Everything you don´t learn in the lab

Storytelling for scientists

Topic area
Science communication

Online or in-house workshop

4 webinars of 2-2.5 h each = 2 workshop days

Karin Bodewits, Marloes ten Kate or Peter Kronenberg

Target group
All (PhD students to professors)


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 a 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 PowerPoint 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!


In this course you´ll learn about:


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 ABT 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

All participants receive a script of the course in PDF format for offline and future use so that they can work through the material offline as well as after the course. 

This online course can be followed up by a lively (online) 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.


Interested to read more about this topic? You might like Karin´s article in Science Careers: Share your science with a story or Philipp´s career column No scientists please first published in Nachrichten aus der Chemie

Are you interested in the topic, but don´t have enough time for a full workshop? Then you might be interested in our talk Pitch your science

Course Flow Online Workshops


Live Webinar

  • Kick off
  • What is storytelling?
  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Day 2

Live Webinar

  • How do stories work?
  • Best practice examples


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Day 3

Live Webinar

  • Crafting your narrative
  • Group work


  • Submission of your 3-5 minute science story/ narrative
Day 4

Live Webinar

  • Debriefing and feedback


  • Individual and group course work (online and offline)
Weeks 2-3
Individual written or oral feedback from the instructor
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