Which would you say is more important to selling an idea, the data or the story? In this compelling and touching TED Talk, Karen Eber, a Leadership Consultant, explains the neuroscientific power of storytelling, and why, as a leader, you should be framing your ideas around meaningful stories.
The Learning Upshot
After completing the work on this page, you will be able to:
- Discover the benefits of great storytelling
- Recall three memorable attributes of a great story
- Tell a great story using the “three questions” framework
Watch the Video
Make It Actionable
Now it’s time to personalize it. Give this concept some momentum in the workplace and your own life by completing the following:
1. Why is it important to tell stories? Name 2-3 benefits of great storytelling.
2. A great story has three memorable attributes: it builds and releases tension, it forms an idea leaving you changed, and it communicates value. Recall a compelling story that you have heard.
- Identify each of the three attributes in that story
- How did these attributes contribute to making it a great story?
- What else contributed to making it a great story?
3. Using the “three questions a great story answers” framework (context, conflict, and outcome), prepare and tell a story to a colleague or work team.
4. After telling your story, reflect on your own or discuss with others:
- How easy or difficult was this for you?
- What worked well?
- How did your audience respond?
- How would you improve your storytelling next time?
5. Bonus (optional): On your own, using the “three questions” framework, prepare and tell a story to a colleague or work team (alternatively to your family, friends, or in another social circle), and this time ask for their feedback. First, share with them the three memorable attributes of a great story and the “three questions” framework. After sharing your story, ask them:
- Does my story incorporate the three attributes in a meaningful way?
- Does my story answer the “three questions”?
- What would improve my story?
Dig deeper on this topic with the following resources:
- The Magical Science of Storytelling | TEDx video
- “The Science of Storytelling: Why Telling a Story is the Most Powerful Way to Activate Our Brains” | Lifehacker article
- Why do we, like, hesitate when we, um, speak? | TED-Ed video
- The Way of Improvisation | TEDx video
- “How to Be Funny at Work” | HBR article
- “A Simple Compliment Can Make a Big Difference” | HBR article
- “Good Leadership Is About Asking Good Questions” | HBR article
- “How to Really Craft Audience-Centric Presentations” | Duarte article
- “The Irresistible Power of Storytelling As a Strategic Business Tool” | HBR article
- “Science of Storytelling: Why and How to Use it in Your Marketing” | The Guardian article
- Empathy, Neurochemistry, and the Dramatic Arc | YouTube video
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