Are you a master at storytelling?
If you would like to be more engaging, get more bookings and be more relatable as a speaker, then mastering the art of storytelling is a great way to stand out from the crowd. In this article, I will share with you 8 Spectacular Storytelling Tips to Spice up your Speaking.
People love a good story, one that draws them in. There are speakers and trainers who are ordinary storytellers. Then there are those who are master storytellers.If you do one thing for your speaking success this year -improve your storytelling.
What is your signature story? This is the story you are known for, it is the very essence of you, what you stand for and what you have to offer. No one else has your story.
No one else has your story.
Then there are the everyday stories that you can use to teach, inspire and create change in others. There is an endless supply of material that you can use for this purpose (if you’d like a story mining exercise, contact me and I’ll send you a simple one that I use).
A good storyteller transforms an ordinary tale into an adventure, and creates an experience for the audience to relish and enjoy.
But wait…I’m not a speaker, I’m a leader.
If you are a leader you are a speaker.
As a leader, entrepreneur, start-up business or sales expert – your ability to tell compelling stories gives you a competitive edge – the world doesn’t need any more dull presenters, agree?
If you are still pitching and presenting with a fat slide deck or, even worse reading out loud – I urge you to step into the magical world of storytelling. You will connect in a way that a PowerPoint doesn’t, you will inspire in a way that leaves bullet points running for cover, and you become known for your authentic and engaging style.
“Be yourself, everyone else is taken” – Oscar Wilde.
No one else has your story.
Only you can tell your stories the way you can. No one else has your story. It is what makes you unique.
If you are not yet harnessing the power of storytelling in business – or you know you should, but you are not quite sure how to get started – then now is the time to jump in. Maybe you are already telling stories (note… case studies, scenarios, and anecdotes are NOT stories), but perhaps your stories are getting a little tired – or were never fully awake in the first place.
Maybe you are already telling stories? (note… case studies, scenarios, and anecdotes are NOT stories), but perhaps your stories are getting a little tired.
An effective storyteller has the ability to turn an ordinary tale into an adventure. After all, we all love to find out how the hero triumphs in the end, and our greatest lessons come from our everyday experiences.
You don’t have to have rags to riches story to draw people in – but you do need to have a story that has some key elements.
“I believe the best stories are short, simple stories told exceptionally well”.
Start collecting your stories today. If you’d like to start capturing your stories with a set of simple guided questions then my Find a Story in Five journal may be great for you. It’s available to purchase online and as a bonus, I will give you a free coaching session to help you refine one of your stories.
You will have so many stories that it is best to capture and tag your stories in an app or notebook, here is how I sort and store my stories into a story bank.
Don’t give a talk – create an experience.
The way you craft and share your story is key. An experienced storyteller performs a story with their whole body, using voice and movement to compliment the story. A great story has a blend of carefully crafted words, beautiful pace, and rhetorical devices, coupled with character development, dialogue and a touch of humour to add light and shade. I know some of you are thinking – that’s not my style or I can’t do that, but you can…if you want to truly captivate an audience with a story – you will create a more memorable experience for your audience if you step out from behind the lectern. If you would like some help to create your storytelling style, or craft your signature story then let’s chat
There is a massive difference between “giving a talk” and “providing an experience”, ordinary presenters give talks; master communicators create an experience for their audience.
I know what audience I’d rather be part of!
As a storyteller, you can create suspense, action, and impact by using some tried and tested storytelling techniques.
Ready to get started? The first step is to ditch the PowerPoint (or even slashing the deck in half if you are not ready to part ways with it yet).
Here are 8 tips to spectacular storytelling.
#1 The audience are the centre of your story.
If you think storytelling is about you, then think again. For many beginning storytellers, this is a common mistake. Of course, it is your story and only you can tell it, but your story has to be about the audience.
My measure of storytelling success is not when someone talks to me about my story, it is when they want to share one of their stories with me.
I know I’ve done a good job if I have told a story in a way that has provoked a story in another individual through a shared emotional experience. Here is an example in this Alice in Wonderland story .
If you think that you are the shining knight or princess in your own story – I hate to drop a rain cloud on that thought – but you won’t reach the audience if all you want to share with them is how heroic you are.
#2 A story is an experience for your audience.
Don’t just tell your story verbatim, create an experience for your audience. Use metaphors and rich sensory language, even a prop or a picture so that your audience can conjure up their own images, thoughts, and emotions. They are eager to experience first-hand what happens in your story and will want to feel part of it in order to be moved by it. They want to imagine themselves right there alongside you, they want to feel the emotion you felt, see what you saw, hear what you heard. Remember you need to take your audience on a journey and have them alongside you all the way.
