Storytelling has a lot of different ways to look at it. It could be in the sense of not being truthful, expanding on something that isn’t real, it can be used to one’s advantage or to shift a real experience into something more imaginable and it can even be based on nothing but a wild imagination. However, a lot of times telly a story is simply a matter of retelling something that actually did happen and it doesn’t need to be embellished to make it useful as a learning tool.

Story Elements

To tell a story you generally need to have a few basic elements. At least one character or actor in the story, some kind of problem or challenge to overcome, and then the story of taking on that problem and some kind of conclusion. A story can have a positive or negative message, depending on what you want to reinforce.

Capture Your Audience

When you’re actually telling your story you want to use some techniques to help capture your audience’s attention. Use various methods to draw them in, depending on what you feel comfortable with. This might include:

  • Drama in the actions and challenges for the character of the story
  • Express it wildly, use exaggeration and expressions
  • Use facial expression and motion with your body and hand gestures
  • Describe things vividly to stimulate the senses to help your audience visualize elements of the story
  • Use lots of inflection and voice tone variation
  • Use simple language and easy to remember names and events whenever possible

Get To The Point

While its important to provide enough detail and specifics to draw in your audience, you also need to be careful not to drag it out. This can loose the attention of your audience and will kill the impact of your story if you don’t keep the story moving and get to the point.

Reusing and Retelling the Same Stories

Stories get better as you practice telling them, so retelling the same stories is a great way to perfect them. Look for signs from your audience as you tell them where you might notice they are distracted or loosing attention.  Shorten up those areas or add some humor, and look to refine how you draw them in further as you get to the conclusion to ensure that is the strongest point of your story and has the most impact.

Be careful not to overuse your stories and remember who you’ve told them to so you can avoid repeating it to the same people or groups as this is one of the easiest ways to destroy a good story since you won’t get the same reaction from people the second time which will lessen the impact on those hearing it the first time. Its OK to use stories with individuals as well.

Learning and using stories to coach others, teach something or just to liven up an otherwise simple statement or fact is a great way to ensure others learn it, you remember it for life and that it has a strong impact on others. Among these reasons, story telling has many other advantages in life from quickly building relationships to exercising your memory to keep your mind healthy. Great story tellers are fun to share time with and always seem to have a way to bring people together. What are some of the advantages and techniques that you know about and use for story telling?

Prev: Everyday Accountability Improves the world!
Next: Beliefs: They’re Entirely Yours to Control