Are you a master at storytelling?

If you would like to learn storytelling basics, 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.

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 comfortable presenting with a fat slide deck or you tend to default to reading out loud – I encourage you to step into the magical world of storytelling. You will connect in a way that a PowerPoint does not, 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.

Only you can tell your stories the way you can. No one else has your story.
If you are not yet harnessing the power of storytelling – 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 (case studies, scenarios, and anecdotes are NOT stories), but perhaps your stories are getting a little tired.

A compelling storyteller can turn an ordinary tale into an adventure. After all, we all love to find out how the hero triumphs in the end. Our greatest lessons come from our everyday experiences. 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.”

Don’t give a talk – create an experience.

The way you craft and share your story is key.  An experienced storyteller can perform a story with their whole body, using voice and movement that compliments the story. In addition, carefully crafted words, excellent 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 is not my style, or I cannot do that!  You can with a little practice and some tools. If you truly want to captivate an audience with a story – you will not be able to maximise the experience for your audience stuck behind a lectern.

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 learning storytelling basics? 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).

Storytelling Basics: Here are 8 tips for spectacular storytelling.

Storytelling Basics #1: The audience is the centre of your story.

Your story is not about you. For many beginning storytellers, this is a common mistake. Of course, it is your story, and only you can tell it, but it has to be about the audience.  My measure of storytelling success is not when someone comes up to me after I share a story and talks to me about my story, it is when they want to share one of their stories with me. I know I have done a good job if I have 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 story – I hate to drop a rain cloud on that thought – but you will not reach an audience if all you want to share with them is how heroic you are.

Storytelling Basics #2: A story is an experience for your audience.

Instead of telling 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 images, thoughts, and emotions. Your audience is eager to experience first-hand what happens in your story and wants to feel part of it, to be moved by it.  They want to imagine themselves right there alongside you; they want to feel the emotion that 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.

Storytelling Basics #3: A story has a structure.

At the fundamental level, a story has a beginning middle and an end.  There is a whole lot more that happens in between, but often people are not that interested in hearing it all if the start lacks curiosity. A story needs to get off the starting blocks to a flying start so that the audience is captivated early on.  Just like any good movie, the beginning of your story must be concise and compelling – no need to set the scene in elaborate detail (cut the fluff). Aim to set the scene by quickly addressing the following. Who, where, when, what.  It is 4 am, .a secret meeting at the airport, and I receive a text ….. What happens next? Is what you want your audience to be thinking.

#Storytelling Basics #4: A good story has a call to action.

The best storytellers can do so much more than “tell” a story, they provide the audience with something to take away. A transformation takes place, a shared energy, and empathy between the storyteller and the story listener. When you inspire your audience to take some action, you include them in your story, and you are leaving them with a purpose – to go on a mission and create some change. It is a very different style compared with presenters who “give a talk.” Storytellers create a memorable experience.

“Storytellers create a memorable experience”.

#Storytelling Basics #5: Tell a story with your whole body.

As the storyteller, you lay out each scene, and you keep the audience on their toes by showcasing the various elements that make up the story.  You can do this effectively by using different techniques to enhance the experience for the audience. Consider timing and pacing, rhythm and the musicality in your voice, the use of your body to convey emotion and character and using dialogue to represent different characters or story archetypes. With practice, this can be seamless. Some of these techniques are advanced. For beginners, I suggest you get comfortable with each of these elements (with practice the rest will come naturally).

Storytelling Basics #6: Above all a story needs to be told with passion.

Tell your story with passion.

Something simple sets apart regular presenters 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 an impact.
If Content is king, then delivery is Queen. Work on both to be the best storyteller you can be. Remember tip #1.

“If Content is king, then delivery is Queen. Work on both to be the best storyteller you can be”.

Storytelling Basics #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.

Storytelling Basics #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 baring 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.

As a storytelling expert, known as The Story Midwife, I help leaders to create compelling presentations through business storytelling.

Before becoming a Professional Speaker, I worked for over twenty years as a midwife.

I now live and breathe stories as a speaker, trainer, performer and coach.

Need help mastering storytelling basics and finding your compelling story?As a World Class Speaking & Storytelling Coach, I’ll help you mine, refine and deliver a captivating story for your business or brand. Whether it is the boardroom, podium or stage; I can show you how to develop a persuasive presentation with a compelling story that will be hard to forget by anyone who gets to experience it.

If you would like to find out about training for your team, I’d love to hear from you.  Contact me lisa@speakingsavvy.com.au or call +61 (0)438 902042.