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COM 49 — The Alchemy of Leadership: Turning Stories into Gold

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Mar 31—May 19
Time: 7:00—9:15 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Apr 2
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $550
Instructor(s): Marianne Neuwirth
Limit: 30
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—9:15 pm (PT)
Mar 31—May 19
8 weeks
Refund Date
Apr 2
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Marianne Neuwirth
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Alchemy is the process of transforming something common into something special, from lead into gold. Particularly effective leaders create alchemy by telling compelling stories—stories that unify and move employees, constituents, teams, supporters, and listeners toward particular ends. This course will focus on how they do it, and will cover methods that will enable you to tell effective stories yourself. We will explore different styles of leadership, and the stories that correspond best with particular situations and contexts. We will consider unforgettable stories told by such diverse leaders as Steve Jobs, Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, John Muir, Abraham Lincoln, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Sojourner Truth, Malala Yousafzai, and others. Students will learn the basics of effective and captivating storytelling, and we will address the three basic stories any leader should tell: about self, about the group identity and shared values, and about the dream or destiny of the group. By the end of the course, students will have a clear sense of why particular stories are memorable, and through the use of speeches, myths, movie clips, fairy tales, and abundant feedback, students will create and share their own stories with the class.

Prerequisite: Advanced-level proficiency in spoken English.

Marianne Neuwirth, Oral Communication Consultant

Marianne Neuwirth consults with local professionals, international executives, and various departments at Stanford, teaching leadership, persuasion, storytelling, public speaking, and conflict resolution, and training researchers how to communicate their work publicly and conversationally in succinct and compelling ways. She received a PhD in communication from the University of Utah.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.