Five tips to become an excellent storyteller!

By Adela Belin/ Stories are the most primitive and effective way to pass on information.

They work as a catalyst for emotion, thereby, inducing action. Whether it be a presentation to be delivered to sell a product or an idea, or a TED Talk, successful professionals have used stories to make their speech engaging and persuasive. Stories are also used as an essential tool for branding. Think about all those advertisements, where they mention the product only at the end of the ad – once the story is over! This makes one wonder- How do you tell a good story? The answer to this question is rather complex. There are many facets to telling a great story, and only if all those ingredients come together as a coherent whole, can a good story be told.

Here, we share with you the five tips to become an excellent storyteller.

1. Have a conflict

Conflict is like the nucleus of any good story. In fact, without a conflict, there is no story. Establish a conflict at the primal stages of your story and resolve it in conclusion. For example, let's say you are giving a talk about how you built your own successful startup. At the start of the story(or what the screenwriters refer to as the ‘first act’) establish a clear conflict. Let’s assume it’s your struggle for funding. From here on, the story will become about your struggle to get funding for your dream business. How you got the funding is your story. Stay with this conflict throughout the whole talk without deviating to different tangents. Conclude your talk by resolving the conflict that is, the emotions associated with your success in getting those funds. The conflict helps in engaging the audience with your story. The resolution gives a sense of satisfaction after the talk is over.

2. Show. Don’t tell

Take examples of your favorite books, TV shows, articles or movies. The one thing you will find common in all of them is their visual nature. Even if the medium is verbal or textual, a good story is where the teller paints a picture, rather than just providing facts or information. Feed your audience with visual details that make them imagine the narrative. A visual cue helps the audience retain information much longer than bland facts. The show, don’t tell is recognized as a rule of thumb for storytelling across formats. Incorporate this rule in your talks or presentations to deliver an outstanding narrative.

3. Make it emotional

Emotion breaks the barrier of culture and background of people because of its universality. Even if you are giving a specific talk in front of a generic audience, the emotional tone will help them resonate with your topic. It is the best way to get the point across to a mass audience. People will easily relate to your sadness for a huge business loss or excitement for a new prospect. By making your story emotional, you let the audience step into your shoes and experience what you felt. Don’t hesitate in expressing your vulnerabilities and follies as it strikes deep with your targeted audience.

4. Make it simple and honest

True art lies in simplicity and honesty. It is rather easy to sugarcoat your story with plot convolutions. Striking simplicity is the more difficult task. Make your story simplistic without being banal. And most importantly, be honest about it, both to yourself and to the audience. There is nothing more off-putting than a pretentious storyteller. To cater to a mass audience, both these characteristics are essential.

5. Reflect your own personality

Just like you would do with your brand or product, your story has to be a reflection of your personality. Don’t follow the bandwagon of formulaic techniques used by other storytellers. Find your voice, and create your unique style. For example, if you’re inherently a funny person, reflect it in your stories. You would be surprised at how receptive audiences actually are if you provide them with a well told, honest and personal story.

to sum up, it is a scientifically proven fact that our brains are far more engaged by stories than by hard facts. Audiences crave for good storytellers, and it is a powerful tool for marketers to have. You can vouch for these tips to tell an exceptional story, thereby, selling you desired brand, product or idea.


Adela Belin is a private educator and a writer at Writers Per Hour. She shares her teaching experience with colleagues, students, and writers. Feel free to contact Adela on G+.

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