Scott Simon on how to tell a story

In just three and a half minutes, NPR broadcaster Scott Simon offers simple tips on how to tell a story in a way that captures your audience. His advice cuts to the heart of what makes a compelling story and adds a few caveats for audio and video storytelling.

I particularly like his final thoughts: “And absolutely, finally, have fun, because if you have fun discovering a story, if you make surprising discoveries in the course of telling a story, that’s going to communicate no matter how you’re telling the story, and the fun and the spirit that you’ll bring to that is something that will keep the audience coming back.”

Watching this short video, I’m reminded of a storytelling student who taught me an important lesson. I was teaching an Experimental College class through the University of Washington. This was early in my storytelling career, when I still thought I understood The Rules of Storytelling.

She broke every one of them, with a quiet tale of a deer that came into a clearing where she lay on a blanket. The deer walked over and touched its nose to her. That’s all. No starting hook, no character development, no problem to solve, no build-up, no rising and falling action, not even rich detail. But from her first quiet words, she wrapped us in magic.

So I know there’s more to telling a good story than Scott Simon tells us here, but this short film gives some advice I still find solid.

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Scott Simon Npr | AXI - January 16, 2010

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