Who We Are

FirstVoice is a full-service consultancy specializing in building influence via narrative. Since 1995 FirstVoice has coached leaders and their organizations to become more influential by consciously developing stories that are authentic and make people care.

Stories: Your Secret Weapon

We tell stories constantly—whether we are aware of it or not—because that is the way we think. Narrative is the fundamental way we make sense of our world.

It’s essential that the stories we tell are effective and memorable, so we can successfully influence ourselves and our organization for the better.

A Teachable Skill

Storytelling is a lot like running; everyone can run, but we all need lots of coaching to run a four-minute mile. First Voice coaches leaders to think like great runners. World class runners know themselves from the inside out—how every muscle, tendon and bone is used to create the most effective path to move forward. In the same way great story makers are aware of their thoughts, emotions and voice, which they use skillfully to move others to act.

Our Proven Method

At FirstVoice we use an organic story making process based on the research from our book The Elements of Persuasion, called The Five Elements. We will help you become a more influential leader by consciously shaping your stories and the stories around you. We will coach you on becoming a more compelling communicator when addressing your board, your direct reports, customers and the media. As a result of working with us you will be more persuasive, relaxed and humorous while expressing your vision at crucial meetings, presentations, media events and informal settings. People will be more likely to remember your story and pass it on, even when you are no longer in the room.

Learn more about the principal of FirstVoice, Bob Dickman.

Our Method

At FirstVoice, our training is based on a proprietary method of narrative construction called “The Five Elements of Storytelling.” This is a comprehensive system developed over many years and tested rigorously in real life business situations. It uses discoveries in the fields of brain science—specifically memory and emotion—to produce memorable messaging that makes people care. FirstVoice’s methods can be applied within any discipline, and for any audience.

Clients interested in finding out more about the Five Elements of Storytelling as practiced by FirstVoice are encouraged to read Bob Dickman’s book, The Elements of Persuasion (co-authored with Richard Maxwell). We have distilled this proprietary method into four formats: narrative coachingexecutive coachingworkshops, and talks.



 Successful narratives have five innate qualities that reveal their nature. These qualities help the storyteller and audience engage with the narrative. Then they help the audience understand and identify with the story — and be moved to act.




  1.  The first element is Passion. New audiences are cool; they need to be warmed by a fire that pulls them into the heat of the story. To generate passion, answer this question: What will make the audience care about my story?
  2. The Hero’s job is to make the audience see through his/her eyes. The audience needs to identify with the hero, and be willing to go on the hero’s journey. To strengthen or clarify the Hero, ask: What does my hero stand for?
  3. Challenge is the middle element. Challenges are like water; without them the story dries up. To deepen audience evolvement the hero must be confronted by a challenge, obstacle or problem. There can even be multiple challenges — just as in life. Every one of them can make the story more powerful. To generate enough challenge element, ask: What is getting in the way of the hero’s success?
  4. The next element is Awareness. In order for the hero to overcome the challenge(s), he/she must learn something new. Awareness must increase. When working with this element, ask: What is the moment of awareness that allows the hero to overcome the obstacle?
  5. The final element is Transformation. If the first four questions are successfully answered — that is, if the other elements are present and in their proper amounts — then transformation will happen naturally. Our heroes take action to overcome their problems; and so they, and the world around them, change. Change is the playing field on which stories are told. To work with transformation, ask: What has changed, or needs to change, for a successful resolution to this story?