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Bestselling author Melissa Reaves talks about ‘The Storyteller’s Mind Movie’ book

Bestselling author Melissa Reaves talks about her book “The Storyteller’s Mind Movie.”

Bestselling author Melissa Reaves
Bestselling author Melissa Reaves. Photo Courtesy of Melissa Reaves
Bestselling author Melissa Reaves. Photo Courtesy of Melissa Reaves

Bestselling author Melissa Reaves talks about her book “The Storyteller’s Mind Movie.”

She is a Seattle-based executive storytelling mentor, as well as the founder and CEO of Story Fruition. She has over 25 years in start-ups as well as enterprise sales. Reaves and her coaches help C-Suite executives, authors, scientists, engineers, inventors, and capital raising entrepreneurs learn to become compelling storytellers in their presentations, Town Halls, media podcasts and signature talks.

Her bestselling book, “The Storyteller’s Mind Movie,” is a hands-on tool that teaches the core elements that turn a meandering story into a vivid, well-crafted Mind Movie that the listeners can see, hear, smell, taste and feel.

Storytelling is an essential business skill, but most people have never really been taught how to story tell, so she is bringing what she does professionally onstage as an actor, improviser, and storyteller, and takes it to the boardroom.

“Let’s remove the boredom from the boardroom, and make it exciting and inspiring by creating emotionally connected leaders. That’s where storytelling skills come in,” she said.

Talk to us about Story Fruition. How did the idea for this come about?

I noticed during a business plan competition in Seattle, that storytelling was almost completely ignored by the founders. All stats, graphs and pie charts were all shared, and that is not emotionally connected.

The idea to change that data heavy approach–hit me like a lightning bolt—so I volunteered the next year to test my theory, that storytelling in business was not just important, it’s essential. I approached “The Problem” slide and made it a story with people having the problem, and then positioned the Founder as the hero with their product or service.

The entire deck was infused with storytelling and images and far less graphs, and charts. People will remember the story, not the pie chart. It was a huge success—so during a crucial career time, I decided to go for it and start my own business/storytelling consulting firm trusting I can make it work. I now am adding more coaches to my team to handle the demand.

Teaching executives to not just be storytelling but be Mind Movie Making is joyous—and highly effective.

What is the most important skill for a coach or mentor to have in order to achieve the most success?

There are a few, but the most important is listening skills. We must listen to our clients tell their stories carefully and then dig deeper for details that they are missing. We catch those details and then play back their story on the fly using my Mind Movie Method.

Clients are delighted and excited to realize that they can be doing so much more to “edu-tain” their audiences. Educate and be entertaining via your words and images you create.

So, my coaches have strong business backgrounds (educators, financial, IT, executive leadership) and also are dynamic presenters regularly. A huge plus is if they have been actors or studied improv because they can coach the “inner actor” out of our shyer clients during the performance portion of their training.

A great storyteller knows how to move in and out of being the narrator, then stepping into scenes as one of the characters in the story.

You just launched your new book, ‘The Storyteller’s Mind Movie.’ What inspired you the most while you were in the creation process?

I teach clients to open up their “Creative Flow” which is vital to letting the stories come out. No overthinking, just allow the pen or keyboard to flow. So, as I approached the book, I did the same thing and there were days that were just magical. I felt like it was writing itself.

I would get into a flow like “Life Chapters” and let it out. I was laughing as humor would infuse throughout the book—which was my Inner Improviser at play!

Can you tell us about some challenges you have faced in being a storyteller and storytelling coach?

To master anything, you must dedicate time to it. As a storyteller, I embrace rehearsal. I do it on my walks recording a story I’m getting ready to perform on stage. I will run a story dozens of times as I refine it.

As a storytelling coach, we need our clients to do the same thing. I can tell when they have, and when they haven’t. I see when the Mind Movie lightbulb has gone on—because they are infusing more vivid images.

Executives get very busy—so that’s why I encourage booking time on their own calendars just to play in their stories they want to use in an upcoming presentation or keynote.

Rehearsal reduces nerves, too, as it builds confidence. But, I can only encourage—and hope they’ll maximize their investment with us by dedicating themselves to practice.

What do you enjoy doing to unwind in your spare time when you’re not busy coaching top-level executives?

I love to cook great meals—and also go on hilly neighborhood walks with my 10-lb dumbbells in my hands. I probably look silly, but most people smile when they realize I am getting two things done at once for my health: Steps and muscle building.

The Pacific Northwest is so beautiful, so anything outside when the weather is glorious. Hikes, bikes and golf fit in well.

Her bestselling book “The Storyteller’s Mind Movie” is available on Amazon by clicking here.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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