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The Astonishing Power of Storytelling
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The Astonishing Power of Storytelling
Leading, Teaching, and Transforming in a New Way


Other Titles in:
Communication Skills | Leadership

September 2018 | 240 pages | Corwin

Visit this page to access a Study Companion for the book. 

Master the secret to engaging any audience—from classrooms, to colleagues, to conference rooms

 

Everyone loves a good story. More than entertainment, well-told stories captivate listeners and motivate action. In this guidebook, Robert J. Garmston shows you how to leverage the power of storytelling to engage and persuade students, colleagues, and all other audiences.

 

Written in Garmston’s warm and conversational style and featuring current cognitive neuroscience research, the book includes:

  • Detailed breakdowns of the essential elements all great stories share, and templates for creating yours
  • Tips for supercharging your stories by drawing from personal experience as well as familiar movies, TV shows, and popular media
  • A guide to effective story delivery, including optimized vocal inflection and body language

 

Becoming a better storyteller will make you a more effective communicator and educator. Get started today with The Astonishing Power of Storytelling.


 
Preface
 
Acknowledgments
 
About the Author and Illustrator
 
PART I: WHY STORIES WORK
 
1. Why Tell Stories
Communication Suffocation

 
Leading Through Narrative

 
Watch A Story Being Told

 
How Storytelling Began

 
 
2. The Neuroscience of Narrative
Story Worth Watching

 
Stories Arouse Cooperative Instincts

 
$$$ The Million-Dollar Story

 
Desired-State Stories

 
 
PART II: FIND, DESIGN, AND DELIVER YOUR STORY
 
3. Finding Personal Stories
Story Categories

 
Locating Personal Story Material

 
Stories About Your Organization

 
Finding Your Personal Stories

 
 
4. Other Story Sources
Six Story Sources

 
Biographies

 
Films and Television

 
Histories

 
Literature

 
Stories Unique to a Particular Culture

 
Two Stories Worth Watching

 
Metaphor Stories

 
 
5. Why Are Metaphors Important?
How Metaphors Are Processed

 
Right Hemisphere Engagement

 
Four Uses of Metaphor

 
Teach Concepts

 
Generate Ideas

 
Empower

 
Go Beyond Logic

 
Subtexts of Metaphor

 
 
6. Desirable Story Features
Engaging Openings

 
Have a Beginning, Middle, and End

 
Use Present Tense

 
Use Sensory Images

 
Include Tensions

 
Embed Conflict

 
Create Voices

 
Use Memorable Closings

 
Seven Steps to Preparing a New Story

 
 
7. Delivering Your Story
Animation

 
Stand Like You Are Credible

 
Centering

 
Vocal Variety

 
Intentional Movement

 
Story Worth Watching

 
Use Questions to Invite the Audience In

 
 
PART III: CHANGING BEHAVIORS WITH STORY
 
8. Promote Change: Story Structure and Examples
Desired State

 
Resistance

 
Applying the Desired-State Map: Three Examples

 
1. Shouting at a Parent

 
2. Bear in the Cage

 
3. A Strong, Yet Delicate Rose

 
Presume Positive Intentions

 
 
9. Meet Groups Where They Are
Pacing

 
Indirect Suggestions

 
What Listeners Experience

 
 
10. Design for the Intuitive Mind
Invoking Receptivity

 
Beyond Waking Awareness

 
Story Elements for Subliminal Processes

 
Pacing

 
Misdirection

 
Artfully Vague Language

 
Tensions

 
Indirect Suggestions

 
 
11. How Two Stories Changed Behaviors
General Components of a Well-Formed Story

 
Factual Specificity

 
Presentation Congruity

 
Audience Appropriateness

 
Elicits Empathy

 
Contains Submerged Moral or Point of View

 
Creates Internal Representations

 
Bypasses Protective Filters

 
Parallels the Audience’s Situation

 
Lingers on Point of Irresolution

 
Marks Embedded Commands

 
Offers Resolutions

 
 
12. In Conclusion
 
Story Catalog
Organizing the Stories

 
Shifting Perceptions

 
Inviting Learning

 
Inspiring Action

 
Seeking Desired States

 
 
Guide to Story Locations
 
APPENDIX
Worksheet 1: Metaphor Subtexts

 
Worksheet 2: Anatomy of Desired-State Stories

 
Worksheet 3: Constructing a Desired-State Story

 
Poetry Referenced in the Preface

 
 
Storytelling Study Companion
 
References
 
Index

In The Astonishing Power of Storytelling Bob Garmston confirms with brain science and sound research what we all know intuitively – stories have the power to both persuade and inspire. What’s more, the book is chock-full of practical tips and approaches to plan and deliver stories with intention and aplomb. Bob has gifted all of us an excellent “how to” manual to make our stories sing!

