Review: How to Tell a Story

For the past few months I’ve been on a kick about good communication. I think it’s inextricably linked to good leadership. But what comprises good communication? Is it logic? Frequency? Relevance? Diplomacy? Clarity?

I downloaded Donald Miller’s new eBook How to Tell a Story and gobbled up its 34 pages in about an hour. Miller helps answer my question, suggesting part of clear communication is found in its form–specifically, story form. He explains the simplest structure of story by introducing a fixed plot in which you can insert any character or tension, and use even to organized the events of your day.

Why should we turn mundane daily details into stories? Miller gives the following reasons:

Those who tell good stories:

• Communicate more clearly.
• Write better books, blogs and articles.
• Give better speeches.
• Are chosen as leaders.
• Are never unhappy.
• Are filthy rich.
• Are better looking.
• Experience a sustained feeling of euphoria.
• Can eat gluten without consequences.


Mmm. Gluten.

Miller calls story a “sense-making device,” as our brains are scientifically documented to engage with its organizational structure. In short, “stories cause the brain to come alive.” They can help us make sense of our experiences and communicate them more clearly, which can really come in handy in job interviews, teaching, marketing, fundraising, donor relations, sales, dating, evangelizing, getting your kids to pay attention to you . . . you get where I’m going?

For my 2 cents, How to Tell a Story is well worth $Free.99, and I am excited to incorporate it into my everyday interactions.

Here’s to good stories and great storytellers!


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