Be a Teller of a Good Story

By | December 14, 2021

[December 14, 2021]  Since the beginning of humankind, we have painted on cave walls, carved pictures in wood, ivory, and bone, sang songs, danced, and told stories.  The best stories were passed down from generation to generation.  A teller of a good story puts you in the center of human existence.

We are drawn to those who can tell a good story.

In a previous article on storytelling, I wrote that “The power of storytelling, especially for an experienced leader, is arguably one of the most effective means to communicate a message.”  It’s still true, especially in an age today of vast social media.

Some say that it is the ability to tell any story that brings people to your doorstep and raises a leader’s reputation.  While that is true, it also helps to have a good story.  Combine storytelling with a good story, and you have the making of greatness.

Storytelling is the cornerstone of human existence.  It enables people to communicate and connect with anyone.  It brings us together through shared experiences, making you feel part of something bigger than you.  Be compelling, unforgettable, funny, and be thoughtful in your telling.

My advice to all aspiring leaders is to be an extraordinary teller of a good story.  Doing so means that you must practice the art and science of storytelling.

The world is fortunate to have many great storytellers.  Those like Mark Twain, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Walt Disney are my favorites.  There are many more, of course, most we will never know.  With an ability to tell a story, anyone can transcend our ordinary existence, immersing us with an authentic experience.

Tell a good story.  Not all stories are the same; some are boring, many without merit, or unbelievable.  The story of the reluctant hero who saves the damsel in distress by killing the dragon, winning her heart, capturing the gold, and saving the world is one of the common.  Some of the best stories play off this theme.

The greatest story ever told.  That’s the title of a book and movie, a description of stories over the ages, and the hook to get folks to listen.  The existence of humans started with a good story, and it needed telling.  Find the good story and learn to tell it with conviction.

Good storytelling of a good story is infectious.


Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

23 thoughts on “Be a Teller of a Good Story

  1. Ernest

    I discovered this long ago while in college. I found out that I would be dating some great women if I could talk to them in such a way that was interesting. That is what is the basis of storytelling.

    1. Edward G.

      Hi Ernest, I think most of us learned early in life but some never learned at all. So, if you are one who did not, then suck it up and learn now. Don’t be a wuss.

  2. Silly Man

    If you can’t tell a good story, you’re out as a leader. So, that means practice your trade (storytelling, in this case) at every chance you get. Only thru using this skill, can you improve. Remember that HOW you deliver the STORY makes all the difference.

  3. Ellesse D.

    All of us here write about good storytelling but IMO, it has a greater effect. You can’t be a leader unless you can be a great story teller.

  4. Valkerie

    Let us not overlook the main point here, “Some say that it is the ability to tell any story that brings people to your doorstep and raises a leader’s reputation. While that is true, it also helps to have a good story. Combine storytelling with a good story, and you have the making of greatness.” Gen. Satterfield is saying, IMHO, that without an ability to tell a good story, you cannot be a good leader.

    1. Steve Dade

      Another excellent point. Informative article today, thanks Gen. Satterfield.

  5. rjsmithers

    Another excellent article, Gen. Satterfield. I recommend more articles like this. It captures my imagination and motivates me to read more on story telling.

  6. Mr. Savage

    Here are a few commonalities I’ve noticed watching and reading my favorite storytellers: 1. Simple, 2. Emotional, 3. Truthful, 4. Real, and 5. Valid. Got it? Stick to the tried and true ways.

    1. Eric Coda

      Storytelling allowed people to make sense of the world and derive deeper meaning from their lives since the beginning of human history. The techniques and delivery methods of good storytelling may have changed since then, but the power of storytelling to move us and provoke a deeper sense of connection between us has stayed consistent.

    2. Goalie for Cal State

      Mr. Savage, I agree but when you write “real”, I’m sure you mean “appears to be real.” Or realistic. Yes, key point. Thank you!

      1. Randy Goodman

        Good point, Goalie. Being realistic matters. But sometimes telling a story means using old themes of humans that we’ve experienced collectively over thousands of years.

        1. Nothing Burger

          This idea that the best story rises to the top is old. But it’s true.

  7. lydia truman

    We “need” story tellers, perhaps, for innate reasons but humans find the telling of a good story to be a measure of intelligence. And, that is one of the reasons we are attracted to them. Intelligence, humor, positive attitude – much unlike the communists and socialists in our mist.

  8. British Citizen

    “The world is fortunate to have many great storytellers. ” I think that should happen because we NEED more stories. Cheers!

  9. Max Foster

    Yes, be a good storyteller. But I think this is deeper than Gen. Satterfield is writing on. I think that humans have an innate need to be told a story. Of course, that explains why we are so mesmerized by movies and books. That is also why the burning of books (or banning them today) is so destructive. It kills out souls to destroy the stories of humans. That is why the political left is so corrupt and out of touch. Just like Hitler, the political left is destined to the dustbin of history. In the short term, they will do great damage.

    1. Nick Lighthouse

      Max, I agree and thus the insidiousness of not telling a good story runs to the heart of the evil that mankind can inflict upon itself. The sooner we realize this, the better we will be. We can recover.

    2. Dead Pool Guy

      Great analysis, Max. You sure know how to put things into perspective. Well done!

      1. New Girl #1

        Good to see you back Dead Pool Guy (love the moniker). I’ve been only this website for a couple of months and I”m really enjoying the articles by Gen. Satterfield and also the forums that are extremely useful.

    3. Tracey Brockman

      Excellent comment Max and thanks for it. Yes, I firmly believe that the human crushing drive of communism and socialism is to not just prop up the elites so they can live lavishly but also crush the humanness in us, so that we don’t rebel. Trashing certain stories is the first big step to doing exactly that.


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