Teaching the Art of Storytelling

By Francesca Bacardi Posted on Nov 01, 2013

Telling stories is a part of everyday life. A story can take any shape—something not-for-profit organization The Moth realized early on, turning storytelling into a necessary skill people, brands and corporations could master.
Beginning in 1997, The Moth is a not-for-profit organization that hosts themed events where storytellers explore the titular themes on the main stage where they perform stories in front of a standing-room-only audience.While public speaking seems like a main component of The Moth’s program, it does not necessarily have to be, so people who suffer from glossophobia do not have to worry. The Moth only wants for people to be as great as they can be.
“We always talk about being yourself because in that there is a level of comfort,” said Kate Tellers, Senior Producer, Corporate Programs at The Moth. “We find that people respond to honesty more than polish.”
The organization has since expanded and now works with agencies to help find their “story.” From brand work to pitch work, The Moth helps agencies improve in many different areas such as communication and branding. Tellers said that The Moth uses storytelling to find practical business solutions. While the corporate program has been around for several years, Tellers notes a recent spike in attention.
“People want to tell the success stories of their business to inspire internally and externally,” Tellers said. “You’re essentially ordering principal information.”
While The Moth does not do any direct marketing for its business, it does rely on another form of storytelling—recommendations. Storytelling is the best way to communicate, according to Tellers, and The Moth wants other corporations to know that it is here to help with that skill through its copyrighted Seven Principles of Moth Storytelling.
One way an agency could benefit from The Moth is to learn how to use a success story to expand its business. The key word here is “one” because an agency should not overwhelm a potential client with a million success stories; that is going overboard.
“It’s an efficient tailoring of information,” Tellers said. “You use one example to speak for many so you don’t inundate them with success.”
If a brand does not necessarily have a story for The Moth to dig up, it will find the brand’s value, which might present itself in the form of a previous client’s happiness with a completed project. In other words, the story can come from anywhere and take any form.
The Moth recently held a workshop at The One Club on October, 22. This was an exclusive event attended by a small group of 20 professionals from high-level New York City agencies. The Moth worked closely with this group, breaking them into smaller sections and coaching them on best ways to present compelling personal stories. The goal was to give participants tools to tell their professional stories to their agencies and clients. But while agencies and other corporations can benefit from The Moth’s programs, the organization also sees benefits for itself.
“We find the work exciting and engaging,” Tellers said. “We’re always interested to work with new clients and new people across the board.”

The One Club CEO Mary Warlick introduces the evening

The group breaks off with members from The Moth to sidcuss storytelling

Another breakout group discussing storytelling techniques

Attendees kick off the evening by watching a video from The Moth


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