How to Tell A Story

storytellingThese days, you cannot hope to keep an audience listening to you if you don’t include stories. Businesses are full of stories; how the product was designed, how the founders started, what the market wants ….. You just have to know how to tell it. Here is the essential guide.

  1. Plan your story starting with the takeaway message. Think about what’s important to the audience. The ending is the most important point of the story. This is the message we want to deliver, and the one that will linger with the audience.
  1. Keep your stories short for the workplace. Three to five minutes long is about what people can digest in today’s ADD world.
  1. Good stories are about challenge or conflict. Without these elements, stories aren’t very interesting. The compelling part of a story is how people deal with conflict–-so start with the people and the conflict.
  1. Think about your story like a movie. Imagine you are screenwriter with a goal to get your message across. The story has to have a beginning, middle, and end
  1. Start with a person and his challenge, and intensify human interest by adding descriptions of time, place, and people with their emotions.
  1. Be creative. A good story always has ups and downs, so “arc” the story. Pull people along, and introduce tension, just like in a fairy tale. (“From out of nowhere, the wolf jumps onto the path…”)
  1. Intensify the story with vivid language and intonation. Tap into people’s emotions with language. Use metaphors, idioms, and parables that have emotional associations.

Most of us have not told stories in front of an audience since English class in high school. So you will need to practice.

 

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