How to Rethink Storytelling


This Week’s Episode:

My client arrives to rehearse her high-stakes keynote. She’s giving this speech in front of thousands upon thousands of people. Before she begins, I say to her, “Today, we’re going to start at the end. So go ahead and run through your closing paragraph now.”

That throws her off. She responds, “I’ve memorized my talk in a very specific order. Isn’t that going to mess me up?” 

Then I ask her how many times she’s rehearsed her opening paragraph. 

“I don’t know, maybe at least 75 times?” 

And the closing of her talk? 

“Oh. Maybe a handful--five?”

Aha! Speakers tend to focus on the opening. They go through it from the beginning, make a mistake before getting to the end, start over, make a mistake again, start over, and over. And over. And over. 

Imagine an airline pilot focused only on getting the takeoff right but not the landing. How’s that going to go??

When I explain this to my client, she says, “Kymberlee, I never thought of it that way,” which segues nicely with my special guest on the Storytelling School Podcast today. Sun Yi runs an award-winning digital agency that focuses on helping personal brands tell their story… by challenging their thinking. In fact, his actual tagline is “I never thought of it that way.” In this episode, he and I explore a ton of storytelling nuances like:

What elevates a story (and how is a narrative different from a story)? How do you know you’re being as vulnerable enough in your storytelling (and what’s the difference between vulnerability and a sob story)? Where do people using stories for business purposes tend to screw up? And how can you use storytelling in your brand when there’s no conflict in your personal story?

What you will learn in this episode:

  • How to correctly set up your story for an emotional payoff
  • What mistakes entrepreneurs make when telling personal branding stories
  • How to engage in “micro-storytelling” for social media audiences (and algorithms)

Who is Sun?

Sun Yi founded Night Owls, an award-winning digital branding agency based in New York City. For over 12 years, he’s used his passion for personal branding to help brands go from zero to over a billion dollars in revenue. His company has a well-earned reputation for its expert branding, marketing, and copywriting knowledge, as well as its high-quality website design and client service.

Sun built his firm with culture in mind. After starting and quitting so many times, he decided to put community first and create a collaborative environment where he and his employees felt passionate about putting love and care into their work. As a result, Night Owls has attracted household names like Spotify, Columbia University, and the American Red Cross as well as best-selling international speakers and authors like Mel Robbins, Gabby Bernstein, and Jay Shetty as part of their clientele.

Sun also loves teaching and creating educational content on Instagram for personal brands. In his spare time, he enjoys motorcycles, listening to audiobooks, watching Youtube videos, and doing yoga. You can learn more about him and Night Owls at his website.

Ready to be unforgettable? Good.


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"Storytelling is an art form - and Kymberlee Weil is the master! I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some of the most talented creatives in the world, and Kymberlee is close to the top of that list. She has an uncanny ability to uncover nuance and layers in a story - details often overlooked by the author - and has a deep understanding and connection with the value of well-executed presentation. Working with Kymberlee is more than a journey, it’s a transformative experience."


"Kymberlee helped me tremendously in the weeks leading up to my TED talk and afterwards. I have given hundreds of talks to audiences big and small. But the TED stage is a different beast -- every word matters.Kymberlee kept me on point, focused, and she took the time to figure out what my objectives really were and how to get me there. She is a true master of her trade and I am extremely grateful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from her."


"I thought I had public speaking down pat. I've addressed audiences all over the world ranging from 62 to 1000 people. But going into that red circle at TEDx, and connecting with a vastly diverse audience is like moving to another planet. Kymberlee made that move effortless and exciting. As a former Green Beret, I have followed a lot of quality leaders and coaches, and I would follow Kymberlee anywhere… Especially into the red circle."