Universiteit Leiden

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Career development | Communication

Storytelling Lab: Using story-based discourse to boost your career

This course introduces you to storytelling as an effective tool to improve your communication skills, build and strengthen your relationships at work, and inspire those around you.

Target group
PhD candidate
Esther van der Voort  (Keynotes Coaching & Communicatie)
Training course
15 hours (including preparation and three training sessions)
Starting dates 2024
16 May, 30 May, 5 September, 19 September, 24 October

Why this course?

Across all research fields, we train ourselves to become skillful academic communicators. The clear presentation of our findings and data is intended to forward research, as well as lend us professional credibility. But even though rhetorical argumentation is vital to our work, research has shown that humans are simply not inspired to act by reason alone. A complementary yet essential skill for any career path you might follow, is using story – and personal narratives in particular – to communicate with more impact by truly connecting with your audiences and peers.

In this course, we will explore the power of story and show how people in various fields use narrative-based discourse to forge a connection with their audiences. Through a series of practical exercises, we will then use these insights to discover how you can use story yourself to communicate with more impact.

Topics include:

  • The power of story
  • The 6 rules of storytelling
  • How to use story to communicate with impact
  • Using narrative in a professional context

Upon completion of this course, you understand and can apply the 6 rules of storytelling, are aware of your own potential for using your stories as tools for communication in your work  and life, can use story-based discourse effectively to connect with your audiences and peers, and can balance rhetorical argumentation with story-based discourse in a work-related presentation.


You will participate in three sessions of four hours with about 8 – 15 participants in total. Over the course of three sessions, you will develop  your own narrative. Giving a short work-related presentation is part of this course.

Practical information

  • You can register for this course using the registration buttons on the right side of this page. Please note the difference between Staff (employee of Leiden University) and Extern/LUmc (e.g. extern, self-funded researchers or employee at LUmc). 
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