren’s story when they visit McLaren because it’s an authentic true story that connects them emotionally with the brand and makes ‘the sell’ easier.

She advocated not changing a story for different audiences but instead, emphasising the parts that specifically matter to them. Data, facts and figures can get in the way of a good story so use them sparingly. Remember, you’re still communicating to another human so, ask yourself, how do you want people to feel or do? Get involved? Feel proud? Invoke a change in people’s behaviour? Also ask: what is the key message you want your audience to take away? For it to make sense, you must first know and understand what the message is: can you distil it into an Elon-Musk-style 240 characters?

Kris then went on to talk about the foundation of his business, KLH Brand Advocates, and how he pulled together a group of actors to present stories for a variety of clients; the advantage of working with actors being their ability to learn vast amounts of information, engage audiences and be consistent in their performances.

These are some of the public speaking skills that Adam Reeves went on to discuss in the session that followed, which addressed how to speak effectively in public when you don’t want to pay an actor to advocate for your brand. Learning from his experience as an actor and acting tutor at some of the most prestigious drama schools in the UK, Adam helps speakers  to enhance their own voice and connect with what we’re saying as performers, verbally and non-verbally. By looking at posture, body language, vocal tone, breathwork and the effective use of pauses, everyone can be trained to improve their confidence in public speaking, he said. You just need the tools, triggers and route maps to get you through your presentation but also be true to yourself.

A lively Q&A session concluded what was surely one of the most engaged Lunch & Learn sessions to date. “We were really pleased with the whole event,” remarked Tom Millen, Business Development Manager at KLH. “The audience seemed engaged throughout and offered up a lot of questions about storytelling and public speaking in the corporate environment that opened discussions around the room. We could have stayed for another hour, at least!”

All Southampton Science Park Lunch & Learn sessions are free for any business manager to attend, you do not need to be a resident company. What better way to spend your lunchbreak than learning something new? Check out what’s coming up on our Events Page.

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