Joelle Basnight, High School Principal, American International School; Chennai, India
American International School; Chennai, India

Inspiring...this book will add to your leadership capacity and help shape you into a storyteller to transform your skills as a professional.

Kelly Armitage, Elementary School Principal, International School; Bangkok, Thailand
International School; Bangkok, Thailand

Bob has taught me most of what I know about presenting and this book is a wonderful addition to my repertoire. The scaffolds and rich examples provide models for my own storytelling that I can now harvest from my life experiences. I am already crafting an introductory story for my next workshop.

Lucy Fisher, Manager Emeritus, Learning Education Department Educational; Consultant, Tasmania, Australia
Learning Education Department Educational; Tasmania, Australia

Robert J. Garmston has touched upon who teachers naturally are. Storytellers. Throughout   The Astonishing Power of Storytelling Garmston provides evidence that validates the power of telling stories, and offers tools to enhance the innate instincts of a teacher. This book will nurture abilities that some are not aware they possess. After all, what is teaching but a way to inspire students to search for knowledge? What better way to set the stage than to "Tell a Story”?

Karen Tribble, Elementary School Teacher, Fairfield, CT
Fairfield, CT

One of the most important facets to effective change leadership is the ability to engage and create meaning. In Astonishing Power of Storytelling Garmston draws the connection between an engaging story and the ability to stimulate positive change.

Gregory A. Hedger, Director, The International School; Yangon, Myanmar
The International School; Yangon, Myanmar

Al-Hakawati in Arabic, is a person who narrates the old stories transferring values and traditions across generations and inspiring the listeners. In this sense Garmston’s Astonishing Power of Storytelling is a transcultural book; one can help you use storytelling in your profession with easy-to-follow-and-use tools and strategies.

Jihad Dwaidar, Literacy Coach, International Programs School; Khobar, Saudi Arabia
International Programs School; Khobar, Saudi Arabia

Bob Garmston’s latest book, Astonishing Power of Storytelling is a welcome resource which strategizes the use of storytelling for leaders at all levels. The skills he offers through storytelling can help present sometimes bland information with personal and internalizing effectiveness. For leaders who seek to achieve lasting change, this book makes impressive sense!

David B. Cloud, Alaska Administrator Coaching Project; Homer, AK
Alaska Administrator Coaching Project; Homer, AK

This book has helped me to understand and experience how storytelling is an essential element for anyone who presents, lectures, or conducts workshops. Astonishing Power of Storytelling encouraged me to use storytelling as a strategy to hold the students’ attention and better achieve my instructional goals of shifting their perceptions, while encouraging learning and action. As I prepared talking points on working with resistant teachers for my class on supervisory practice, stories from personal experience came to mind. While sharing a story with my students about a teacher I was working with, I demonstrated the body language (crossed arms and legs) he displayed during the post-observation conference. We then explored what was being said by this body language and strategies for how to respond effectively. The results were amazing. Not only were the students intrigued, the story also enabled me to engage them in meaningful discussion with productive results. This book will continue to be my guide as I prepare for future classes and presentations.

Marcia Knoll, Professor, Educational Administration, Hunter College, NY
Hunter College, NY

Great storytelling feels almost magical. It creates natural connections between speakers and listeners that are personal, meaningful, and authentic. We all remember the stories that captivate us, inspire us, and open our minds to new ideas. Storytelling is at the heart of good teaching and this guidebook promises to teach all of us to become splendid storytellers. I can’t wait to share it with my teacher education students.

Aixa Perez-Prado, Professor of Education, Florida International University; Miami, FL
Florida International University; Miami, FL

I remember gathering around my mom listening to her stories light up the room. Her stories had a big impact on who I am today. This book is a perfect guide to discover your own personal story and suggests ways for why and how you can use your story to make a memorable impact on others.

Servet Altan, International Educator & Educational Researcher, Bilkent University; Ankara, Turkey
Bilkent University; Ankara, Turkey

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