What's my vote for the most underrated skill?
Being a great storyteller has immense value across five key areas of your life. It's a shame we don't require it in schools.
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Here's the research behind how the art of storytelling can benefit you — and how you can get better at it.
John Gottman is one of the leading researchers on what makes relationships succeed or fail.
He can listen to a couple for five minutes and determine, with 91 percent accuracy, whether they'll divorce. He was featured in Malcolm Gladwell's book Blink.
What does he think is the best diagnostic tool for checking how good a relationship is?
Ask them to tell their story.
Here's more on the importance of your relationship story.
In the Harvard Business Review, Herminia Ibarra and Kent Lineback give advice on crafting a good resume.
Bullet points of achievements are lovely, yes, but the key part of a resume that has impact is the story you make it tell.
Here's more on storytelling in your career.
Think of your recent conversations. The primary way we communicate is through stories.
Sure, facts and statistics are great. But when people hear presentations what do they remember?
Here's more on communicating memorably.
Who is most likely to say "Tell me a story"? Children.
Stories are the way we educate them and the way they learn. And this isn't mere tradition.
Research shows that telling stories kids can relate to may dramatically increase their desire to learn.
Students told a story about a high math achiever who shared their birthday persevered 65 percent longer on hard problems during a math test.
Here's more on the educational value of stories.
5) Happiness and meaning
Whether it's formal religion or just your own idea of life, meaning comes from the stories you tell yourself about what happens every day.
Those stories make up a big part of whether or not you are happy.
For better or worse, you become the stories you tell yourself — so choose wisely the narratives that shape your life.
Timothy Wilson, author of Redirect: The Surprising New Science of Psychological Change, explains:
Here's more on how storytelling is the key to happiness and meaning in life.
How to improve
Check out these books:
- Story: Style, Structure, Substance, and the Principles of Screenwriting
- The Art of Fiction: Notes on Craft for Young Writers
- On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft
Don't have time for Amazon to deliver these?
Check out my interview with UCLA Film School professor Howard Suber.
He gives a powerful tip on how to instantly become a better storyteller.
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