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COM 120 — The Art of Effective Storytelling: Techniques and Secrets

Quarter: Spring
Day(s): Tuesdays
Course Format: On-campus
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Apr 2—May 21
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm
Drop Deadline: Apr 15
Unit: 1
Grade Restriction: No letter grade
Tuition: $475
Instructor(s): Marianne Neuwirth
Limit: 30
7:00—8:50 pm
Apr 2—May 21
8 weeks
Drop By
Apr 15
1 Unit
Grade Restriction
No letter grade
Marianne Neuwirth
Once upon a time …” Few words captivate us like these do. Stories and storytelling are integral to every culture on Earth, and unite diverse audiences through commonly understood images, characters, and ideas. In this course, we will analyze storytelling techniques used by seasoned and professional storytellers, and students will learn the basics of telling effective and captivating stories. Fairy tales, myths, movies, story recordings by professional storytellers, books, and plays will be used as source material. Students will prepare, practice, and deliver various presentations, incorporating techniques learned in class. By the end of the course, you will have a clear sense of what mesmerizing stories look and sound like, which approaches work best for keeping audiences rapt, and how to incorporate these techniques into your own storytelling, whether for presentations, interviews, or informal gatherings. You will know how to develop characters with whom audiences can relate, design and organize a plotline with a clear arc, use details that evoke rather than dilute meaning, create a story that is succinct yet complete, incorporate voice inflections that induce various emotions, and incorporate body language that brings stories to life.

Prerequisite: Advanced-level proficiency in spoken English.

Marianne Neuwirth, Founder and Director, Oral Communication Program, Menlo College; Communication Consultant

Marianne Neuwirth consults with international executives and various departments at Stanford, teaching storytelling 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:

(Required) Elizabeth Ellis, From Plot to Narrative: A Step-by-Step Process of Story Creation and Enhancement. (2012) (ISBN 978-1935166818)