Seminar: Storytelling and science communication

Seminar PDF

Duration: 2 days

Course type: In-house seminar

Trainer: Karin Bodewits (and Peter Kronenberg)

Target group: All (PhD students to professors)

Number of participants: Max. 10 per trainer

We all enjoy a good story, whether it’s during a presentation, a job interview, a conference coffee break, or simply during a pub night. Why? It activates the same areas of our brain that would be activated during the actual event. Consequently, audiences feel so much more engaged when they hear a narrative about your real-life experiences as researcher or how you finally chased that superbug down. Much more than if you monotonously talk them through a list of bullet points on a power point slide. But to be understood when talking about one’s own research work, let alone to speak about yourself, is not easy for many researchers. During this seminar, you learn to enchant a wide range of audiences with science stories and to captivate a lay audience with complex research results. Because… speaking science can be magical!

Seminar contents

The power of storytelling

  • Why do we need story?
  • When to use story?
  • What we can learn from TED talks
  • Explain science through story


  • Using the HBT model
  • Why stories need conflict

Types of stories

From mystery to comedy

1 sentence and 1 paragraph stories

Your key message

5 steps to crafting a narrative

  • Planning a narrative
  • Characters in your story
  • Write an outline
  • Craft the story´s body
  • Adapt the story to your audience

Using story at/ in/ for:

  • Networking events
  • Scientific presentations
  • Publications/ thesis
  • Science festivals
  • Pint of science/ science slams/ storytelling shows

This is a 2-day course that can be followed by a lively evening programme (e.g. at a retreat) with personal- or science story contributions from all course participants. The evening programme will be moderated by us with humour and absurdity.


Karin Bodewits ( or Philipp Gramlich ( )/ Tel.: +49 (0) 176 7453 7200 (Karin) or +31 (0) 6 82454 258 (Philipp) or +49 (0) 152 0600 5189 (Philipp)