Q&A with a Story Guru: Mike Wittenstein, Part 4

See a photo of Mike, a link to his bio, and Part 1 of this Q&A, Part 2 of this Q&A, and Part 3.

Q&A with Mike Wittenstein (Question 4):

Q: If you could share just one piece of advice or wisdom about story/storytelling/narrative with readers, what would it be?

A: Listen. No matter how good you are or think you are already, make the effort to continuously improve at this skill. Listening and storytelling skills go hand in hand.

Many people believe that storytelling is about talking, or relating one’s past experiences or making something up. Good storytellers are, first and foremost, great listeners. They have the ability to find important details and small nuances, and to put words to hard-to-describe feelings and emotions. These are the essential ingredients story consumers need to process what they hear and create their own meaning. Without those valuable little clues, stories are nothing more than poorly written, foreign-language instruction manuals, taking us step-by-step through difficult to understand processes with poorly illustrated pictures.