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Master the Art of Storytelling

at Wylie Communications, Inc. - Balboa Park

Course Details
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Balboa Park
2920 Zoo Dr
San Diego, California 92101
Early Bird Silver Pack | Packages HERE
Purchase Options
Class Level: All levels
Age Requirements: 18 and older
Average Class Size: 70
Teacher: Ann Wylie

What you'll learn in this storytelling class:

End mind-numbing, eye-glazing, business-repelling boring corporate copy forever.

It ain’t fluff. Creative messages help people pay closer attention to your message, understand it faster, remember it longer and act on it more quickly.

As ad giant David Ogilvy famously said, “Nobody ever sold anybody anything by boring them to death.” Most organizations seem to have missed that memo.

But at Master the Art of Storytelling, you’ll learn how to engage readers with creative elements like concrete details, description, wordplay, metaphor and storytelling.

Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Color Them Fascinated: Concrete-comprehension connection.
  • Paint Pictures in Readers’ Minds: Make their brains light up.
  • Play With Your Words: Surprise and delight readers.
  • Make Magic with Metaphor: Charm readers with analogies and comparisons.
  • Master the Art of Storytelling: Tap ‘the most powerful form of human communication’.
  • Get to Aha! Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain.
  • Think Outside the Pyramid: Choose a structure that’s been proven in the lab to reach more readers.
  • Get a Creative Writing Workout: Take your story from meh to masterpiece.

Color Them Fascinated

Concrete-comprehension connection. Talk about a superpower:
  • There’s a 1:1 correlation between concrete words and understanding.1
  • Concrete phrases are 400% more memorable than abstract phrases.2
  • Concrete details in legal arguments change jurors’ minds — and their decisions.3
In this session, you’ll learn how to boost comprehension and retention — even move people to act — with juicy details. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Write like a roller coaster: Are you losing them in the middle? Test your message so you can spot and fix the boring parts.
  • Keep them reading longer: Where to sprinkle “gold coins” throughout your message to keep readers engaged.
  • Go from blah to brilliant in 15 minutes or less: Quick ways to add concrete detail to even the most tedious topics.

Paint Pictures in Readers’ Minds
Make their brains light up
Think of description as virtual reality:
  • Describe a scent, and your readers’ primary olfactory cortexes light up.
  • Describe texture, and you activate their sensory cortexes.
  • Describe kicking, and not only do you stimulate their motor cortexes, but you stimulate the part of the motor cortex responsible for leg action.
But write abstractly — aka, the way we usually do in business communications — and readers’ brains remain dark.

Want to stimulate some brain activity around, say, your CEO’s latest strategy or that brilliant Whatzit you’ll be releasing later this month? Description is the answer.

In this session, you will learn to make your readers’ brains light up with description. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Dig up descriptive details: Try WBHA, the most overlooked reporting tool there is.
  • Tune in to sensory information: Use our travel writer’s tip for going beyond visual description.
  • Communicate, don’t decorate: Use this tip to avoid stimulating readers’ gag reflexes instead of their cerebral cortexes.

Play With Your Words
Surprise and delight readers

There’s a little piece of your brain — it’s called the Broca’s area — that’s responsible for helping you sort through all of the many messages you get each day.

Well-worn phrases and familiar ideas don’t activate the Broca’s area. Plain old ‘splainin’ doesn’t do anything for it either. But creative techniques like wordplay do.

In this session, you’ll learn how to tickle your readers’ Broca’s area — and cut through the clutter of competing messages — with wordplay. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Go beyond twist of phrase: Learn to flip phrases; compress details; sub soundalikes; list, rhyme and twist — even coin new words.
  • Find online tools that do most of the work for you: Walk away with links to some of the best (free!) wordplay resources — as well as ideas for how to use them.
  • Polish your skills in our wordplay workout: Get “recipes” for creating 14 types of wordplay, from anagram to etymology to oxymoron.

Make Magic with Metaphor
Charm readers with analogies and comparisons

It’s tempting to call metaphor the magic spell in a writer’s repertoire, the Penn and Teller of the page.

Metaphor has the power to persuade far better than literal language. It lets you say in five words what would otherwise take five paragraphs to explain.

It makes readers’ brains light up, helps them think more broadly about your message — even (ahem!) makes you look more attractive.

But, as with other forms of magic, you’ll want to master a few tricks before you step onto the stage. In this session, you’ll learn how to charm readers with the magic of metaphor:
  • Get the zombies out of your message: Don’t let Dead and Dead2 metaphors eat your readers’ brains.
  • Craft a compelling metaphor with our fill-in-the-blanks formula.
  • Polish your metaphor: Learn which kinds of metaphors to choose, which to avoid and where in your message to place them from 41 academic studies covering 50 years of research.

