Storytelling With Awesome: 7 Books to Improve Your Skills

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As DIY Marketers has covered before, storytelling is a powerful way for businesses to bypass the weaknesses of traditional marketing. Customers are busy, have little patience for interruptions, and can fact-check every marketing claim your business makes.

This makes it harder, but not impossible, for businesses to reach customers with traditional marketing and advertising.

One way to bypass this problem is through storytelling.

But how do you tell a story that your customers will pay attention to?

You need three things: a good story, the right tools, and the right approach. To help you with two of those things (story and approach), DIY Marketers provides a list of seven books that can help. The following books cover everything you need for your storytelling, whether you are using a YouTube video to show a new product feature or talking to a potential business partner over a cup of coffee.

To be more specific, these seven books are designed to help business owners:

  • Refine their storytelling skills to engage and close with more customers
  • Develop a flexible approach to storytelling so you can adapt to new situations and obstacles
  • Develop and share powerful presentations
  • Improve their visual and data communications skills to improve communication for any purpose in life

With that, let’s get started

Marketing Your Story: 7 Books to Help Upgrade Your Storytelling Skills for Better Sales & Marketing Results

1. Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale by Paul Smith

In “Sell With a Story”, keynote and corporate storyteller Paul Smith shows readers how to apply sales principles to storytelling. In the first part of the book, Smith covers how stories can be adapted to meet different sales goals. The second part helps readers develop and refine their sales stories with the use of templates, roadmaps, and real-life stories of successful (and sometimes unsuccessful) sales staff.

2. Getting to “Yes And”: The Art of Business Improv by Bob Kulhan

One key skill for sales success is thinking on one’s feet. Sales people constantly encounter new objections, new competitors, and new opportunities to make the sale. What’s another field that thrives on thinking on one’s feet? Improvisation. This may explain why many leaders of Fortune 500 businesses are taking improv classes.

While you may not have the budget for a high-priced consultant, you can get a book that introduces readers to the principles and skills behind improv applied to your business. That book is “Getting to Yes And”. Written by a former Second City improv actor and current corporate improv trainer, this book will guide you through the basics of “Business Improv 101”.

3. Talk Like TED: The 9 Public-Speaking Secrets of the World’s Top Minds by Carmine Gallo

You’ve heard of TED Talks, a conference and media organization that commands over a billion views worldwide. You’ve probably heard of the career-transforming power of a TED talk as well. If you ever wanted to tap into that power for your own personal goals, then “Talk Like TED” is your next read.

In “Talk Like TED”, public speaking coach Carmine Gallo shares insights from his review of hundreds of TED talks along with those of researchers. Gallo reviewed these talks for the crucial elements behind the most popular and talked-about TED talks. With Gallo’s insights, readers get a glimpse of what makes a powerful TED talk and learn how to use that power anywhere at any time.

3. Draw to Win: A Crash Course on How to Lead, Sell, and Innovate With Your Visual Mind by Dan Roam

As author Dan Roam points out, the world of communication has again gone visual. Mankind first used pictures to communicate. Then writing came along. As we move through the 21st century, this trend will reverse. We now communicate in a highly visual world with videos, GIFs, memes, charts, infographics, etc. Because of this trend, those who want to successfully communicate in the modern world need to develop their visual communication skills.

“Draw to Win” is a guide to developing those skills. The book helps readers develop confidence and skills (through drawing exercises) in visual communication. Using the book’s skills along with writing is the key to becoming a powerful communicator who is able to translate ideas into well-developed words and images.

4. Business Storytelling For Dummies by Karen Dietz and Lori L. Silverman

In a book list about storytelling, this book is a must. “Business Storytelling for Dummies” combines all the general skills of a business storyteller-in-training.The book helps storyteller novices understand the impact of storytelling, the different types of storytelling, and how to adapt it to your business needs.

The book goes into particular depth about listening as a skill in storytelling, expanding and contracting parts of stories to achieve a specific goal, and using them throughout the organization (not just your sales conversations with customers). If you are looking for a book that provides a roadmap to the areas you need to become a master business storyteller. (Cape not included, though it is advised.)

5. Storytelling with Data: A Data Visualization Guide for Business Professionals by Cole Nussbaumer Knaflic

Data is something all of us will have to be comfortable, especially in business.”Storytelling with Data” is a book built to help professionals thrive in this world. In the past, business communication focused on the presentation of data. As long as the data was formatted, the design was a secondary issue.

In this era, design is what separates good professional communication from bad communication. “Storytelling with Data” helps professionals do more than present well-designed data. It helps business professionals tell a story with that data. Readers learn how to apply the right context, choose the right graphic to display data, and how to direct your audience to the most important parts of your data. Using this book, professionals will learn how to present and deliver their data with clarity and power.

6. Presentation Zen: Simple Ideas on Presentation Design and Delivery by Garr Reynolds

“Presentation Zen” is a classic centered around bringing clarity into a presentation. Unlike some of the books on this list, the book isn’t really concerned with technical details or innovation. “Presentation Zen” is focused solely on communicating well. It focuses on three key parts of the presentation: preparation, design, and delivery. If you get these three aspects of your presentation right, the rest will be effortless.

The key is doing this with clarity, not clutter. “Presentation Zen”, by a multi-talented speaker and consultant Garr Reynolds, can definitely help with that.

7. Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath and Dan Heath


Published in 2007, this is one of the older books on the list. It is a goodie, however, because it deals with communication at the most basic level, ideas. No matter what graphic, tool, or words you use, you need ideas that are well-developed and will resonate with your audience. “Made to Stick” explores the dynamics behind “sticky” ideas, ideas that have a lasting impact on others. Using this book, readers will be able to enhance their own ideas with the”sticky” principles in the book, giving their ideas a much-needed boost in this world of crowded content.

Got any other books that you think might be good for this list? Let us know!




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