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Heavy Chef Event: Storytelling

Event Report: How To Use Storytelling To Empower Your Business

We’ve ascertained that stories are an inescapable part of being human. That they are in everything we do and that they help us make sense of the world and connect with one another and to things. That everyone has a story to share. In reality, although everyone has a story, not everyone can tell it well or to the right effect.

The scary thing is, even when you’re not telling a story, you’re telling a story. For example, if your business or personal brand lacks any sort of cohesive storytelling, you could be telling your audience the story of how you lack focus in your own vision. This is just one way we can inadvertently communicate the wrong narrative to our audience without actively seeking to do so. So the question isn’t whether your business telling a story. It’s whether your business is telling the right story.

So what, exactly, does storytelling done right look like? And how can we, as entrepreneurs, make the most of our stories so that they serve both our businesses and our customers?

We explored these questions last on 21 April at our Storytelling event in Johannesburg. Some of our community members, in-person and online, joined Heavy Chef CEO Fred Roed and two of South Africa’s finest current storytellers, Lauren Beukes and Pierre du Plessis, at Workshop17 in Sandton for an in-depth discussion on the craft of storytelling.

The evening kicked off with an exciting reunion with some of our favourite community members and Heavy Chefs, including Tiffany Markman, Bronwyn Williams and Selebogo Molefe. Our level of excitement at seeing y’all’s faces made us wonder if will we ever get used to doing public events again - Is it just us or does every get together feel like a reunion party lately? Thanks to Backsberg, Sir Fruit, Creed Living and Goodleaf for the super-tasty thirst-quenchers and treats that help fuel these interactions.

Fred jump-started the discussion with an ever-so-important question in storytelling - where did it all begin? Perhaps unsurprisingly, Lauren has known that she wanted to be a writer since she was 5 years old. Unsurprising because she is scarily good and it makes sense that she's been at this since she was a mere toddler.

Although she's the first to admit that it's not all that glamorous.


"Writing is not exactly how I imagined it as a kid - it's a lot more hard work!" she quipped via video call from the UK, where she currently is. Lauren is at a very exciting time in her career. Her best-seller, The Shining Girls, has been acquired by Apple TV and is due on our screens any day now as a thrilling series starring none other than Elizabeth Moss and Jamie Bell.

Pierre is no stranger to the Heavy Chef platform. We have featured his work countless times and he's been a regular contributor of stories, in written and spoken form, for many years now. 

When asked what inspired his zeal for narrative, Pierre responded, "My background is in anthropology and reading a bunch of ancient texts and theology. At one point I realised all our ancient stories, myths and legends and religions are all told in stories and these stories tend to change people's lives for the better, mostly. I started to dig deeper and found this love for story and I've been exploring them ever since."

The evening was filled with deep insights, from the building blocks of a great story to what to avoid in your storytelling. 

Watch the full presentation here.

Special Thanks Go To…

First and foremost, to our event partners Xero, PayFast and Workshop17, without whom none of these sessions would be possible. To our other partners, including Capitalise, xneelo, Whipping the Cat, Eclipse Communications, HP Stores and many more - you guys are incredibly appreciated.

Last and never least, to our community of entrepreneurs - you guys rock! It’s a pleasure to get to learn and grow alongside you.

Until the next one, peace.