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?
Tagged With storytelling
I'm a terrible storyteller. With enough keyboard time I can turn a personal experience into a passable narrative, but in person I fall to pieces. Whenever I try to share a "funny story," even if I've tried following Lifehacker's storytelling tips, I see my audience's faces freeze into a rictus as my story reaches its disappointing climax. So I've abused my power as a journalist to ask some comedians for free advice: How do you fix a funny story that's not working?
Sometimes the hardest part about writing isn't finding ideas or knowing how to begin, it's maintaining a flow so you actually finish what you started. It's not quite total writer's block since you're already on the move, but a writer's road block, if you will. This trick that Star Trek: The Next Generation staff writers used can help you keep on truckin'.
It's easy to conclude that people generally suck. Don't they, though? There's the driver who cut you off, the lady who appears out of nowhere to swipe the last free sample off the tray when you've been waiting patiently in line, the "friend" who's forgotten your birthday three years in a row. I get why we'd assume others just aren't trying.
Being a good storyteller can improve your presentations at work, boost your social skills and make you more likeable in general. But it's not an ability that comes naturally to everyone. If you're not sure how to go about telling stories that captivate an audience, these simple dos and don'ts will give you a good place to start.
Stories have shapes. Any story you tell works best if you recognise its shape, then strengthen that shape. This applies to a story of any length, whether you're putting in your 50,000 words for National Novel Writing Month 2017, or honing your favourite party anecdote, or even marketing something, including yourself. It even applies to Hemingway's famous six-word story, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn."
It's that special time of year again when everyone is looking for a good scary story. And though podcasts more often conjure up the images of gentle interviews with creative types and soothing NPR voices, more shows are moving into the territory of old-school radio plays, producing unsettling (and addictive) stories from true crime to horror. I hope you brought an extra pair of pants, 'cause these podcasts bring the terror.