Teaching your team to write poetry

Helping your team use English better, by turning them into corporate poets!

A team-building exercise to help your team improve their story-telling

Our language

The English language is a great language. It has evolved from Celtic, Gaelic, Latin, Norwegian, Danish, Anglo Saxon, Old Frisian and Norman French. It's still changing, evolving within itself, under the influence of great word creators - Shakespeare was one of the greatest. But many new words are born from slang. It borrows from modern versions of the above languages (including re-exported English from the US, Australia and South Africa), as well as from many others - Spanish, Italian, Arabic, Hindi, Urdu, Chinese and Japanese. The list is endless.


This language is a powerful business tool. We keep finding new ways to use it. One of its best uses is story-telling - making insights more powerful and memorable by translating facts and numbers into words. But to tell stories well, you need good command of the language.

Getting better at using it

Despite our heritage, many of us don't use English as well as we could. Sometimes we don't have time to craft our words, but sometimes we don't know how. We can get a lot better.

 Based on my teaching of copywriting to Masters students using the disciplines of poetry, I've devised a team-building exercise lasting one to three hours. By the end of it, your team will be telling stories poetically about themselves, your team and your business. It's great for team-building, especially where communicating well, internally or externally, is important. However, any team can use it, from marketing or finance to operations, from scientific or technical to artistic.

Programme structure

Here is the programme structure:

·         What is story-telling, why tell a story

·         Choosing what stories to tell and choosing how to tell them

·         The role of poetic language in story telling - where it works and where it might not

·         What's good - examples of great poetic lines, speeches and stories, from  poets, politicians and business people read out by the team, who lead discussions on why they work

·         How to construct what's good - the rules of creativity, rhythm, rhyme, form and word power

·         Exercise - telling a story using poetic language, using different topics and forms

·         Review - who has done a good job and why

·         Second exercise - trying something different, new topics, new forms, new techniques

·         Conclusions - what was the best

·         Publication -deciding when and where to publish, what further editing is needed

·         Following on - writing and posting weekly or monthly stories and poems

Why me?

I've been writing commercially for over thirty years, influencing people, whether through press releases, white papers, articles chapter or books (yes, thirty of them). I come from a very literary family. I am called Merlin because my father Brian translated lots of mediaeval English, including the Penguin edition of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. He wrote books on poetry, for example, on Keats and Chaucer. But I decided I wanted to write poetry myself, for children and grown-ups. 

 I have two novels in preparation. One is about corruption in universities, and the other (for children) uses the classic idea of a portal into another world, but most of the violence and mayhem takes place in this world!

Next steps

To find out more about it, and to see samples of the material used, please e-mail me on merlin@merlin-stone.com.