If you want to be an effective speaker, you need to be a good storyteller. To be a good storyteller, you need to have a good story that is relevant to your message and your audience.
To find a story that fits these criteria, you need to know:
- What is the point you are trying to convey with your story?
- What kind of story would resonate best with your audience?
You always need to have your audience in mind as you unveil your story.
Once you’ve found or created your story, one that illustrates your point in a way your audience will understand, you need to work on its presentation.
- What tone does your story need to best convey your message?
Sometimes you want your story to be humorous, sometimes you want it to be sober. Many stories can be told with different tones, so make sure you’re using the right one for this presentation to this audience.
- How can you provide a solid beginning, middle, and end to your story in the time allotted?
You don’t want to rush the story to completion, but you also don’t want to drag it out, filling it with fluff. It is better to tell two stories than to stretch out one. And if you rush your story, it won’t give your audience time to engage with it or absorb its message.
A Good Storyteller Is Always on the Look Out for More Stories
If you want to be a good storyteller, you need to be a diligent collector of stories to tell. Stories can come from your own experience, or through the experiences of others. Here are some tips that will help you collect those stories:
Read, read, and read some more.
You’ll stand a better chance of becoming a good storyteller if you’re exposed to good stories. These stories can be fiction or nonfiction. Reading stories not only helps you find stories to use, but also implants the rhythm and meter of good storytelling into your mind.
Think back to the stories you enjoyed as a child or authors that held your imagination. Use those stories as guidelines for creating your own.
Write everything down.
If you write down your experiences, things you’ve heard others say, or dreams you have had, you may be able to incorporate some of that into the stories you use on stage.
Stick with what you know.
Tell stories about something you have some personal experience with. You want to weave yourself into the story.
This is easiest to do when the stories are something you’ve experienced. However, you don’t always need to be the protagonist of your story. Case studies of your clients are good stories, but you are a supporting character in it. Also, if you are using a story you’ve heard or read, you can incorporate yourself into the story by sharing your thoughts on what you’ve heard. For example, “I heard this story…and it made me think…”.
Pay attention to the world around you.
Stories are everywhere. You’ll witness them at your local grocery store. You’ll see them on the news. You’ll hear about them from your friends and colleagues. Pay attention to those stories and write them down. A story collecting journal is a great place to store these proto-stories for later use.
A Good Storyteller Works on Delivery
Think of your audience.
Your story needs to be told at a language level your audience understands. This means when sharing stories with a highly technical or knowledgeable audience, your stories can be more complex. But if your topic is completely new to your audience, your stories will need to be more basic and pull analogies from things they have experienced.
Learn to stick to the important facts.
Have you ever heard a story where the storyteller went down a rabbit hole, meandering away from their original point? Don’t do that when you’re speaking on stage. Sometimes, writing your story down in advance will help you keep on track when you practice telling it. Always be aware of the point you’re trying to make and don’t take detours from that point.
Consider taking acting and improve comedy lessons.
Acting lessons will help you learn how to bring your story to life. Using different voices and vocal mannerisms for the various characters in the story helps make the story more engaging and clearer. Improvisational skills help you tailor your stories on the fly.
Stories are naturally engaging
Humans are hard-wired for story. We’ve been sharing stories since before we had language. Therefore being a good storyteller is important for effective speaking. Stories entertain and they bypass the logical brain, keying into the emotional mind. This, in turn, helps your audience engage with your message at a deeper level than dry facts and figures ever will.