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)
One to one coaching

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 the 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.

For whom?

PhD candidates of Leiden University and LUMC

Topics covered

Topics include:

  • The power of story
  • The 7 rules of storytelling
  • How to use story to communicate with impact
  • Using narrative in a professional context

What you’ll learn?

Upon completion of this course, you:

  • Understand and can apply the 7 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.
  • Can balance rhetorical argumentation with story-based discourse in a work-related presentation.


You will participate in three sessions 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. 


This course will take place over three group sessions of 4 hours. The workload amounts to 15 hours.  

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