How To Tell A Story, With Alan Alda & The Moth's Catherine Burns 

This week, Alan Alda and The Moth’s Catherine Burns join us to talk about storytelling. What makes a good story? What makes a good storyteller? How can we use storytelling to communicate better, to sell people on our ideas, to make people like us?

Actor, director, screenwriter, author and science advocate Alan Alda is the founder of the Alda Center for Communicating Science and Alda Communication Training, which train scientists and businesspeople to use improv in order to more effectively get their ideas across.

Catherine Burns is artistic director of The Moth, a non-profit dedicated to the art and craft of stories told live and without notes, and the editor of All These Wonders, a book of Moth stories.

We talk with both about the magic and science of storytelling and effective communication. Additionally, Lifehacker staff writer Beth Skwarecki speaks with a children’s librarian about how best to tell a bedtime story, and Lifehacker staff writer Nick Douglas schools us on Dan Harmon’s guide to structuring any written story.

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Discussed in this episode:

  • Why performance is the enemy of a good story
  • Why the first and last lines of a story are the most important
  • “Storytelling” as a buzzword
  • How storytelling can improve our lives
  • The difference between “storytelling” and “communicating”
  • The “curse of knowledge”
  • The “Flame Challenge”
  • Why empathy is vital to communication

And so much more, it’s ridiculous. This is quite an episode.

Our Upgrades of the Week

Every week we like to let you in on the upgrades we’ve made in our own lives. This week we talked about to-do lists, going wireless, and clipping out articles for later reading.


Comments

    Alan Alda had better be immortal, because losing him will be every bit as bad as losing Leonard Nimoy.
    And that is not to be contemplated.

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