The place for science and story

I found this quote in an interview with Ben Lillie (he works for for TED and hosts or founded Story Collider, a storytelling venue and podcast). I thought you’d find this quote affirming.

At TED, by the way, we find that the talks with strong emotion tend to perform best in terms of viewing numbers—by quite a lot. And from a storytelling point of view, emotion is the be-all and end-all: what you’re trying to do is connect to people and say, here’s an experience I had, here’s how I felt, and how it changed me. You lay it bare.

I think the magic of TED talks, and the reason many, many people want to watch them, is that they’re building in an emotional component. This is a big lesson for people who want to do science communication, or any sort of communication: you’ve got to engage the audience at some deeper level, you can’t just give a recitation of facts. In the storytelling world we make a strong distinction between a story and an anecdote. An anecdote is something that happened. A story is something that happened and it meant something, it changed you. What I think we find is that a lot of what’s going on in science communication is more anecdote-ish. We haven’t conveyed why it matters and who changed.

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