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BLOG – ‘Cutting through the fog: Crafting and presenting a clear magnetic story’ – Dr Ghina Halabi

by Dr Stephanie Höhn

Everybody has a story to tell. What is your personal story? How can you use it in your work and everyday life to get your message across? These are the questions we discussed during a thought provoking evening with Dr Ghina Halabi, astrophysicist, gender advocate and storyteller.

The power of stories is demonstrated by the 1001 tales that Scheherazade tells the Sultan, ending each session with a cliff hanger in order to be spared another day. Fascinated by Scheherazade’s stories the Sultan eventually gives up his plan to behead her. Inspired by this Middle Eastern tale Ghina founded the social enterprise “Scheherazade Speaks Science” , a platform to make science accessible and promote female scientist.

1On Tuesday (12 February 2019), Ghina introduced the essential ingredients that capture the attention of an audience and make sure they will remember you and whatever it is you have to say. In a lively discussion we explored the phenomenon of “storyphobia” in science, which on one hand relies on cold hard facts and on the other hand needs to appeal to the deeper needs of society in order to obtain its support. Revealing the ups and downs that inevitably mark the path to any project worth noting makes it so much more interesting to listen and renders the narrator more human and relatable. Ghina stressed that, like any other skill, storytelling 4needs to be exercised. Several brave attendees shared anecdotes of events that contributed to shaping the person they are today. Nurturing this skill can be helpful during presentations, outreach work and even job interviews. For the latter a compelling example of a challenging situation well mastered can be invaluable. The team at Scheherazade Speaks Science gives regular workshops including narration, body language and dealing with stage fright.

So, what is your story?

We would like to thank Ghina for sharing her evening and inspiring us all for our own stories.

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