#3 A story has a structure.
At a very basic level, a story has a beginning, middle and an end. There is a whole lot more that happens in between, but often people aren’t interested in hearing the whole story if the start does not raise their curiosity. A story needs to get off the starting blocks to a flying start so that the audience are captivated early on. Just like any good movie, the start of your story must be concise and compelling – no need to set the scene in complex detail (cut the fluff). Aim to set the scene by quickly addressing the following: who, where, when, what. For example, “It’s 4am …..a secret meeting at the airport….and I receive a text ” ….. What happens next? is what you want your audience to be thinking at the beginning.
#4 A good story has a call to action.
The best storytellers are able to do so much more than “tell” a story. They provide the audience with something to take away. A transformation takes place, and there is an exchange of energy and empathy between the storyteller and the story listener. When you inspire your audience to take some sort of action, you are including them in your story and leaving them with a purpose – to create some change. This is so very different to presenters who “give a talk”.
“Storytellers create a memorable experience”.
#5 Tell a story with your whole body.
As the storyteller, you lay out each scene and keep the audience on their toes by showcasing the various elements that make up the story. You can do this effectively by using various techniques to enhance the experience for your audience. Consider timing and pacing, rhythm and musicality in your voice, the use of your body to convey emotion and character and dialogue to represent different characters or story archetypes. With practice, this can be done seamlessly. Some of these techniques are more advanced and for those new to storytelling, I suggest you get comfortable with each of these elements individually and with practice the rest will come naturally.
#6 Above all a story needs to be told with passion.
Something simple sets ordinary presenters apart, from speakers who have mastered the art of storytelling, and that is passion. The audience will resonate with the emotion that is at the heart of your story, more than the message itself when you deliver the message with passion. Keep the passion prevalent in your presentation and your story will have more impact. If you are not passionate about your story, don’t expect others to be. If you are lacking passion for your story, go back to thinking about your intention. Is it to serve? or is it to satisfy your own needs. Remember tip #1.
“If Content is king, then delivery is Queen. Work on both to be the best storyteller you can be”.
#7 Anyone can tell a story, sharing a spectacular story takes practice.
We have been telling stories since the beginning of time. There are stories everywhere. But not everyone can tell a good story well, it takes practice. A storyteller may cover all the basics and may teach you something you don’t already know. Perhaps you will leave feeling informed, but will you leave feeling inspired? There’s nothing wrong with the former, but if you want to tell spectacular stories then you need to go the extra mile. A spectacular storyteller will take the time to craft a story that impacts on the audience on an emotional level (to lift and motivate, not leave the audience feeling low and sorry for the teller). A great storyteller will build characters, weave subplots and create suspense. Most importantly a story well-told will leave the audience feeling good.
#8 A storyteller makes a connection with an audience.
A story is not a talk. When you share a story you are leading your listeners to an experience. You are building a place where they can feel the emotion, touch, hear and see. A story is very much a performance. A story can add meaning and transform a listener’s experience of reality. By creating an emotional connection – I don’t mean crying on stage. It can be a delicate balance between sharing a personal story and bare your all to others. Consider whether your story is ready for telling. Stories are precious, we need to take care of them and have them take care of us. Above all, a great story is about creating a connection.
We all have stories worth sharing. Learn to share the experience of your story.
I encourage speakers, leaders, entrepreneurs, executives and business owners to practice your storytelling skills, tell your story with passion and give your audience an experience they won’t forget.
The world deserves to hear your stories – what are you waiting for?
I’m a Professional Speaker and Public Speaking and Storytelling Coach based in Perth Australia (but can coach you from anywhere with the wonderful tool of Skype).
Available for keynote speaking, breakout sessions, workshops, training, and coaching. If you would like to chat about how I can serve you at your next conference contact me here.
I spent 20+years answering my calling as a Midwife. In that role, I had the privilege to guide, support and coach others, to help bring new life into the world.
A life-changing sudden illness led me to leave my calling and find my true purpose. Six years ago, I began my speaking and storytelling journey. Discovering my voice and sharing a message and empowering others to speak up, step up and share their stories. I continue to bring new life into the world, guiding, supporting and coaching and helping bring new life into the world in the form of stories as The Story Midwife.
If you would like help to create your signature story, or you want to learn the art of storytelling to make and impact in your business presentations then let’s chat to see if we are a fit.