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5 TED Talks About Storytelling and How to Take Advantage Of Them

Have you ever thought about how powerful a story is? How stories have been around since the beginning? But what makes a good story? If you’re looking for some advice, we’ve put together an article that features our top 5 Ted Talks on storytelling.

If that sounds like something that might help you, keep reading.

Ted Talks on Storytelling

Don’t just read about storytelling, take some time to actually listen to these phenomenal storytellers tell you about storytelling.

Learn from their craft, pick up on their ques, and jot down some pointers as you prepare to tell your own stories!

1. J.J. Abrams: “The Mystery Box”

If you enjoyed movies like, “StarWars: The Force Awakens” or “Star Trek” or “Super 8” or shows like “Lost” why not take a few notes from the guy who created them?

In this Ted Talk, legendary filmmaker J.J. Abrams shares how the concept of a mysteryhas served as a catalyst in his creative endeavors.

He works the audience through his early childhood and has a few props from a magic store he used to visit, landing on the final: a mysterious box.

Have you considered the element of mystery in your stories? True storytellers are able to implement this element early on and know when to reveal the mystery versus keep it bottled up.

Abram’s uses his mystery box to springboard into the conversation about how a blank page serves as a mystery box. And that as creative storyteller, the blank page offers endless opportunities. It itself is begging questions.

The idea of a Teaser also comes up in how, as creative storytellers, you must balance mystery with reveal to keep your audience hooked. A true teaser creates a balance between suspense and reveal. Too much revelation will feel unnatural, whereas too many questions can tire your audience out.

Check out J.J. Abrams’ Ted Talk on storytelling if this sounds like an area of the storytelling craft you’re interested in learning more about.

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2. Chimamanda Adichie: “The Danger of a Single Story”

In addition to an interesting story, a true story is a must.

And we don’t mean truth as in a factual, or real-life story. We mean believable and flushed out.

But what does flushed out really mean?

Chimamanda Adichie talks her audience through one of the most profound Ted Talks we’ve heard explaining how stories are a way to tell of a people, but not define a people.

A danger early storytellers often face is in only showing one side of a demographic, and that one side becomes susceptible to stereotypes or racisms.

An example is how when people write about characters from other countries they often rely on stereotypes such as people from England enjoy tea and people from third-world countries are all desperate. This, as Adichie explains, is false and makes for poor stories.

A well-rounded, engaging story gives people the chance to continue exploring beyond the story-realm. It means that characters are multi-dimensional and exist beyond the page. This concept helps keep the narrative alive even after the final sentence.

It’s important for people to experience diverse stories, with characters that challenge stereotypes. Stories that look like us, sound like us, and act like us are not genuine and they don’t push readers or viewers to grow, thus making the experience feel boring or dull.

A single-story is one where you group a people under a defining umbrella rather than listen to who they are as unique people.

Having a story that pushes people to consider others in multidimensional ways is far more engaging than a story with flat, one-sided characters.

For more on this conversation, check out Chimamanda Adichie’s Ted Talk on “The Danger of a Single Story.”

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3. Andrew Stanton: “The Clues to a Great Story”

Warning: Strong Language

This Ted Talk is sure to get you a laugh, and hopefully, you’ll learn a thing or two about storytelling.

An understanding of the Human Condition is something storytellers spend a lot of time working into their crafts.

The Human Condition is about what it means to be alive. It’s often what people are trying to talk about when they call a story “relatable.”

Stories bring us together, they unite us, and they give us something to bond over, as Andrew Stanton explains. But understanding how all of those mechanics work together can get a little abstract.

Spend some time with the man that helped bring us “Toy Story” and “Wall-E” to learn more about the Human Condition. How stories give people purpose, recognition, and interconnectivity in ways that nothing else can.

If that sounds like an area of storytelling you need to work on, check out Andrew Stanton’s Ted Talk: “The Clues to a Great Story.”

4. David JP Phillips: “The Magical Science of Storytelling”

Have you ever wondered about the sciences behind storytelling?

What exactly goes on in the brain? How do images and relationships work within the mind and how does the brain chemically respond?

Storytellers interested in multimodal storytelling should check this video out as it might help forge ideas on how to reshape a story. Have you considered presenting your story in a different genre such as digital, or interactive, or as a website?

If this conversation sounds like something you’d value learning about, David JP. Phillips’s Ted Talk might be right up your alley.

David runs his audience through an example of how stories have raised the value of objects by significant margins. Like making them worth x10 or more what they were original.

5. Joe Sabia: “The Technology of Storytelling”

This Ted Talk is perfect if you want a crash course on how we got to the stories we have today.

We’re not talking about how classics became cannon or where original epics originated from, but how our means of telling a story has evolved from the written word to what we have in the digital age.

We recommend Joe Sabia’s “The Technology of Storytelling” as a way to view the layers of a story and better understand sensory detail.

In storytelling, the five senses are key.

Everything from sound, juxtaposition, appearance, and timing all come up in this Ted Talk. Have you considered these elements in your own stories?

By watching this Ted Talk we hope you’ll develop a better understanding of sensory detail because with better understanding comes a better implementation of these elements in your own stories!

If you’re looking for how to work every little component of a story this Ted Talk is for you!

More Storytelling

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We hope these Top 5 Ted Talks on storytelling have inspired you, challenged you, perked your interest, and made you want to go out and tell amazing tales. If you’re looking for more information on how to create an audience through video production, check out some of our services.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for on our blog page, or want to know a little more about our story, or if you have a story idea you want to bring to life, feel free to reach out and contact us! We’re always happy to chat!

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