Master the Art of Storytelling

Tap ‘the most powerful form of human communication’

It’s “the most powerful form of human communication,” according to Peg Neuhauser, author of Corporate Legends and Lore.

Indeed, stories can help you grab attention, boost credibility, make your messages more memorable — even communicate better.

In this session, you’ll learn to find, develop and write stories that engage readers’ hearts and minds. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Find the aha! moment that’s the gateway to every anecdote.
  • Elicit juicy stories with the key question to ask during an interview.
  • Organize your material into a powerful story in just three steps with our simple storytelling template.

Get to Aha!
Master a creative process that works with — not against — your brain.

Want to come up with fresher, faster, more inspired story ideas and writing insights?

Welcome to the wonderful world of the creative process.

In this session, you’ll master a five-step creative process that helps you produce more and better ideas. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Write while washing the dishes: Find out why taking a walk, a nap or a break is actually part of the creative process.
  • Treat writer’s block, procrastination and formulaic thinking: When you understand the creative process, you can end-run some of the common problems that writers and editors face.
  • Avoid “creative incest”: Stop creating communications that are dull replicas of the same thing you did last year — and the year before that.

Think Outside the Pyramid
Choose a structure that’s been proven in the lab to reach more readers.

You wouldn’t tell the Cinderella story by leading with the bottom line: And they lived happily ever after.

It’s a sad fact: Storytelling and the inverted pyramid are mutually exclusive.

In this session, you’ll learn a structure that will help you make all of your messages more fascinating and engaging. Specifically, you’ll learn how to:
  • Organize your story in six easy pieces with our fill-in-the-blanks template.
  • Test your lead’s attention-getting power against our checklist of elements of a great lead.
  • Walk away with award-winning lead examples to model.

Get a Creative Writing Workout
Take your story from meh to masterpiece

In the crunch of writing headlines and meeting deadlines, it sometimes seems as if there’s not enough time to pause and consider how you’re doing.

But in our practice sessions, you’ll get a great opportunity for reflection and improvement.

Bring your laptop and a story to work on. You’ll get a chance to write and rewrite, get and give feedback, and leave with a totally rewritten piece. In these practice sessions, you’ll:
  • Master the techniques you learn in the workshop by applying them immediately. (That’s how we put the “Master” in the Master Class!)
  • Gain valuable insights on your work from your peers and from Ann.
  • Learn to analyze and improve others’ writing — the best skill you can develop for editing others or improving your own work.
Check our Price Packages HERE

Still have questions? Ask the community.

Refund Policy
Can’t make it? Send a colleague. We’ll miss you! But please feel free to send a friend in your place. No charge for substitutions.

Transfer to a different Master Class. Choose one of our other 2015 workshops. No charge to transfer.

Don’t cancel! But if you must, please cancel via email at [email protected]

By Feb. 28 to receive a full refund.
By March 22 to receive a 75% refund.
Sorry, no refunds after March 22.


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Wylie Communications, Inc.

All classes at this location

The Safari Park is at 15500 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, California 92027-7017. For general information, call 760-747-8702. Distance between the San Diego Zoo and the Safari Park is 35 miles. Please allow 45 minutes to 1 hour travel time.

Directions from the NORTH (southbound): From Interstate 5 (Orange County, Los Angeles), take the State Route 78 East exit at Oceanside, proceed east to Interstate 15 South, exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs to the Park. From Interstate 15 (Riverside), exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27) and follow the signs east to the Park.

Directions from the SOUTH (northbound): From State Route 163 (downtown San Diego, Mission Valley) proceed to Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Go east and follow signs to the Park. From Interstate 5 or 805 (Mexico), proceed to State Route 163, then to Interstate 15 North, and then exit at Via Rancho Parkway (Exit 27). Follow signs east.

Directions from the EAST (westbound): From Interstate 8 (Imperial County, Arizona) take Interstate 15 North to the Via Rancho Parkway exit (Exit 27). Follow the signs east to the Park.

Parking fees: $15 per vehicle; $20 for RV parking. Preferred parking is available on weekends and holidays for an additional $18 ($15 + $18 = $33 total to park in preferred parking).

Public Transportation For more information about bus and train schedules, please call 511 (San Diego's traffic and transit information service) or visit

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School: Wylie Communications, Inc.

Wylie Communications, Inc.

Improve your communications with our training, consulting, and writing services.

Works with communicators who want to reach more readers and with companies that want to get the word out.

  • Training to help you improve your writing, editing and communication skills
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