Storytelling - A Guide Skip to main content

Storytelling – A Quick Guide


[ted id=1864]

This fantastic TEDTalk video presents a complex issue – the high rate of terrorism in underdeveloped countries – and quickly connects the viewer to both the issue and the possible solution.  The speaker uses vivid stories to draw the viewer in and explain the un-explainable, namely “how could anyone choose to join a terrorist group?”

The speaker, Mohamad Ali, is a gifted storyteller.  Instead of speaking in generalities, he describes the life of one young man who leaves his small town to find a future in the big city of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.  This one example illustrates how young men in underdeveloped nations across the world could be enticed by terrorist groups.

Mohamad uses storytelling as his teaching meth. The sharing of specific stories benefits the listener (or learner)  because our minds our pre-wired to remember stories.  Stories can also elicit the emotions of the listeners which raises their interest level.  Furthermore, stories can help to simplify complex issues in a way that facts and figures cannot.

This video exemplifies the impact that well-told stories can have on an audience. Prior to watching the video I might have said “how could anyone choose to be in a terrorist group?” But Muhamad’s presentation allowed me to more clearly understand the desperation of this individual young man and therefore more readily conceive of how a similar story could be told for impoverished men world-wide.

Fortunately, there are hopeful and inspiring stories presented in this video as well. The other stories show how it is possible to  avert the terrorists’ snare. Muhamad proposes that the key to ending the destructive pattern of young men choosing to join terrorist groups is to promise these same men an income that is un-linked to terrorists activities.  In a nutshell, entrepreneurship is what is most desperately needed in areas where there is terrorism.

In the past, blogs on this site have discussed how jobs are linked to one’s sense of self, belonging, and hopefulness. Many know the adage “Don’t give a man a fish, teach him to fish.” An adage to sum up this video might be “Don’t fight terrorists, fight the void that supplies terrorist groups.”

Previous Motivation and Commitment – Only Needs to Last 30 Days
Next 5 Tips to Instill Trust and Foster Engagement