Episode 129

Why Lateral Lessons Supercharge Your Speaking and Storytelling Prowess

It’s 2003. I’m at my very first TED event and I’m in the computer industry. Over a period of five days, I’m not hearing typical presentations on one subject matter. Instead, I am listening to Talks about nanotechnology, robotics, cancer cure research, and a variety of other topics that I never would have had access to otherwise.

At first I’m thinking that these Talks are way over my head. Yet soon I find that my exposure to these ideas help me build a completely new point of view around my company and how I treat family, friends, and clients. These influences stick with me and I still practice them to this day.

When you take lessons from one field of study and apply them to another, it can explode your momentum in your field of expertise. For instance, I’d hear a TED Talk on creativity and approach a project differently with that in mind. Or I’d slightly change the nature of a conversation with a client because of what I’d heard about a new development in artificial intelligence.

These are what I call lateral lessons. And you can do the same thing, too–use lateral lessons to help build out your body of work and what you offer to the world.

In this episode of the Storytelling School Podcast, you’ll learn about the lateral lessons that the world of Improv can teach you so you can apply these lessons in your life. I’ll teach you these concepts through stories of backstage preparations, spilled tea, and the danger of doing Improv. And you’ll also find out answers to questions like:

What concept helps you stop paralysis by analysis when you’re about to present or perform? How can you make certain parts of your presentation (or your life or business story) more interesting? And what goes on in the mind of an Improv performer?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • What simple gesture sparks connection and security for a presenter or performer
  • How one change can lead to changing everything about what you do
  • What it means to prepare (but not plan) as a speaker, performer, or storyteller

A little bit about me.

Hi there. I’m Kymberlee.

As a Speaking Strategist and founder of Storytelling School, I’ve had the pleasure of working with over 500 speakers, business leaders, and entrepreneurs worldwide for over a decade. No matter if those folks were getting ready to take the TED or TEDx stage or preparing for a high-stakes presentation with everything on the line, my specialty is High Stakes Short Form Communication. I’ve seen what works when influencing change and what doesn’t. It turns out storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your arsenal. That’s why I’m building a movement of master storytellers to affect change in the world on a global scale to help people tell <i>real</i> stories that have influence and impact. With effective storytelling, you change people’s lives.

Since competition for potential client attention is fierce, a story can make the difference between being memorable or irrelevant. You’ll find me sharing my matcha tea mishap to discuss perfectionism, my quest for Bruce Lee and Hello Kitty art to explore kindness, or the six months of live blade training I underwent to illustrate presence. I spend my days showing the power of using stories to help cement ideas and bring lessons to life and teaching my clients to do the same.

If you think business owners can’t tell stories or don’t have stories to share with their clients, staff, donors, followers, or investors, I invite you to reconsider your perspective. There’s no better place than in business to tell your stories so audiences, no matter how big or small, can understand how you think and what you value.

Now it’s your turn… If you’re ready to become a master storyteller and effect change in our world, you’ve come to the right place.

Want to take your storytelling skills to the next level?

I've got your back!

Learn how to craft a story that will make your brand unforgettable

The Proven 5-step process to captivate any audience


my proven 5-step process for short-form storytelling that you can apply to your stories forever


and craft your own Spotlight Story that you can use in a plethora of scenarios


on where and why to use storytelling in a variety of business situations to become unforgettable


clarity on the most common mistakes storytellers make and learn how to avoid those

...and so much more!

I want to stand out!

The best storytellers are memorable for a reason.

Traver Boehm

2-time TEDx Speaker, Author, Coach, and Founder of the Uncivilized Movement

Mo Barrett

TEDx Speaker, Anecdotist, Connector, Mischief-maker, Retired Military Commander, Keynote Speaker

Katy Stevens

Musician, Performer, Recording Artist, Voice Teacher

Greg Smith

TEDx Youngstown Organizer and Voice Coach, Chairman and CCO of Compco

Than Baardson

Entrepreneur, Speaker, Connector, CEO of Unseen, Humanitarian

Cathy Sommerville

TEDx Speaker, Coach, Advisor, Leader, Author, Vice President


I'm ready to stand out!