Read a thousand books,
and your words will flow like a river.
What do you think is the most memorable kind of communication? A good old-fashioned story, of course! Whether it is through hieroglyphics, parables, fairy tales, or fables, a good story is the deepest way to connect the mind to the soul. Storytelling is a cherished tradition and an entertaining and effective way to convey information about almost any subject.
Walk into any classroom and you will find teachers educating their students through stories. Walk into a major corporation and there too you will find high profile CEOs expressing their thoughts, opinions, and facts to their employees through the use of stories. Wherever you go in life, storytelling is a powerful means of communication.
Why should you tell stories?
It has been discovered that each of us has a desire, and even perhaps a need, to tell and hear stories. By sharing stories with others, and indulging in their stories, we learn to understand each other at a much deeper levels. By creating a common level of understanding, we come together as a community of individuals, able to appreciate both our differences as well as our similarities.
You can convey your thoughts, feelings, and experiences through stories. By doing so, you will verbally be expressing the things you value, the customs you take part in, and the wisdom that you have acquired in life.
Have you ever felt that you didn’t have anything interesting to share? Have you ever wished that you could grip your audience with the power of a good story?
If so, you will be happy to find out that there are many, many stories within you, just waiting to be told! And by becoming a better storyteller, you can overcome any feelings you have of isolation and develop a stronger connection with others.
What are the steps to becoming a better storyteller?
Even if you have never told a story in your life, you can become a storyteller! With a little effort and practice, your storytelling skills will improve and people will be drawn to what you have to say. Here are 4 important techniques that you can use to improve your stories:
1. Ensure that your presence is prominent. You must get the attention of your audience, whether it is a small group of friends or a large crowd. If you can captivate your audience, you are halfway there! In order to do so, you will want speak clearly and deliberately with an upright posture and confident demeanor.
Self-confidence plays a large role in making your presence prominent in a room. If you lack the confidence to step outside of your comfort zone and exude some of that confidence, then you will have a difficult time gaining your audience’s attention.
2. Connect with and engage your audience. Connecting with your audience on an emotional level is an important key. If you are able to do this, then you will draw in the interest of the crowd and your story will not end up falling on deaf ears. This means understanding who they are, what they desire, why they are present, and how to speak to them.
Talk and relate to your audience as equals. You should not let your ego lead you into using a condescending tone of voice, nor should you let your shaky self-confidence make you appear overly timid. Yes, we are all human and we are all equals, so eliminate any of these negative perceptions or mental barriers from your mind right away!
Match how you speak with whom you are speaking. Your tone, language, and attire should be in alignment with the group you are addressing. All of these things would be different if, for instance, you are planning to speak to high school students versus a group of women over 50. Try to precisely understand what the audience goes through day-in and day-out and tell that story.
3. Interact with your audience. Audience involvement is a simple technique that renowned speakers use when sharing their stories. You can ask questions, set up activities, or have someone share their experiences. This keeps your audience tuned in because they have become part of the story.
Humor can help you engage and interact with your audience, but don’t force it. Forcing humor into a story where it does not really belong is awkward for both the storyteller and the audience.
4. Teach something. Your audience has come to listen to you in order to learn something. And, I know this is shocking, but they don’t want to simply learn about you. They want to learn something they can apply to their own lives. Structure your story so there is both a situation and a solution or moral; in such a way that there is a deeper meaning associated with the story that the audience can identify with or relate to.
When you gain the full attention of your audience, you will be able to connect with them on an emotional level and interact with them. That way you can more closely identify with their personal situations and leave them on the edge of their seats. And, of course…