Do you remember story telling from your childhood?
Some stories are as clear in my mind as if I heard them yesterday. I can remember who was telling the story, what it was about, what the actual words were and most of all, how I felt listening to it.
And that's the power of good story telling. It lives on in the memory of the listener for years and years.
No matter how old we are we can still be captivated by a story told
well. That's why including stories as part of any speech you give will
enhance it immeasurably.
Obviously there are some guidelines to follow. It's not just any story you tell or of any length. And there are specific ways to improve your story telling.
Let's get started.
You need to know who they are,
what their likes and dislikes are, to get an idea of what you can, and
can't tell them.
The treatment or how you tell your story will vary
between audiences, just as humor does. What is funny to one group may
not be to another. It is safer to know rather than guess and risk
Storytelling without purpose will go down like the proverbial lead balloon. Tell stories that provide examples for the points you are making.
The audience will love you for it. Use your own experiences to poke a little fun at yourself. Exposing your fears, habits, or misunderstandings lets the audience identify with you. You stop being the remote expert and become one of them.
This is a true story from my youth. I've told it to students as part of preparing them for formal job interviews. It's from the what-not-to-do department. It had the effect of making them laugh, relax, and learn from my naivety.
If you go on too long, the impact is lost and you stray too far from your original purpose which was to give an effective example of a point you were making.
The rule is if it doesn't add to the story - cut it out. Too much fluff weakens the impact.
Learn it rather than read it. Good
storytelling is active and direct.
Reading will not give you immediate contact with your audience because you have to keep returning to a text. Without it, you're free to deliver one line to the man at the back, an aside to the woman at the front etc. etc.
The more practice you give
yourself the better you'll become.
Try different voices for different characters. Find where to pause, where to stress a word and where to go faster and do what you're saying.
For example, if you're talking about being happy then reflect it in your body, in your voice. Show it as well as tell it!
Remember great storytelling is active rather than passive.
For more specific information on characterization techniques click the link.
Find out if your story works before trying it out in a more public arena.
Did you know there are more effective ways than others to introduce or lead into your story?
Read about the best storytelling setups here.
I did get that job!
There's easy-to-follow help with vocal delivery here: varying your speech rate, using pauses effectively, changing pitch and tone, projection, breathing, and more.