Ira Glass on Storytelling

Fernando Gros points the way to a four-part series of videos on storytelling by American radio broadcaster Ira Glass, the host and producer of This American Life. The interview excerpts were produced by Current and posted on YouTube in 2006. Fernando got my attention with his recommendation:

“To be blunt, if you speak in public in any way – presenting, preaching, teaching, or if you create online content, blogging, podcasting or video, do yourself and your audience a favour; block out half an hour and watch the five short videos and read Garr’s summary. This is excellent and transformative stuff.”

On the Basics

Ira talks about the importance of the anecdote with movement, and the reflection with significance.

On Finding Great Stories

Ira talks about the importance of researching, looking for the best stories that will be compelling. Communicators face the temptation of focusing on production rather than selection. Ira’s focus on the art of storytelling is timely for me. I spent Thursday afternoon with Jason Bray looking through 45 minutes of stories he and his team have filmed for “Faith Stories”, a series we’ve been working on over the last year. There are many great stories but in some cases we have to cut out some of the material to make the rest of it more powerful.

On Good Taste

To get to the point of matching one’s own taste and one’s own capacity for excellence, you need to persevere, producing a volume of work. Over the last few months I’ve been going through five years of blogging, updating to become The Inspiration Room Daily, and bringing together my five Postkiwi blogs into one. It took me a while to get to the point where I was producing content that matched my own standards.

On Two Common Pitfalls

Don’t try to copy someone on TV. Don’t just talk about yourself.

Garr Reynolds at Presentation Zen has a useful summary of the Ira Glass tips.

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