Singapore University of Social Sciences

Listen and Be Heard: Effective Communication through Storytelling

Listen and Be Heard: Effective Communication through Storytelling (NCO103)


In this course, students will acquire a knowledge of the synergies between communication and storytelling, and learn to harness the necessary techniques and competencies for impactful and creative communication. The course focuses on the following areas: audience and context, verbal and non-verbal communication techniques, and communication mediums. It will underscore the importance of audience and context as the basis of all forms of communication, verbal and/or non-verbal. Students will learn to engage and connect with their audience via storytelling and rhetoric by using the most appropriate techniques and mediums. They will also gain an understanding of the ways in which technology has revolutionized communication and explore how stories are told via a dynamic combination of audio/visual, and/or social media. As part of the assessment, students will produce their own storytelling projects on any issue and in any medium of their choice. These projects can tie in with community engagement activities, overseas programmes, work attachments, or anything else they strongly believe in. This will ensure that students recognise that they can effectively apply the skills and competencies they have acquired in this course to their academic and professional work. They will be able to engage diverse audiences confidently in different settings, and provide clear, well-structured, well-paced and convincing reports across different mediums. In effect, they will mobilise the creative power of focused and concise storytelling arcs and rhetorical techniques in presenting themselves and their ideas, whether they are developing arguments in an academic essay, presenting their professional credentials and track records, making a sales pitch or participating in a strategic planning meeting. In addition, students can implement these competencies for self-empowerment, and for the good of others.

Level: 1
Credit Units: 5
Presentation Pattern: -


  • Storytelling as Communication
  • Modes and platforms of communication
  • Important narrative and rhetorical techniques
  • Digital media and storytelling
  • The art and craft of listening
  • Storytelling and context-awareness
  • Building relationships with the audience
  • Authenticity and empathy in storytelling
  • Self-expression and self-representation as storytelling
  • Truth-telling and “alternative facts”
  • Exposition and storytelling
  • Storytelling for good

Learning Outcome

  • Discuss the key role storytelling plays in communication.
  • Define modes of effective verbal and non-verbal communication.
  • Explain the importance of communication in a given socio-cultural context.
  • Use context-specific approaches to storytelling to engage an audience.
  • Apply effective verbal and non-verbal communication techniques.
  • Develop impactful stories using various digital and non-digital mediums.
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