How to be a Storyteller
How do great storytellers connect with their audiences? And what separates the most compelling stories from a merely good or even bad story? Here are some storytelling techniques to help you tell your own story in an impactful way.
1. Tell a Story That Is Unique
The first step to telling a story that resonates with your audience is to find out what makes them tick. What is important to them? Why should they listen to you? How can you relate to them? This is where it pays to know something about yourself and how you want to appeal to others. You may not have the answers, but you can learn from your audience.
2. Be Authentic
When telling another person's story, do not try to copy their voice or mannerisms; instead, use your own personality and tone. If you feel uncomfortable doing so, change your delivery by using more than one word if necessary.
3. Make It Personal
Your story needs to reflect your feelings, beliefs, and experiences. Do not just repeat the same things over and over again. Describe your experience in detail, including details like feelings, thoughts, and actions. Do this for each element of your story – the setting, the characters, the situation, and the theme.
For example, “I remember my mother taking me to see ‘The Wizard of Oz' when I was little. Sitting in the dark movie theater with her, I could smell the buttery popcorn and feel the cool air on my face as Dorothy stepped out of her black and white world into the land of color. I liked the movie, but I kept thinking, “I wish my mother was here with me now. She's all I have in this big world. ‘”
4. Be Specific
Vague details can make a story confusing and less believable. Instead of saying, “I went to the store,” try, “I went to the store a mile from my house where I bought apples, milk, and bread.” Instead of saying, “One day my friend was mean to me,” try, “One day when we were eight years old, my best friend Megan said I could not come over because her mom said no visitors were allowed. I was furious, so I went to play in the woods behind our houses by myself. I ended up getting scratched by a bramble bush and had to go to the hospital to have twenty-three ticks removed from my hair. My girlfriend is still not as good a friend as she could be. I think she's afraid of competition.”
This adds emotion to the story and allows the listener to feel what you felt.
5. Be Entertaining
It's not enough for your story to be factual. Your story needs to be interesting. It must capture the attention of the listener and it must keep that attention. You can do this by using colorful descriptions, by adding drama, by adding humor, or by combining these three things.
6. Do Not Be Too Vain
It's natural for people to want to talk about themselves, but if your story is just bragging about your successes or portraying you as a hero, it will quickly lose the interest of your audience. Instead, try to focus on the lessons you have learned from experience or from the people around you. This way, you will not be too busy with yourself, but you can still share an interesting story with the audience.
7. Be Sincere
No matter how amazing your story or your personal story is, people will know if you are lying. It's always better to downplay your role in an experience and highlight the accomplishments of others. This makes you more believable and you come across as more likable . If you follow these guidelines, you should be able to tell stories that others enjoy hearing. Not only will this help people enjoy your company more, but it can also improve your memory of the experience.
What Does Being a Good Storyteller Mean?
Being a good storyteller means knowing what makes a good story! A good story must have an interesting setting, interesting characters, and an exciting plot.
A good story should also encourage the listener to fill in the details with their imagination.
A beginning, a middle, and an ending, with a little humor and emotion thrown in for good measure! Simple yet elegant!
What Can One Do to Be a Better Storyteller?
- The first step is to delight in the narratives of others.
- The second step is to become familiar with the common story types and structures that exist. There are many resources online for this, from /r/writing on Reddit to college-level writing books.
- Practice, practice, practice. The more you tell a story, the more you'll improve the details and the way you tell it.
- Last but not least, tell stories that interest YOU. You will be much more passionate about the stories you tell if you are interested in them. This will make the difference between a good story and a great story.
- Making up stories is something that should come naturally, but it takes practice. Take a walk in the woods or just in your backyard. Look at things from different perspectives. Always be on the lookout for new story ideas.
Capture Your Story Ideas Quickly!
Another helpful tip is to always have a notepad with you so you can write down your ideas as they come to you.
We all have great ideas when we sleep; unfortunately, we rarely remember them when we wake up. This is where a voice recorder, a simple notepad, or a quick-access voice recording app on your phone can come in handy! If you wake up with an idea, you can capture it very quickly.
Do not worry about the quality of your writing at this stage. Just capture the ideas on paper or your phone. You can organize and rewrite them later.
The setting of a story is the time and place in which it takes place. This can be anything from a single room to the entire universe. The characters are the people or creatures that populate the narrative. The plot is the sequence of events that make up the story.
Start Your Story With an Idea or Theme First
When you begin writing, first start with an idea or a topic. For example, let us say you want to write a story about your high school reunion. Maybe your main character realizes for the first time that he no longer has his friends from high school around, and he finally realizes how much he's taken their presence for granted. You can use this as a springboard to explore other themes like nostalgia, breaking up with friends, or the transience of life and youth.
You should also focus on one aspect or feeling that you want to convey in your writing. This can be happiness, sadness, anger, madness … Anything.
Setting can greatly affect the mood of your story. There's a reason why many classic horror stories take place in the middle of the night in a dark and stormy forest.
Many authors use symbolism in their work, but do not overdo it. It's not always necessary, and if you add too much, your work can feel forced.
You do not need to know everything about your characters' entire lives. In fact, it's best not to reveal everything about your characters at once. Hold some details back for later so that when you do eventually reveal them, they have a greater impact on the reader.
Make sure your characters' actions are realistic and logical, given the circumstances they face. If a character is supposed to be anxious, have them act anxious. The same goes for any other emotion.
Let Your Writing Flow Naturally
Do not try to force your writing. Let it flow naturally and develop a habit of writing every day. If you are having trouble coming up with something, try free writing, where you just write nonstop about whatever comes to mind for a given time.
