New Guide Helps Everyday Advocates and Leading Change Makers Tell Powerful Personal Stories

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"Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference" helps everyday advocates and professional spokespersons use their personal stories to bring about positive change through speeches and media interviews.

New handbook for advocacy, storytelling, communication
Advocating well with personal stories is not a call to simply ‘Insert Story Here.’ It requires elements of persuasion, public speaking, media interview skills and storytelling—all skills that can easily be learned and practiced.

"Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference," a new manual published by Granville Circle Press, is the first comprehensive guide that helps individuals tell their personal stories powerfully to bring about positive change. Written by John Capecci and Timothy Cage, communication professionals who’ve helped thousands of advocates and hundreds of organizations share their stories, the book is aimed at anyone asking "How do I tell my story and make a real difference?"

A combination of communication theory and practical advice, "Living Proof" is a step-by-step guide that teaches readers how to prepare and share experiences and life stories to engage audiences, raise awareness, change behaviors and fundraise. It features real-life stories and useful insights from advocates from all walks of life, including:

  • Loren Vaillancourt, former Miss South Dakota, who, after her brother was killed in an accident involving a distracted driver, became a national advocate for stricter driving laws.
  • Scott Harrison, founder of charity: water, who tells his story of transformation to gain support for bringing clean water to developing nations.
  • Theresa Greenleaf, a Brooklyn mom, who advocated for allergen-free school lunches in order to protect children who have allergies or asthma.

The ancient tradition of storytelling is a hot contemporary trend. Most of the more than 1.5 million non-profit organizations in the U.S. rely on individuals telling their stories, and more and more commercial businesses are leveraging the persuasive power of authentic experience. Storytelling skills are encouraged in MBA and medical training programs, scientific institutions and law schools. “But,” says co-author Capecci, “advocating well with personal stories is not a call to simply ‘Insert Story Here.’ It requires elements of persuasion, public speaking, media interview skills and storytelling—all skills that can easily be learned and practiced.”

Says co-author Cage, “Our aim is to provide advocates a single resource for this special kind of preparation—a one-stop shop for the essential skills that can help build the confidence needed, whether you’re a passionate person talking with a neighbor, a non-profit executive director inspiring volunteers or a national spokesperson addressing thousands.”

"Living Proof" also helps advocates prepare for print, radio, web and TV interviews, and includes more than 200 helpful tips, as well as interview-planning checklists. The book helps speakers at all levels understand the “Five Qualities of Effective Advocacy Stories” with topics such as Why and When Stories Work, Finding and Focusing Your Story, Hooks and Headlines, Delivering Powerful Presentations and Giving Great Media Interviews.

“If we’re going to make a change, we’re going to have to tell our stories and tell them effectively. This book shows us how,” says Paul Loeb, author of "Soul of a Citizen," about "Living Proof."

Other reviewers demonstrate the wide range of “storytelling advocacy:"

  • Michael Colford, director of library services at Boston Public Library, sees “a natural fit between the content of 'Living Proof' and the work of library advocates.”
  • Eboo Patel, founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core, says the book is especially timely: “Now more than ever, our world needs ordinary people to become master storytellers.”
  • Lee Woodruff, co-founder of the Bob Woodruff Foundation, advocates “for the public to hear and be moved by the stories of injured service members and their families” and sees "Living Proof" as “a great tool for anyone sharing a story.”

The book's readers connect with each other via Twitter, Facebook and at, where they can download more resources about personal storytelling, public speaking and media interviews. Each month, "Living Proof" partners with non-profit advocacy groups and contributes a portion of sales to a variety of causes including disease research and awareness, environmental stewardship and social justice.

Through inspirational guidance and practical how-tos, this new communication manual teaches individuals how to advocate for the causes most important to them by employing the single most powerful tool they have—their personal stories.

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About "Living Proof" and the Authors

"Living Proof: Telling Your Story to Make a Difference" is distributed nationally by Itasca Books ($21.95, softcover, 212 pages, 6” x 9”. ISBN 978-0-9838703-0-2 Granville Circle Press). It is available at independent booksellers, major online bookstores and directly from Itasca Books. Quantity discounts are available for bulk orders and classroom use. Authors John Capecci and Timothy Cage are communication professionals with offices in Minneapolis and New York. They work with a wide range of clients, from "ordinary" people, grassroots activists and first-time speakers, to CEOs, entrepreneurs and some of the best-known celebrities, media personalities and professional speakers in the world.

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