Why Hire Michael?
With a background in cultural anthropology, Michael is fascinated by the evolution of business and communications. As the author of Believe Me: a Storytelling Manifesto for Change-Makers and Innovators, he teaches 15 storytelling principles that can inspire more meaningful connection.
For over a decade (since I was 22), he’s been invited to speak at 100s of conferences and organizations throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, Caribbean, and South Pacific. This includes keynotes for Ariba, NASA, Schulich School of Business, Northwest Health Foundation, and Zappos Insights. He’s also spoken at conferences including TEDx, SXSW, BlogWorld, #140 Characters, CultureCon, and DIYDays.
Michael teaches the why and how of storytelling — how to inspire, connect, and motivate your audience with the right message. He’s often asked to help redefine the narrative on a challenging topic, issue or cause. His specialty is working with change-makers and innovators, showing how to translate anything new and different into social acceptance. He also speaks on the topics of branding, tribe-building, content publishing, and social media as disruptive stories in our culture. His presentation style is a balance of passion and provocateur, always pushing audiences toward their own self-empowerment and inner-storyteller abilities.
If you’d like to inquire about speaker rates and availability, contact Jodi Bepler.
“Michael brings a dynamic understanding of how story is an integral part of everything we do. At Zappos Insights, culture transformation is the name of the game, and his speeches, consulting and workshops have been fantastic. And I give away his book to people all the time. I highly recommend him.”
- Robert Richman, Former head of Zappos Insights
“Michael gets below the buzzwords of storytelling to help individuals and organizations use this powerful innovation tool. Storytelling is how we create emotional connections to our ideas and Michael is a compelling advocate and advisor on how to make storytelling an everyday part of your innovation armamentarium. I have seen Michael in action and highly recommend him to anyone ready to embrace storytelling.”
- Saul Kaplan, Founder, Business Innovation Factory and host of BIF Forum
“Michael has tapped into something beautiful. His research, life experience, and most of all intense belief in the power of storytelling make him an invaluable resource for anyone looking to reinvent themselves or reignite their career. I have been steadily thinking about my own transformation daily, ever since this workshop. I’m in a wonderful haze, slowly watching the dust settle and picking up little tidbits of meaning moment to moment. I don’t know how he does it, but that class was nothing short of life-changing.”
- Cliff Flamer, Award-Winning Resume Writer and Career Counselor
Most Popular Topics
Story Blueprint: How to Structure Your Message for True Engagement
In this hands-on session, you’ll learn specific storytelling techniques for engaging true belief and commitment around your work. You’ll brainstorm with peers and walk away with a Story Blueprint — specific elements to incorporate into your fundraising proposals, website, and social media. In this session, you’ll learn:
- Who needs to be the hero of the story (and why this choice matters)
- How to customize the story based on your specific goals and audience
- Where to look for story themes and messages (hint: you already have it)
- How to reframe the conversation around your cause or issue
- What you need to leverage your story across the web and social media
Storytelling: How To Turn Your Supporters Into True Believers
In this session, you’ll be introduced to storytelling frameworks to fundraise and engage supporters at the deepest levels possible. Storytelling can make a huge difference between polite interest and impassioned involvement. When you tell a story people identify with as their own — the need to convince, persuade, or sell them on anything disappears. Your audience will want to be a part of things because they belong in the story. In this session you’ll learn:
- What’s missing from most social change storytelling (+ what to do about it)
- Specific storytelling themes for igniting passion and commitment
- Why the story begins with you as the messenger (your personal story)
- How to go beyond one-time engagement to sustained relationship
Sound interesting? Speaking requests and inquiries should be directed to Jodi Bepler.
