Telling Compelling Stories

Our Telling Compelling Stories Course is delivered online over a period of two weeks. The course is designed for new and existing expedition guides and field staff who are required, or aspired, to give formal presentations in the polar regions.


Participants will gain a greater understanding of the science behind effective presentations and be furnished with a set of tools and a proven methodology for creating and delivering a ‘compelling story’. The aim of this course is to provide the tools needed to deliver good presentations onboard expedition ships or in other presentation contexts.

Course Content


  • Preparing a venue for a presentation

  • Introduce a presentation

  • Deliver a presentation

  • Conclude a presentation

This online course is delivered by the experienced presenter and communication expert, Ian Johnson, who has 40 years at the bloody tip of the spear, working hard to consistently deliver customer service experiences that exceed visitor expectations.


20 years ago, as the CE of a large, not-for-profit, heritage-based, tourist attraction, he discovered a deep passion for ‘compelling storytelling’ and ‘values-driven communication'. Today Ian's passion and area of expertise are to teach us how we entice our visitors to:


  • Love what we love just as much as we do?

  • Have our passion matter as much to them as it does to us?

  • Be inspired to care about what we care about?

These are the questions that get him out of bed. Ian would like to share some of what he has learned so far - and he knows that you have something to add.



Language: English Proficient 

Age: 18+

Previous experience: None required

Who is the course for?

Seasoned guides/presenters and those new to the industry.

The course is designed for anyone looking to become more competent and confident in doing presentations and interpretation onboard expedition ships or in other guiding contexts.  

Ratio 1:12

Minimum 6 participants

Maximum 12 participants

Price: USD $549 per person

Course Segments Outline

The Telling Compelling Stories Course consists of 4 sessions which will be a mixture of online classroom learning, self-studying/learning, google classroom, and online forums.



Virtual Classroom (Day 1 - Duration: approx. 2 hours)


"The biology and psychology of story, why 'story' works and why it’s not about you"

During this session, Ian will share some of what the science tells us about the power of 'story' and how knowing this might make us better presenters.


This segment is aimed at: 


  • Familiarization in Communication theory

  • Familiarization in theory on of story-telling

  •  Introduction to feedback

Prior to this session, participants will have preparation time/homework to do, this material will be provided via google classroom. 


Virtual Classroom (Day Two - Duration: approx. 4 hours)

"TORE: An approach for Thematic Interpretation"


At the conclusion of this workshop participants will be able to:

- Understand and explain the TORE model of interpretive communication

- Understand and explain the importance of a thematic approach in developing interpretive programmes and products.

- Craft a ‘provocative’ theme from the toolkit provided

CLASSROOM CONTENT (or as above; this segment is aimed at)

  • Theory on story-telling continued

  • Theory on communication continued

At the conclusion of session two, participants will have 3 days to create a presentation. Using the knowledge gained during the previous 2 sessions, participants will create a short presentation.

polar bear training and firearm safety


Self-directed Studying & Online Forum (Day 9 - Duration 7 days)

"Creating a presentation using reciprocal peer feedback"



  • Day 3-5: Creating a short presentation

  • Day 6 & 7: Peer Feedback Session

  • Day 8 & 9: Fine-tuning and adjusting your presentation


During this session, participants will go through a process of creating a short presentation, be guided through reciprocal peer feedback sessions to then fine-tune the presentation.


Virtual Classroom (Day 10 - Duration TBC/Subject to cohort)

"Deliver a presentation for an Audience"


We all come back together, where each participant will deliver their presentation to the group.



  • Presentations in groups

  • Self-reflection and round-up


Blablabla, one-to-one feedback with Ian....



Pre-course Learning

30 days out from the course start, participants will gain access to the pre-course material. It is not possible to receive any of this material earlier, so make sure that you have enough time on hand, in this period, to study and get the most out of your course with us. ​

Practical Course Information

Certificate of Training

On completion of the Telling Compelling Stories Course, you'll receive a 'Certificate of Training' from the Expedition Guide Academy outlining the course content covered.

Different Time-Zones

Understand that this is an online course. In an effort to accommodate global participants we have designed this course so that you can participate no matter where in the world you are. However, be aware that it might be a very early morning for you or a very late evening.

Assessment & Certification

The Telling Compelling Stories Course is also designed to help you prepare for a potential assessment with the EGA in the PTGA PQ; Presentation Skills for Polar Guides. Please contact us for this additional assessment option. Note that this assessment, offered by EGA, is online. Please see under "Assessments" for more information on this option.   

Dates & Location:


September 27-28, 2021 in Denmark, Copenhagen

(Available for booking - 6 places left)

September 28-29, 2021 in Denmark, Copenhagen

(Sold out)