FirstVoice has been helping clients reach their goals for almost twenty years. Hear what they have to say below.  Contact us for a complimentary consultation, to see if our services are right for you. 

Your concepts on story, its importance and how to use them were terrific.
The fast paced self-coaching pairs and trios worked well.

Here are a few words from Simon Kneen, Creative Director for Banana Republic.



Bob was quoted in an article on Fox Business:

"A number of years ago I met Robert Dickman, author of The Elements of Persuasion.  He taught me the formula for a good story:

  1. A story is a fact
  2. Wrapped in an emotion
  3. That compels us to take action
  4. That transforms us in some way

The key here is that a good story compels people to take action and that this action transforms or helps them in some way.  I always try to  re-live a story, not just re-tell a story.  Make it sound fresh and alive.  That is an important aspect of story telling."

Read the rest of the article here



Susan was an SVP in a toy company. She hired me because the creative and business teams were in conflict. There was constant arguing and both teams were distrustful of each other. I began by interviewing all key players on both teams.


There was plenty of passion and heat. The problem was that all that passion was obscuring common purpose and unified action. Each team was behaving from its own unspoken story.

The creative team was passionate about developing new products and services. They saw themselves as “ninja’s of innovation.” They wanted to surprise the customer with new designs and technologies. They wanted to create the next great break through toys. They were proud of being risk takers, and less concerned about protecting the corporate status quo. They felt that the best strategy was to break thru with new products and services. he creatives felt they were being held back from doing their best work by the business team, and the business team felt that the creatives were not business-savvy.

Both teams worked hard on making their implicit stories about themselves and the the other team explicit. I reflected back the implicit assumptions discovered in each of their stories. Then, with each teams permission, I made the implicit stories explicit by sharing them with the other team. I asked each team what it would be like for them if the other team no longer existed? What would it be like for the creatives if they lost the company’s business skills? What would happen to the business side if they had no new creative products to market?

I helped both teams find common ground by developing a story of interdependence. We uncovered shared goals and charted new behaviors that mapped out specific ways the teams could support each other’s goals.

Working together with both teams we developed an interdependent and supportive story. We charted a course to a future that was more productive, innovative and successful for both teams. We developed step by step the actions that would lead to a more productive future. We made explicit who was accountable for each part of the new story and what would be the signs that the teams were on the right track.



I was hired to coach a senior designer working in a large global transportation company. He just developed a promising new design technology. His new innovation had the potential to create greater safety and beauty in automobiles. He was meeting with the CEO of the company. The CEO was known for having a short attention span and fuse. My clients future could very well be determined by the outcome of this meeting.


After evaluating my initial meeting with my client I felt that my client was concerned and frightened by the prospect of this coming meeting. In his description of his project there was no passion. He didn’t make me care nor anyone else. The more nervous my client became the more he was relying on facts and graphs to make his case.

Due to his anxiety, my client had buried himself in a coffin of data. He lacked a clear point of view. In fact he had removed himself  completely from the presentation of his idea. The presentation lacked a center. It just lay there on the table, like a still birth. No breath, no vitality, no passion.

My challenge was to rouse my client’s passion so that his new idea would excite and inspire the CEO. The more I told my client he needed more fire in his talk the more he put his head down and tried to convince me that facts alone would win his case. I tried everything I knew to cokes and impassion my client. Nothing worked. Finally I told him that it was my option that if he gave his current version of his talk to his boss one of two things would happen. First, his idea would not get approved and second, he may lose his design job.

That stopped my client and he agreed that he was giving a boring, lifeless talk himself and he lacked the energy to continue.

I asked my client one question. “Where did you get your idea?” He then told me an amazing story about not being able to find his car in a dark garage late at night. At the point of feeling vulnerable and frightened he thought “Wouldn’t it great if I could push a button on my key chain and my car would be illuminated by light panels from my car.” I told him that was a powerful story and insisted he tell that story to the CEO. I suggested he start with his story and then back it up with all of his research and data. He happily agreed.</p>

The CEO heard the designer’s story and immediately understood how and why this innovation would make the company’s product more desirable to women, who he knew felt nervous when approaching their cars in poorly lit parking lots. The project was given a multi-million dollar green light. And the young designer was put in charge of the project



I was hired by the director of a science museum. He asked me to help a group of designers work together to build a new kind of science museum. The mandate from the board was to “Build a non-conventional museum that would show the exciting and vital process of scientific discovery. And encourage young people to pursue a career in science.”


My first task was to imbue the designers with the passion and sense of wonder that a young boy or girl experiences when entering nature for the first time.  I began asking myself, friends and associates these questions: What was your first memory of nature? What fascinated or terrified you? What childhood experiences were so powerful you can easily recall them now? Within a week of asking these questions and sifting through the answers I knew what approach I would take.

I wanted to help the design teams make young people the heroes of the museum.I thought that any exercise that would allow the designers to see the world through the eyes of a child would be useful.

I developed an experiential workshop for the design teams. We began by talking about what   science meant to children. The conversations were interesting but seemed abstract, theoretical and detached.

Just before lunch, when the teams were getting hungry, museum employees began wheeling carts into our conference room. Every cart was covered with white cloth so the contents were hidden below. Conference members began assuming that this must be a tasty snack or lunch. Some team members began trying to remove the covers. I ask them to “Be careful, this may not be what you are expecting.”

We all stopped our discussion and make a circle around the carts. With a flourish I removed  the white covers. What were revealed were hundreds of bugs—Black and yellow flesh-eating beetles, deadly Recluse spiders, brown Tarantulas and  Black Widows began crawling out of their burrows. Beautiful Monarch butterflies fluttered in their transparent containers while huge red army ants from Africa patrolled the outer borders of their habitat. The team members, cried, gasped, snorted and laughed. There was a spontaneous outpouring of stories, most from the designers own childhood memories. Team members were no longer having abstract conceptual conversations. They were experiencing nature from the POV of a child.

Most conventional  science museums tell a story about science which is stolid and boring. They display bronze plaques on the wall with information about the solar system. “Mars rotates around the sun every....” or “Earth is 93 million miles from the Sun, blah, blah, blah.” See the exhibit once and come back three years later and nothing has changed.

This museum of science wanted to tell a very different story. Science is dynamic, vital and in constant flux. The majority of scientists are not old guys wearing thick glasses and smoking pipes.They can be passionate, young, curious and funny. Science is the life of discovery and it’s a cool way to make a living.

The challenge for the designers was how to bring the vitality and complexity of discovery into the design and architecture of this new museum.

It became clear to the teams that the energy, excitement and surprise jumped 10x in the room with the introduction of the bugs. Bugs triggered unexpected stories and excitement. The design team re-experienced the wonder of a child entering the natural world. The team gained insight which lead to these new question: How do we engage a visitors natural curiosity and sense of wonder while presenting real problems about sustainability and balance?  How do we design a museum that encourages kids to consider a career in science?

The design team shifted their thinking from professional outsiders dispensing knowledge to telling scientific stories that transmitted a passion for exploring and studying Earth.

They agreed that their shared purpose was to both design a museum that would give a knowledge of nature’s wonder and an awareness of  the fragility of life.