Stories Are Just Data With a Soul

Often, after I teach a presentation class, I’m confronted by converts to the power of public storytelling who are eager to know what to do next. Of course I tell them to take every opportunity to stand up and speak but I also suggest they browse for inspiration and examples of great storytelling.

If you’re new to the TED Talks check out the website whose motto is “Ideas worth spreading”. Each speech is 18 minutes long and usually done with minimal or no PowerPoint. All the TED Talks I’ve seen demonstrate how compelling a story can be when it combines knowledge with passion.

I came across another excellent example this week by a woman named Dr. Brene Brown, a research professor who spent 10 years studying why people feel vulnerability and shame. She’s just recently done her second TED Talk but in the first one she explained her transition from a scientist who believed “if you can’t measure it, it doesn’t exist” to what she now calls herself – a researcher-storyteller.

You can watch Dr. Brown’s TED Talk on her website here.

My favorite line is when she says that “stories are just data with a soul”.



Filed under Communication, Public Speaking

2 responses to “Stories Are Just Data With a Soul

  1. Hutch

    Ken, I teach my journalism students, if you fill a story with facts, viewers will forget them by the end of the newscast, if you make them feel something, they will remember the story much longer. Think about when you were called on in grade school and couldn’t answer a question. You probably can’t remember what the question was, but you never forgot how you felt.

  2. Thanks for the comment Bill. It’s so true that making an emotional connection is far more effective than bombarding people with facts and figures.

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