Experience storytelling

Suzanne is a frequent speaker, workshop moderator and guest lecturer. The storytelling method she developed, 15 years of experience in organizations in change and her research, guarantees lively and inspirational sessions. Below are a few examples of recent performances.

Storytelling and sustainability

Storytelling and change

Care and health stories

Storytelling and Change communication

Fair trading and Fair pricing

The speaker wasn’t very good…

It still resonates…

Balls in the air


Next November the Impact Academy offers a series of lectures on social change and sustainability. In this debate storytelling plays a growing role. Scientists and practitioners are invited to give lectures and various topics involving storytelling. Suzanne teaches at the last session in which theory and practice will be connected. She will work with the group of approx. 40 practitioners in communications and consultancy on their specific situations. The closing session will be an interactive clinic in which the delegates share their cases with the expert. More at: www.impactacademy.nl

At the Universiteit of Amsterdam en Wageningen University Research center, Suzanne regularly teaches in the international curriculum: Master of Management of Change: Inter-Human Processes and Communication. More at: www.wur.nl


In her daily practice Suzanne has a number of customers involved in care, housing and wellness. Emphasise in and outside the Netherlands lies on cutting costs without losing quality; more with less. Storytelling helps these organization in large scale change processes, connecting and engaging work force with management in a complex and politically sensitive environment.
To cut costs and still deliver quality also in management, one of the topics in this field to reduce hiring expensive consultants, with sometimes unpredictable outcome and little accountability. This triggered Suzanne to start a new project aiming to deliver a contribution to a sustainable social change in the health care organizations and industry.

The intention is to develop a format in which health organizations can benefit from their own, customized intervention method, with storytelling. The intention is to introduce the project in November at Pluk (platform for sustainable social change) by Suzanne Tesselaar (Storytelling), Cathelijne Janssen (Accountability) and Noëlle Aarts (Professor at UvA and WUR). The format will be developed in co-operation with 3 healthcare organizations dutring a pilot of 6 months. Afterwards the results will be measured and described during 1,5 years. During the Pluk innovation festival next year, the first results will be presented. Dit keer zonder consultants en met accountable resultaten. Tijdens het innovatiefestival van Pluk “Changes in care but now differently”. More information expected at: www.plukinnovatiefestival.nl


Suzanne regularly performs at platforms, conferences and gives presentations on this topic. The talks are lively, interactive and delegates are challenged to experience the power and ambiguity of storytelling in change communication efforts. They become familiar with narratives and the role lived stories play in influencing behaviour, which is closely related to what is communication is.

At Erasmus University, the annual fair trade address, Max Havelaar Lezing, Suzanne presented the relationship between social responsibility, sustainable change and storytelling. She used the case of the Flag of Compassion, emphasizing behavioural change through the combination of art and story. You can find the full story at: www.flagofcompassion.nl


“Suzanne,
Because of a signal failure , I am home much later than expected and only now have the opportunity to thank you for your contribution this afternoon.

It was wonderful! The reaction and feedback from my colleagues was in one word, enthusiastic. The speaker following your presentation wasn’t very good. And there was some grumbling about wanting to spend more time on storytelling. But in retrospect and with hindsight it is always easy to change the world, isn’t it? I am convinced this will have a follow up at some point.

Thanks again. I have had plenty time in the train to start ready Storytelling Handbook (well written, reads nicely!)”


A university lecturer narrates:

Well that guest lecture resonated for a long time. We had a session about ethnography, last week, in which we discussed the programme of students this past year. I heard a number of students narrating the story you started your lecture with. That, apparently, had such an impression that everyone still remembered it and it gave them goose pimples… me too as a matter of fact. Probably because it was so personal and it came really close. Don’t worry they can handle it, after all they all are professionals. The story did bring it home to them and I have two students that are using storytelling for their thesis. Shall I sent them to you?


A teamleader narrates:

Your workshop had quite an impact, last week. I found it a real eye opener seeing all these stories by our directors on the wall. Incredible what it did to us. At first I thought: what the hell is this but as we went on it on me: there is a lot more to a story then face value. What fun to see and hear how stories, we all thought to know so well, became new to us and how we were sharing stories. I thought about this for a long time afterwards and I shared some of these stories with my own team.

All of a sudden I hear stories everywhere. I believe you call this story sensitivity? We decided to work with storytelling ourselves in my team because I feel it will help us through these difficult times, where we will have to say goodbye to some of our colleagues and need to keep all balls in the air at because the government is on our case as well, all the time.