How to tell a compelling story

How to tell a compelling story

First things first – this is quite a separate set of skills as to what is needed for a great scientific presentation, which our technical guru, Cosmin Laslau, has already put together an excellent tutorial for here.

During the course of your academic life, you will come across a situation where you need to connect emotionally with your audience, to share your hopes and dreams or to motivate them to take a particular course of action. In these situations the best science in the world is not enough, you MUST be able to tell a compelling story. More often than not, it is this skill set, rather than any hard scientific skills, that can turn a good scientist into a great scientist the likes of Carl Sagan, Paul Callaghan, or our namesake; Alan MacDiarmid.

Our good friends over at ‘Tell Us a Story‘, the Victoria University science and Engineering storytelling competition, have kindly allowed us to post the material from their workshops here to help you learn how to connect with other scientists or the public in a manner that will allow you to change the WORLD – and we want to see you succeed in this as much as they do!

1. Workshop 1 – Finding your Story

 “The storyteller needs to offer herself or himself as part of the story. People decide to follow us because our story creates a relationship they can trust and draw hope from, because they feel an important connection with us” – Steven Denning, Program Director of Knowledge Management at the World Bank

Date: Monday 12th September 2011, 12-1pm

Facilitator: Will Watterson – expert story-teller and New Zealand Director of the Global Poverty Project

EVERYONE HAS A STORY TO TELL! It’s just a matter of finding it. At this workshop an expert storyteller will guide you through the process of  choosing a topic, constructing a narrative and developing characters, events and locations. Finding your story can be one of the most enriching experiences and an invaluable asset for life. No preparation or ideas required. Just bring yourself!

The first workshop centered around 3 exercises:

  1. Finding your own existing storytelling skills
  2. Conveying key messages from images
  3. Concrete storytelling tips and tricks: ‘head, heart and hands.’

Video and complete notes from the workshop can be found here


2. Workshop 2 – Clarifying Scientific Research for a General Audience

Date: Wednesday 28th September 2011, 12-1pm

Facilitator: Elizabeth ConnorScience Communicator

Having spent years perfecting the art of academic writing and presenting, it can be difficult to re-frame your science in engaging personal language. This workshop will give you a tool-kit of techniques for communicating complicated scientific concepts in engaging simple language.

Speaker and Workshop details can be found here

Notes from the workshop can be downloaded here: TUaS-Sci Com Tools workshop


3. Workshop 3 – Story-telling and Presentation skills

Date: Monday 3rd October 2011, 2-5pm

Facilitator: Dick Weir – Story-teller and Presentation Coach

Aim: This final 2.5 hour long workshop will teach you how to captivate an audience, project your voice and overcome your nerves in preparation for the challenge heats the following week. The workshop will be practical and fun. The longer time-frame will allow you to make transformative changes to your presentation style. It could well be life-changing!

Unfortunately, for commercial reasons we cannot post recordings or notes from this workshop.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *