In 2006 I attended the National Justice Festival, a 5-day forum on social justice issues. I was looking for a way to use my passion, skills and years of experience in storytelling for the greater good. So on the first day I took my place amongst 200 young people for the keynote address. A young, energetic CEO of an international development organization hit us with a barrage of facts and stats about the appalling state of global poverty, education and human rights violations. Afterwards, as I sat in my dorm room I felt shocked and guilty, but strangely unmoved. I thought, “what’s wrong with me? When did I get so cynical and heartless?”

Then on day 2, the keynote speaker took a different approach. Kevin Dowling is the Catholic Bishop of Rustenberg, a poverty-stricken mining town in South Africa where 50 percent of pregnant women are HIV positive. He simply told the story of a young boy he had ministered to in hospital. An orphan who was blind, emaciated and dying of AIDS. When he had asked the boy how he was finding it at the hospital, the boy replied, “It’s so wonderful, the sheets are so clean and comfortable and the nurses are so kind.”

I felt myself welling up with tears, and looking round the room I wasn’t alone. The impact on the audience was palpable. People were disturbed, saddened and moved to do something about it! -  And I’d found my calling…

 

Simon Oats

is a critically acclaimed storyteller, presenter and teacher. He has a Bachelor of Performing Arts (Drama) from the Victorian College of the Arts, and a Bachelor of Education. After 20 years of captivating crowds and teaching creativity, performance, writing and the art of storytelling, he has shifted his focus towards helping purpose-driven organisations and individuals to super-charge their communications through neurologically targeted stories.

Simon brings together cutting-edge research from neuroscience and psychology with years of direct experience as a live storyteller and presenter to deliver an approach to communication that is strategic, practical and evidence-based.