Janet Litherland adds, "They imprint a picture on our minds. Want to make a point or raise an issue? Tell a story." People with the X-Factor have mastered the art of storytelling.
A story told in an authentic, masterful way that connects on an emotional level engages people like nothing else! This is because almost everyone can relate to problems, challenges, and obstacles that a hero/heroine overcomes and at the same time offers a lesson for us all.
Think back to the presentations that have inspired you the most and really stuck in your mind, the chances are they started with a story. Nearly every TED Talk features a story in it, especially the most successful ones. If you don't believe me, take a look at the TED Talk below it is brilliant because it is about storytelling and he demonstrates the techniques by telling stories.
If you watched the TED Talk you would already be on your way to becoming a master storyteller, but it also requires lots of practice and the 7 tips below will help you to get started.
So, tell stories they are really worth the effort:
More memorable presentations
Improved influencing/selling skills
More compelling arguments
More chance of being listened too
A deeper understanding of yourself and others
Builds trust and connects
Here are my seven tips for storytelling:
Make it about the people. People connect with other people, so make sure you focus your story on the real-life characters of your story. Even if you are presenting facts and information, you can still relate it to people. Everyone loves a hero or heroine and your audience will want to know what their challenges were, what was the impact, how did they overcome them and what was the lasting message.
Bring your characters to life. An important part of storytelling is making the story personable and relatable. When characters speak to each other in a story, it lends immediacy urgency and authenticity to the piece. So, use direct quotes and let characters speak in individual voices, lending credibility to the dialogue.
Keep your audience engaged. We are all time poor these days and our attention spans are strained; unless you're keeping people interested, you are wasting your breath. So, when telling a story, raise their curiosity, make them wonder "what happens next?" or "how is this going to turn out?" As the people in your story pursue their goal, they must run into obstacles, surprises, or something that makes the audience sit up and take notice.
Connect with emotions. Human beings are not inclined to think about things they don't care about. Stories stir emotions not to be manipulative, not simply for melodramatic effect, but to break through the white noise of information that continuously inundates us and to deliver the message, "this is worth your attention.
Paint mental pictures. 'Show don't tell' is the most fundamental maxim of storytelling, and for good reason. Your audience should see a picture, feel the conflict, and become more involved with the story, not just be receptacles for a long list of facts.
Don't forget the "moment of truth.The best stories show us something about how we should treat ourselves, others, or the world around us. Call it an 'Aha!' moment; that point when your story conveys a message that really makes your audience say, "Yes! That's a powerful idea".
Keep it relevant and on message. When the final line is spoken, your audience should know exactly why they took this journey with you. In the end, this may be the most important rule of all. If your audience can't answer the question, "What was the story all about?" and "why was it relevant?" it won't matter if you followed rules one through six.
This last point is the most important. What do you want the audience to feel? What do you want the audience to remember? What was the critical moment in the story?
Make sure you know what message you want your audience to come away with so that the story you've told is one your audience can retell too; that's the biggest compliment you can get when you hear someone telling your story to others.
"Would you like to know more?"
If you'd like to find out more about storytelling and how you can master it, do give me a call on 01908 511 062 or click here to ping me an email and let's see how I can help you.
I'm the founder of DTS, which was established in 1996. A highly successful experiential training company specialising in facilitating behavioural change in all aspects of dealings with people, whether in customer service, sales, management or with colleagues and teammates.
I've managed large contracts such as Pearson Education, Coca Cola, Penguin Books, Accenture, and Santander for over 21 years and have built up excellent relationships with key sponsors of all aspects of the businesses.
I'm a successful trainer, writer and speaker with nearly 30 years' experience of training people at all levels.
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