How to Become a Storyteller for the Modern Age

posted Jun 19, 2014, 5:47 PM by Harry Hawk   [ updated Jul 9, 2014, 7:43 PM ]
Storytelling is everywhere -- not just in elementary school classrooms and libraries. My friend Mike Daisey recently completed almost a month of monologues at NYC's Public Theater; 29 unique stories now available free and online. I have performed on stage with Mike and have often been in his audience. He is a master storyteller. He doesn't speak from a script. He works dynamically from notes; he knows where he is going and how he will get there, leaving room for inspiration and audience reaction. His words are fresh, impactful, and ephemeral yet his message is refined and rehearsed.
Mike Daily performs All The Faces of The Moon
Storytelling is everywhere -- not just in elementary school classrooms and libraries. My friend Mike Daisey recently completed almost a month of monologues at NYC's Public Theater; 29 unique stories now available free and online. I have performed on stage with Mike and have often been in his audience. He is a master storyteller. He doesn't speak from a script. He works dynamically from notes; he knows where he is going and how he will get there, leaving room for inspiration and audience reaction. His words are fresh, impactful, and ephemeral yet his message is refined and rehearsed.
Graphic depicting that Storytelling is at the core of Advertising, Marketing, Leadership, Team Building, Promtion and Content Marketing
How do you hold an audience and get your message across? My suggestion: Be like Mike. Entertain, whether your story demands a call-to-arms or is an attempt to inspire or provoke. You can devise your own toolkit. Mike uses profanity, silly facts, historical oddities, humor, satire, and a passion for connecting dots that seem at first to have no relationship. At their core, social media, marketing, advertising, promotions, leadership, application design, team building, branding, and influence are all storytelling.

Storytelling transmits a message and engenders listeners' buy-in to a process; it boosts involvement and focus while engaging their brains. Storytelling ripples forward and backward in time -- forward toward our newest media (smartphone apps and augmented reality) and backward to Victorian salons, churches and ghettos, biblical times, across Mesoamerican civilization and the savannas of Africa.

How well do you tell stories? Are you good at telling them in social media, in branded content, in formal and informal settings? The world is full of report cards and evaluations. How many times has someone explicitly graded you on your storytelling abilities or have you given your staff storytelling feedback? I work in multiple mediums. I am focused on embedding brand messages into content while telling a really good story. I'm eager to get feedback beyond my co-workers, boss, Klout, and my engagement stats from Facebook and Twitter.

I had been looking for a MOOC to enroll in when I found a class on "The Future of Storytelling." I was very excited and signed up after watching its compelling video. This class covers storytelling and narrative design and analysis for all mediums (gaming to writing) and runs for eight weeks starting October 25. You need to sign up today. The class is interdisciplinary and teachers include Christina Maria Schollerer, Julian van Dieken, and several professors from the University of Applied Science in Potsdam. It is taught in English.
 

How do you hold an audience and get your message across? My suggestion: Be like Mike. Entertain, whether your story demands a call-to-arms or is an attempt to inspire or provoke. You can devise your own toolkit. Mike uses profanity, silly facts, historical oddities, humor, satire, and a passion for connecting dots that seem at first to have no relationship. At their core, social media, marketing, advertising, promotions, leadership, application design, team building, branding, and influence are all storytelling.

Storytelling transmits a message and engenders listeners' buy-in to a process; it boosts involvement and focus while engaging their brains. Storytelling ripples forward and backward in time -- forward toward our newest media (smartphone apps and augmented reality) and backward to Victorian salons, churches and ghettos, biblical times, across Mesoamerican civilization and the savannas of Africa.

How well do you tell stories? Are you good at telling them in social media, in branded content, in formal and informal settings? The world is full of report cards and evaluations. How many times has someone explicitly graded you on your storytelling abilities or have you given your staff storytelling feedback? I work in multiple mediums. I am focused on embedding brand messages into content while telling a really good story. I'm eager to get feedback beyond my co-workers, boss, Klout, and my engagement stats from Facebook and Twitter.

I had been looking for a MOOC to enroll in when I found a class on "The Future of Storytelling." I was very excited and signed up after watching its compelling video. This class covers storytelling and narrative design and analysis for all mediums (gaming to writing) and runs for eight weeks starting October 25. You need to sign up today. The class is interdisciplinary and teachers include Christina Maria Schollerer, Julian van Dieken, and several professors from the University of Applied Science in Potsdam. It is taught in English.

Logo for online German University named: Iversity
German startup iversity.org is presenting the class. Iversity was founded in 2011 by Jonas Liepmann and Hannes Klöpper to increase computer mediation of education while boosting educational and research opportunities through a socialized collaboration platform. To drive awareness, they ran a crowdsourced promotion to nominate professors and seek proposals for MOOCs by dangling a fellowship grant of €25,000 (US$33,797) per selected course. They garnered more than 250 entries from 20-plus countries. The crowd picked winners and tallied 100,000-plus votes. Using the rankings from the crowd vote, a jury from iversity picked the final 10 MOOCs, including "The Future of Storytelling."

Competition can drive SEO but it can be tough on competitors and has a high opportunity cost. Iversity entered the arena by competing against 280 startups at Berlin Innovation ConSenus, winning "Lighthouse in Education" recognition from companies including Google and Shell.

Like all startups, iversity may have a pivot or two in its future, but enrolling tens of thousands of students into its MOOCs will help polish its free-to-use software. The SaaS system supports traditional education models as well as emergent and hybrid models. I hope it will be a real cliff hanger as we watch how they influence and disrupt education and the market for educational software. Will incumbent online systems like Blackboard accept the challenge thrown down by iversity? I cannot wait to find out -- and I hope to see you in class!

Written by: Harry Hawk
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