15 Inspiring Storytelling Quotes to Help You Move an Audience

Clifford Chi
Clifford Chi



There’s an old saying you might have seen floating around the internet that states, “Those who tell the stories rule the world”.

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Even without the modern neurological research that proves storytelling is the best way to capture people’s attention, bake information into their memories, and forge close, personal bonds, humanity has always inherently known that people crave and seek out great stories almost as much as food and water. And the people (and brands) who can tell the most compelling stories are able to command the most influence within their community.

In the marketing industry, where 5% of branded content attracts 90% of total engagement, the need for storytelling is more pressing than ever before. Brands are creating content at a record pace and volume, but producing more content doesn’t necessarily mean it’s attracting more attention -- it’s really just making more noise.

If brands actually want to slash through the clutter and engage an audience, solely focusing on listicles and ultimate guides won’t suffice anymore -- they must also tell gripping stories.

To help you channel your inner storyteller, we’ve curated 15 quotes about storytelling from some of the world’s most insightful authors and filmmakers. Read on to get inspired.

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15 Inspiring Storytelling Quotes to Help You Move an Audience

1. “No story lives unless someone wants to listen. The stories we love best do live in us forever. So whether you come back by page or by the big screen, Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.” - J.K. Rowling, author

2. “There is no friend as loyal as a book” - Ernest Hemingway, author

3. “I’m obsessed with giving the audience something they don’t see coming.” - Jordan Peele, writer and director of Get Out

4. "You’re never going to kill storytelling, because it’s built in the human plan. We come with it.” - Margaret Atwood, author of The Handmaid's Tale


5. “The most amazing thing for me is that every single person who sees a movie, not necessarily one of my movies, brings a whole set of unique experiences, but through careful manipulation and good storytelling, you can get everybody to clap at the same time, to hopefully laugh at the same time, and to be afraid at the same time.” - Steven Spielberg, filmmaker

6. “I’m writing my story so that others might see fragments of themselves.” - Lena Waithe, screenwriter for Bones and Master of None

7. “I'll tell you a secret. Old storytellers never die. They disappear into their own story.” - Vera Nazarian, author

8. “The very reason I write is so that I might not sleepwalk through my entire life.” - Zadie Smith, author

storytelling-quotes-Zadie-Smith-author9. “Many stories matter. Stories have been used to dispossess and to malign. But stories can also be used to empower, and to humanize. Stories can break the dignity of a people. But stories can also repair that broken dignity.” - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, author

10. “Think about the word destroy. Do you know what it is? De-story. Destroy. Destory. You see. And restore. That's re-story. Do you know that only two things have been proven to help survivors of the Holocaust? Massage is one. Telling their story is another. Being touched and touching. Telling your story is touching. It sets you free.” - Francesca Lia Block, author

11. “We are, as a species, addicted to story. Even when the body goes to sleep, the mind stays up all night, telling itself stories.” - Jonathan Gottschall, The Storytelling Animal

12. “Story, as it turns out, was crucial to our evolution -- more so than opposable thumbs. Opposable thumbs let us hang on; story told us what to hang on to.” - Lisa Cron, Wired for Story


13. “Good stories surprise us. They make us think and feel. They stick in our minds and help us remember ideas and concepts in a way that a PowerPoint crammed with bar graphs never can.” - Joe Lazauskas and Shane Snow, The Storytelling Edge

14. “Whether you know it or not, your desire to write comes from the urge to not just be “creative,” it’s a need (one every human being on earth has) to help others. A well-told Story is a gift to the reader/listener/viewer because it teaches them how to confront their own discomforts.” - Shawn Coyne, The Story Grid

15. “Create those things where human protagonists relate to us, where the stakes and conflict grip us, and where the emotions move us. Craft those simple things, those glorious things, those things so often forgotten but so desperately needed. There’s no hidden or corporate meaning behind the word ‘story.’ We know what they are. And we need to start telling them.” - Jay Acunzo, founder of Unthinkable Media

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