How to become a storytelling expert

How to become a storytelling expert

What does it take to become a storytelling expert?

The short answer is a combination of theory backed up by a lot of practice.

Sadly, there are no shortcuts.

Getting started on your journey is the hardest part and sometimes it can be so daunting that you’re not sure where to start.

With this is mind, we take a look look at some of the top resources to start you on your way to becoming a talented storyteller.

5 books

1. The Storyteller’s Secret by Carmine Gallo

"The best selling author and communications expert Carmine Gallo reveals the secrets to telling powerful stories using fifty lessons from visionary leaders."

2. Into The Woods by John Yorke

"John Yorke, creator of the BBC Writers' Academy, takes us on a journey to the heart of storytelling, revealing that there truly is a unifying shape to narrative forms. From ancient myths to big-budget blockbusters, he gets to the root of the stories that are all around us, every day."

3. Wired For Story by Lisa Kron

"Backed by recent breakthroughs in neuroscience as well as examples from novels, screenplays, and short stories, Wired for Story offers a revolutionary look at story as the brain experiences it. Each chapter zeroes in on an aspect of the brain, its corresponding revelation about story, and the way to apply it to your storytelling right now."

4. The Story Factor by Annette Simmons

"This book shares case studies of storytelling in action. They each show how stories can be used to persuade, motivate, and inspire in ways that cold facts and bullet points can't. Simmons also shares the six stories you need to know how to tell and demonstrates how they can be applied."

5. Made To Stick by Chip & Dan Heath

"Over ten years of study, Chip and Dan Heath have discovered how we latch on to information hooks. Packed full of case histories and incredible anecdotes this book offers superbly practical insights that you can apply to your own storytelling endeavours."

5 podcasts

1. The Moth by @TheMoth

"Moth storytellers stand alone, under a spotlight, with only a microphone and a roomful of strangers."

2. StartUp by @Gimletmedia

"A series about what it's really like to start a business"

3. The Memory Palace by @thememorypalace

"Short, surprising stories of the past, sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes hysterical, often a little bit of both."

4. Welcome to Night Vale by @NightValeRadio

"Twice-monthly community updates for the small desert town of Night Vale, where every conspiracy theory is true. Turn on your radio and hide."

5. Thinking Sideways by @ThinkinSideways

"Devin, Joe and Steve sit down every week to discuss unsolved mysteries of all kinds: weird noises, strange website and horrific suicides that look a lot like murders."

5 talks

1.  The Clues To A Great Story

Andrew Stanton has worked at the highly regarded animation company Pixar since 1990. There, he has been involved in writing, directing and producing some of the world’s most loved animated films including Toy Story, Finding Nemo and WALL-E. In this popular TED talk, he shares his secrets to making great stories.

2. The Magical Science Of Storytelling

David JP Phillips' talk is full of good stories and peppered with humorous moments. In it, he shares some of the key neuroscience behind storytelling. He explains that we actually 'feel' great stories because they promote the release of the endorphin dopamine and other hormones into our bloodstream. Spooky!

3. Catch Me If You Can

You may have seen the Hollywood movie of the same title. The story of Frank Abagnale Jr.'s life is stranger than fiction. Ok so this one’s not specifically about storytelling as such but it is an example of a masterful storyteller at work. It’s incredible how the time seems to fly watching what is, in reality, quite a long talk.

4.  The Mystery Box

J.J. Abrams created the popular TV show Lost as well as directing movies such as Cloverfield. In this TED talk he discusses the importance of curiosity when it comes to storytelling. Describing the influence of his grandfather on him as a child, he recalls how he was always fascinated with knowing how things work.

5.  The Mystery Of Storytelling

Julian Friedmann is a publisher with 40 years of experience working with writers. He mentions some of the important lessons he's learnt during that time of what makes for a good story. Friedman passionately believes the key to better storytelling is understanding that it is more about the audience than the writer.

To learn more about the art of storytelling check out our course made in collaboration with some of the world’s top experts. Your journey to becoming a better storyteller starts today.

The '20 idea' method

The '20 idea' method

Show, don't tell

Show, don't tell