Discussion: Storytelling

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Stories are ubiquitous. They exist in the workplace, the local coffee shop, and at the family dinner table. Stories are told on daytime soap operas and nighttime dramas, and can also be found on game shows and reality television. Some stories elicit fear; others bring sadness or joy. Humor is an effective storytelling vehicle and successful comics are masterful storytellers in a non-traditional way.
To Prepare:
Select your favorite comedian on YouTube.
Watch a video of the comedian, particularly looking for how the comic develops a joke/story that resonates with the audience.
Consider if and how the comedian abandons a joke/story that fails.
Consider whether the story was a success or failure, and why.
By Day 3
Post an analysis of the factors of a good story. Explain how the comedian you watched was successful or unsuccessful in telling their story. Analyze how you discern when and if a story will be effective. Analyze methods you might use if the story to be told to an individual, group, or the organization is a vehicle for delivering good news or bad news.
Required Readings
Simmons, A. (2006). The story factor: Inspiration, influence, and persuasion through the art of storytelling (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Perseus.
Chapter 10, “The Life of a Storyteller” (pp. 219–340)
Chapter 11, “Story Thinking as a Skill” (pp. 241–250)


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