Around two years ago, I started learning about storytelling. Before that I used stories in my seminars, talks and later in my job as a sales executive without knowing that there was actually a science behind telling stories:
How it affects our brain
Why it helps us learn
How it inspires us to take action
Researchers have conducted countless experiments and studies on how we are wired for stories, how it helps us remember more and why stories are the best learning tools.
Experiencing how stories inspired people, connected me with my audiences and made me even more successful at what I did, sparked my curiosity even more. The times when I was telling short stories of hope and persistence to youth in my home country, Tajikistan. They would all lean in to listen and remember only the stories after the talks.
Later, as a sales executive, it helped me even more. For instance, once I was on a plane for 14 hours to reach a potential customer to take only a 2-hour meeting. All I had in my presentation was three stories. In fact, the title of the presentation was also “Three customer stories”. I told them I am not here to discuss the technology, but I’d like to tell you how I helped these three customers. That two-hour meeting led to meetings with other executives and team members. I stayed for a couple more days and after several months of work, we signed multi-year 6-figure contract.
That is how I got drawn into learning about storytelling, gathering like-minded individuals and founding StoryPack. Over time I went through a lot of resources to learn about Storytelling and I would like to share some of them in this article.
Since most of us are not commuting to work, we can use that time to learn. And what could be even better than learning a skill which would help you in your job once you get back?
So in this article, I’d like to list my top 7 resources to learn storytelling:
1. The Magical Science of Storytelling by David JP Phillips.
In his well-known TEDx talk, David describes in detail the effect of stories in our brains. What I like most about the talk is the examples he gives in order to make you experience the release of those chemicals in your brain.
2. Story Telling In Business by Pixar Story Teller Mathew Luhn
While David JP Phillips in the first video talks in detail about the chemicals, Mathew Luhn gives examples of how to use releasing these chemicals. He then gives some useful tips on crafting great business stories.
"You don't want to say your mission statement to your clients or potential clients. That is for you. You want the people to feel your mission statement"
3. The Storyteller’s Secret by a bestselling author Carmine Gallo.
“Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, illuminate and inspire. The Storyteller’s Secret is about the stories you tell to advance your career, build a company, pitch an idea and to take your dreams from imagination to reality”
The book is full of short stories and examples of how people have leveraged the power of storytelling. Each chapter of the book has a section at the end called “Storyteller’s secret”.
Here is an example:
“Inspiring storytellers are inspired themselves...Ask yourself “what makes my heart sing”. The answer is the foundation upon which all great stories are built”.
“Leaders don’t move mountains with mountains of data. They do it by giving audiences a piece of their heart”
4. Made to Stick by Heath brothers.
I know I already gave an example and recommended this book in one of my previous articles but I can’t recommend this book enough mainly due to the number of short stories this bestseller has. Every time the authors make a point they use at least 2-3 short stories, scientific experiments to make their arguments stronger and more emotional. And guess what? That is how readers would remember their teachings, through their stories. The book has over 30 short stories and recommended to anyone who wants to make an idea “stick”.
5. The Business of Story podcast by Park Howell.
Park Howell is one of the leading storytelling experts who helps organizations and leaders to tell powerful business stories to attract talent, clients etc. In his podcast, he interviews experts, authors, screenwriters and business leaders to talk about storytelling.
One of my favorite episodes is when he interviewed Mark Schenk and they talked about the ROI of storytelling and the cost of being boring :). Check it out here
6. Anecdotally Speaking podcast by Shawn Callahan and Mark Schenk.
Unlike other podcasts, they typically don’t interview guests. What do they do then? They share a short story and have a conversation about how the story can be improved and how you can use that story in a business context. You can find them here
7. Fifteen articles on storytelling in business
And if you want to take a look at some of the top articles on storytelling for business and what it means, why it is important and how to tell business stories, I put together 15 articles from Economist, HBR, Entrepreneur, Fortune, etc. You can find them from here.
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If you'd like to learn more about storytelling and learning through stories please follow us on social media and sign up to get access to StoryPack. StoryPack is a microlearning mobile app that helps you learn from experts and colleagues through short stories.