Once you have completed your story, you need to go back and edit it. You should read through your work several times, paying special attention to any spelling or grammatical errors you may have made. You should also use this time to check the overall flow of your work and make sure it flows, makes sense, and sounds good when read aloud. If you are writing a novel, you should check that your characters change and develop as the plot progresses. For short stories, make sure the ending follows from what happened before.
Finally, share your work with others and revise based on their critique. No one becomes a good writer alone. You need to interact with other people and get feedback from them on your writing.
What Makes Someone a Great Storyteller?
In the eyes of every reader and listener, folktales are a series of stories with interesting morals to learn. A storyteller is considered to be a creator of fables, myths, and other types of tales based on the experiences of the older generation.
However, some people think that storytellers are just liars and fools who make up stories. These people could not be more wrong. Great storytellers rely on past stories or events that actually happened. It takes a vast knowledge of the human experience to weave a believable tale and entertain the masses.
Take, for example, the story of Aladdin and his magic lamp from the fairy tale “Aladdin and the Magic Lamp.” Even though this story is set in ancient China, it bears a strong resemblance to “Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves” from ancient Arabia. This is because these storytellers drew their tales from the same source. They drew from simple folktales that were passed down through generations.
The folktale or oral tradition is a truly amazing part of the human experience. It takes basic concepts like love, betrayal, and revenge and turns them into compelling stories. These stories are not just told to children, but are stories told at parties or around campfires. They teach moral lessons and are still entertaining at the same time. The best part about them is that most are about situations that everyone can relate to: Problems with parents, finding a suitable mate, dealing with greed and jealousy.
So when you get right down to it, a great storyteller is someone who weaves a complex tale based on the experiences of others before them. You are an entertainer, educator and historian all rolled into one. What other professions are there that are as challenging or rewarding?
Is Story Telling a Skill?
It takes a lot of insight, knowledge, and wisdom to tell a great story. Not everyone can do it, and the few who can are worth their weight in gold. It is essential to retain knowledge of significant events in our lives. Storytelling is an ancient custom that has been passed down from generation to generation since the dawn of mankind. It is a fundamental aspect of all human societies. Think about it; someone had to come up with the idea of putting pictures on cave walls to record important events. Without this, we would not know about important events like the hunt for the wooly mammoth or when the saber-toothed tiger got stuck in the mouth of the cave.
The earliest storytellers were probably the shamans or witch doctors of tribal society. They were the ones who kept the oral history of the tribe, which is why they were held in high esteem by all. As the written word became more common, poets and bards took over the role of preservers of oral history. They traveled from town to town, village to village, recounting the crucial events that had happened everywhere else. People gathered around them in taverns and inns to hear their stories, just as we do today.
The three types of oral tradition are legend, myth, and folktale. Legends are usually about supernatural events that may or may not have actually happened in one form or another. A good example would be the “wild but true” story about the man named Jack who tricked the devil into climbing a tree and escaping from hell. Myths are stories that express the beliefs and values of a culture or society. The creation story is the best known type of fairy tale. Folktales are stories that teach a lesson or moral and usually involve talking animals, plants, or inanimate objects that convey a specific message.
The oldest example of a fairy tale comes from ancient Egypt and was called “The Tale of the Shipwrecked Sailor”. The tale was carved into a clay writing tablet and dates back to before 2400 BC! Over the years, the Egyptians became very advanced storytellers. They told stories about their gods, like Isis and Osiris, and animals, like the crocodile and the lion. Later they moved on to more familiar stories, like the fall of Troy and the adventures of Sinbad the Sailor. Many of these ancient stories have survived our modern times through retellings by scholars, storytellers, and authors.
The point is that storytelling has been practiced and evolved over millennia to its use today on social media and in a TED talk. As the craft evolved, the skills associated with it were passed on. Today, storytelling is taught and promoted in many ways around the world, including online courses that teach various aspects of the art and craft.
What Makes Some People Better Storytellers Than Others?
A great storyteller can take the stories of the past and recreate them in a form that captures the imagination of the audience. They do this by injecting their own personality into the stories and making them their own.
A great storyteller must put themselves into the story and feel what the characters are feeling. Those who are more successful have usually experienced something similar to what the characters in the story have experienced in their lives.
Storytelling is a combination of writing and acting, and because of that, some people are just naturally good at it. Storytellers adapt their stories to appeal to their audience. In this sense, storytellers and audiences become one. They will laugh and cheer in all the right places and be sad or shocked when something terrible happens in the story.
We are all storytellers to some degree, whether to our friends or family. The only difference between amateur and “professional” storytellers is that the latter develop skills over long experience or through training that further their knowledge of how the various elements of stories fit together and can be put together in a narrative.
How Do You Master Storytelling?
To master the art of storytelling, one must practice, practice, practice! It is not something that can be learned in the blink of an eye. It takes years of writing and perhaps public speaking to perfect the skill.
Many storytellers begin their careers by reading books to their family or friends. They notice which scenes and characters appeal most to their audience and focus on developing those aspects in their future stories.
Storytellers can also find inspiration by looking at paintings or drawings. It's often the overlap of ideas and shapes that provides new food for thought about a plot, character, story theme, or even its opening scene.
What Is the Difference Between a Storyteller and a Writer?
In some cases, the terms “storyteller” and “writer” may be interchangeable. Generally, however, a writer is understood to be the person who actually writes (or types) the story, while a storyteller recites or performs the story before an audience.
Yet the art and craft of storytelling is often fundamental to the success of both! It can be thought of as the “meta” that underpins excellent writing, and writing as a core skill that can greatly enhance one's abilities as a storyteller!
How to Take the Next Step With Your Storytelling Skills
I hope you enjoyed this article and found some ideas and methods you can put into action right away.
If you'd like to improve your storytelling right away, why not take The Story Course that I run? It's very popular – so far we have more than 8,000 students in 167 countries!