Telling a Human Story

George Stephanopoulos

Lesson time 06:22 min

Storytelling is one of the most impactful ways to communicate. George will look back on some of his most compelling interviews and outline his techniques for drawing out people’s emotions by listening and artfully employing follow-up questions.

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Topics include: Telling a Human Story * Allow Them Space to Share * Connecting With Someone's Goals * Summarize the Story


[MUSIC PLAYING] - The most important quality when we're trying to get someone to tell a story is simply to be curious, to have these natural human questions that you follow the thread as someone is explaining what happened to them, sometimes in a very difficult situation. When you're dealing with someone who's been through a traumatic experience, or telling a difficult story for the first time in public, or making some kind of a confession in public, or making an apology in public, I feel like it's my job to make sure they tell their story in the fullest possible manner, in the most fair possible manner. I try to do it in the most interesting possible manner. That's as much up to them as it is up to me, but to make sure they know that they feel safe to tell their story when they're talking to me. [MUSIC PLAYING] REPORTER: We do want to update you on the breaking news out of Orlando, the terror attack on a gay nightclub. WOMAN: Oh my God. - One of the most difficult conversations I ever had was speaking to the mother of one of the victims of the Pulse shooting in Orlando back in 2016. I understand your son was in the club last night? - Yes, he was. - Have you heard anything? - I haven't heard anything. I've been here since 4 o'clock in the morning. I've been waiting. I've-- waiting by the emergency room. - You know, sometimes after situations like this, you see people in their most extreme pain. Can you imagine? I mean, a mother who's believed she's lost her son. GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ON TV): And what have the police been able to tell you? - Well, they said there's a lot of dead bodies at the club. And that's a crime scene. They can't identify anybody. So it could be hours and hours before we find out. - And I always feel conflicted with interviews like this because, you know, you're-- on the one hand, I don't want to feel like we're exploiting this woman in her period of pain. - I wanted to let you know about my son. When he was in high school, he started the Gay Straight Alliance. And he won the Anne Frank Humanitarian Award. I've been so proud of him for that thing. - What you saw there is why people often choose to speak out in moments like this. She wanted people to know her son. - Let's try to get rid of the hatred and the violence, please. GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS (ON TV): Christine, your words are so powerful this morning. It's so clear your heart is breaking. And we are thinking of you. We are with you. And know that your words have been heard. Thank you very much. - Painful to watch, painful to you be part of that interview. But I think the only solace I can take from it is that I think she got some comfort by sharing his story. And as the interviewer, your main job is to give people the space to tell their story. [MUSIC PLAYING] The best way to get someone to tell an emotional story is to connect with...

About the Instructor

Legendary interviewer and broadcaster George Stephanopoulos has navigated challenging interviews for more than 30 years—as former White House communications director and presently as co-anchor of Good Morning America. Now he’s teaching you how to project confidence under pressure and draw the best value from your own professional and personal interactions, becoming a stronger, more intentional communicator.

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George Stephanopoulos

Award-winning interviewer George Stephanopoulos teaches you his techniques for producing authentic, meaningful conversations.

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