Are you publishing digital content to an online audience, or in the process of writing a novel? Before you begin, you must first know how to tell a story that will leave a lasting impact on your audience. When you trigger an emotional response such as fear or joy, you have successfully hooked your reader.
While we do not have a specific template to use for every single storytelling experience, we encourage your story to involve certain elements, regardless of the topic or the audience. For instance, you should consider various components such as the structure, the speaking techniques, and the body language.
In this blog post, we will discuss several storytelling tips that will help to improve your overall storytelling process. Whether you decide to use them or not is entirely up to you, however, we have noticed a significant difference when applying these simple techniques!
Make It Personal
We previously mentioned the importance of provoking an emotion, and that can be done in several ways. As a storyteller, you want to make yourself appear a bit vulnerable by revealing a tidbit of your opinion or story. Your audience is more likely to connect with you if you are displaying vulnerability because it is human nature to invest in the personal story of another human being. This is why user-generated content tends to perform extremely well.
Would you be more engaged in a story where a teacher discusses her personal experience as a home-schooled student, or a teacher who is discussing the education opportunities that exist within society such as public schools, private schools or home-schooling?
Write The Story
If you are giving an oral presentation, we highly recommend writing out your story beforehand. It is a great strategy to plan what you are going to say, whether it is a simple outline or note cards with bullet points. If you have never done this before, it might be helpful to draft the entire story in complete sentences.
However, we encourage you to avoid reading directly from your draft, doing this can send the wrong message to your audience. As a bonus, a written version of your story can be a springboard for a novel or short story. It is wise to be over-prepared.
Know Your Target Audience
Before you begin writing your story, research and know your audience. As a storyteller, you have to understand why your audience would choose to give you their attention in the first place. For example, Mike Lannen knows his audience before giving a presentation about Google Advertising. When he gives these presentations, he knows that his audience is either within the same industry, or looking to expand their Google Advertising efforts in hopes of growing their business.
It is also important to know what makes a compelling story for an in-person presentation with potential customers, as well as a conference call with other businesses within the industry. Each story will require a different approach, with the similar topic at hand. The moral of the story is, you will become a more mindful storyteller if you understand your target audience at all stages of your own storytelling.
Pace Your Main Points
While you are writing your story, be sure to pace your main points throughout each section of your story. If you are presenting a nonfiction story designed to prove a point, it is a great way to keep your audience invested. Typically, a storyteller will identify their two main points and bookend their story by including an anecdote within the introduction.
Not only will this grab the audience's attention, but it will also provide a great ending to the story. The storyteller then has the opportunity to say something that can resonate with the audience long after the story is over, with tidbits of valuable content in between the main points. Ultimately, this ensures the audience receives a holistic story.
Keep it interesting by adding in a few surprises throughout your story. Similar to the best fiction writers, the best public speakers will never let their audience go into cruise control. As an audience members, we expect you to make assumptions about the story that is being told.
However, we do not want our audience to zone out or become disengaged, and it is the storyteller's job to prevent this from happening. We recommend tossing in a plot twist within your storyline, ensuring that even if your audience does become disengaged, you will regain their attention.
Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Coming up with new stories or a new way to tell a story can be challenging as a storyteller. We recommend pushing your creative writing boundaries, and take your storytelling to a higher level. This does require risks, such as telling a story from a different perspective or crafting a story in a different genre. If your go-to is to tell a story from real life, then maybe you could try making something up for your next story.
Using versatility throughout your story and with your writing style is one of the most important skills that a great storyteller can contain. Embrace these opportunities and try something new!