Storytelling Insights

  • Esther Choy

Leadership Story Lab’s All Time Favorite Storytellers



Today, March 20, is World Storytelling Day! To celebrate, we’re sharing our team’s favorite storytellers—the people whose masterful storytelling enriches our lives and workplaces.

Esther Choy, President & Chief Story Facilitator


Favorite Storyteller #1: Justin B. Craig, Family Enterprise Professor at Kellogg

As someone with over 30 years of experience in his field, when he does his own introduction they could be book-length. But no, he says this instead. “I've worked ON, FOR, and WITH family enterprises for over 30 years.” Brilliant stuff! Three simple prepositions pull mighty weight. Instead of weighing people down with details, Dr. Craig paints a big picture that is both clear and intriguing.

Favorite Storyteller #2: Austan D. Goolsbee, Economics Professor at Chicago Booth

Austan Goolsbee is one of my favorite economists.

On his recent conversation on NPR's Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me, he explains why the recent tariffs on steel are such a bad idea. What a wonderful way to explain something so complex in ways that everyone can understand.

Sara Dennison, Leadership Story Lab Project Manager


Favorite Storyteller: This American Life producer Ira Glass.

Who doesn’t love This American Life!? I like how TAL uses three acts to tell a story around a theme each episode. “Our show is heard by 2.2 million listeners each week on over 500 public radio stations in the U.S., with another 2.5 million people downloading each episode as a podcast. ” If you learn how to tell a good story, people will listen and keep tuning in.

Here’s an article on Medium about things you can learn from Ira Glass about storytelling.

Amanda Hertzler, Leadership Story Lab Social Media Manager


Favorite Storyteller: Dr. Brené Brown, research professor at the University of Houston

I’ve followed her since the TED talk she gave in 2010, where she mentioned that she started labeling herself as a “storyteller,” despite her hesitation with the word. As a researcher, she used to think that no one would take her seriously if she called herself a storyteller, but then she started thinking of stories as “data with a soul.” From that point on, she’s used stories to show how the data she collects is influential.

Becky Talbot, Content Marketing and Research Manager


Favorite Storyteller: Paula Carter, Essayist

My favorite storyteller to listen to is Paula Carter, whose stories I have heard at 2nd Story in Chicago. She chooses details that I never forget. For instance, instead of saying “I had nothing in common with this kid,” she says a kid asked her about her favorite food. She said “quiche.” He said “pizza.” It so memorably illustrates the difference between adults’ tastes and kids’. Details like that can keep pulling your audience back to your story long after you’ve told it. And in a business context, that means that your client, your customer or your boss’s boss will remember you when they need your expertise.

Reena Kansal, Chief Operating Officer & Story Facilitator


Favorite Storyteller: Louis Sachar

In our always ‘on’ world, it is easy to get caught up in flurry of activities, both personally and professionally. It is equally important to take time to relax a bit and laugh everyday. Laughter is the best medicine. Masterful storytellers can provide this medicine, enriching our lives.

Recently, to help my daughter get out of a rough patch, I was looking for a fun book to read with her. That’s when I rediscovered one of my childhood favorites: Wayside School is Falling Down by Louis Sachar. His stories about the students in Ms. Jewel’s classroom immediately get my daughter and I laughing out loud. It’s a great way to start a new day!

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Want to become a masterful storyteller? Contact us for business storytelling training! Leadership Story Lab trains and coaches managers in storytelling techniques to help them become more engaging and persuasive communicators. Whether you would like to stand out in the interview process, add punch to a presentation, or make a compelling case for a new initiative, we can help. Schedule a complimentary session with us today!

Esther’s new book, Let the Story Do the Work (published by HarperCollins Leadership), is now available!

Microphone photo credit: yoursql719 via Pixabay

#Storytellinginbusiness #audienceengagement #businesspresentations #JustinBCraig #AustanDGoolsbee #IraGlass #PaulaCarter #BrenéBrown #LouisSachar #BusinessCommunication

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