How To Tell A Story : NPR’s Scott Simon


I came across this piece by National Public Radio’s Scott Simon on “How to Tell a Story”. Scott works in the radio world, but everything he says here relates to storytelling excellence in video as well. At Doctor Of Content (my alter ego), I also think about storytelling as the most powerful and memorable way to get across a message. Here are some of the qualities that Scott suggests should be part of any great story.

  • Great stories should have a point – something you can take away.
  • Great stories should have a great beginning.
  • Great stories should be told in short, breathable sections (tell it in breaths with a rhythm).
  • Great stories should be conversational.
  • Great storytellers should use new technologies (such as Twitter) to help find, and help others find, new stories.
  • Great storytellers should have fun creating their stories (your energy will come through).

Here’s a few items that I would add.

Great stories:

  • Should be memorable.
  • Should have a strong ending.
  • Should have a certain amount of suspense about their outcome. And, they should help pull us through to the conclusion.
  • Should be conversation starters.

Scott Simon also tells a great story about how Winston Churchill captured an audience with a great story opening (it was only a few words long).  I don’t want to spoil Scott or Winston’s thunder, so listen to Scott’s piece.

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