Recent and Past Appearances
- May 7 – Ariba Live
- March 21 – Pennsylvania Libraries
- December 14 – Bloomberg, London
- November 2 – California Library Conference
- October 21 – TEDxMillRiver
- October 13 – Personal Story Power
- October 2 – Bloomberg LP
- September 12-14 – CultureCon
- August 24 – Bloomberg LP
- August 21 – Ant’s Eye View/PriceWaterhouseCoopers
- August 17 – Reebok
- August 3 – Bath Body Works
- July 10-11 – Story Blueprint (2-day intensive)
- June 29 – California Library
- June 18 – National Conference on Volunteerism and Service
- June 4 – California Library Future Forum (Keynote)
- April 28 – Make Market Launch Live
- April 16-20 – Reinvention Summit 2
- March 30 – Etsy Success Symposium
- March 29 – Post-Advertising Summit
- March 12 – SXSW: South by Southwest
- March 5 - Maryland Nonprofits (Keynote)
- February 16 – The Community Roundtable
- January 28 – Reboot Nation
- January 19/20 – NW Health Foundation (2-Day Forum)
- December 15 – HandsOn Network – Points of Light Institute
- December 7 – Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- #140 BrandsConf
- #140edu Conference
- #140Conference Meetup
- ASAE Conference
- BlogWorld LA and NY
- Bridge Conference AFP/DMA (Keynote)
- Creativity in Business Conference
- DIYDays NYC
- Dept of Treasury – Executive Leadership Institute
- Dream University – Inspiring Speakers Academy
- Energy BBDO
- Florida Dietetic Association (Keynote)
- Future of Marketing Conference
- Green Entrepreneurs Summit
- Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofits Conference (Keynote)
- Instant Celebrity Academy
- NASA Linking Leaders Conference (Keynote)
- National Audubon Society
- National Coop Grocers Association (Keynote)
- Northwest Health Foundation (Keynote)
- NYU Stern School of Business
- PBS Hawaii
- RISE Austin
- Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
- Schulich School of Business (Keynote)
- Smithsonian Storytelling Weekend
- The Influencer Project
- The Nature Conservancy
- Tufts University
- UN Foundation
- Youth Mega-Event
Speaking requests and inquiries should be directed to Jodi Bepler.
“We invited Michael to lead a keynote at the Etsy Success Symposium and were blown away with his inventive content. In one hour our community learned the importance of storytelling and how to eloquently communicate their story to buyers. Everyone left buzzing with ideas on how apply Michael’s tactics to their businesses, it was a great success.”
- Nickey Skarstad, Seller Education Specialist, Etsy
“We really appreciated the chance to hear your insights about storytelling and how it relates to Reebok. I heard lots of great feedback from the team. It sparked some great conversations and will have an impact on the way our designers think about their role in telling both product and brand stories in the future.”
- Mike Kirtley, Design Director, Reebok
I loved the half-day workshop on [Storytelling and Corporate Innovation], and am spreading the word. I think you are doing the next important thing in corporate culture. I would love to attend anything that you are teaching.
- Mary Berry, SVP, Corporate Communications/HR, Wells Fargo
I feel that I have just participated in a transformational ‘restarting’ point for our agency. We now have the fundamental tools and motivation to reframe our identity.
- Jill Matro, Program Services Dir, Big Brother Big Sisters of Honolulu
It was the most effective workshop I have attended all year! I got a tremendous amount of value and felt really inspired by the ideas you presented.
- Ian O’Sullivan, Marketing & Sales Enablement, Bloomberg
Great new insights for handling the paradigm shift in non-profit business.
- Chuck Remington, Dir. of Field Support, National Audubon Society
Michael is an inventive instructor and a compelling storyteller for the Schulich School of Business. The students he works with are senior executives (VP and above) in the MarCom industry. In his sessions he links a brand narrative framework to business innovation. I recommend Michael highly to any organization looking for a creative approach to telling its brand story.
– Paul Dillon, Mgr. of Learning Strategies, Schulich Executive Centre
Your Audience Needs
You need to see storytelling translated to the unique needs and motivations of your audience. That’s his specialty.
Michael has presented to ad agencies, nonprofits, entrepreneurs, technologists, associations executives, youth marketers, environmentalists, educators, government officials, college students, theatre directors, and many other groups. He discusses topics in a manner that balance the strategic big-picture with real practical and actionable take-aways.
Every presentation is customized, and responds in real-time to emergent feedback from the audience. His presentations are highly educational, provocative, and address timely topics and trends.
Contact: Jodi Bepler to book Michael for a speaking engagement.