Today we are going to talk about the art of storytelling. Whether you like it or not, a well-told study can open many doors, win millions of hearts and create phenomena never seen before. For you, as a student, mastering the storytelling skill is crucial for both your academic writing and presentations. So today, let us share some advice from the position of a professional storyteller. These pieces of advice might be useful regardless of the area of expertise.
How to Be a Good Storyteller?
There are thousands of books on essay writing, public speaking and presenting the ideas. However, they rarely teach you how to tell the story, so it is moving, intriguing and selling at the same time. So let us tell you how to improve storytelling skills, or at least make your stories less boring. First, you need to learn basic criteria for a good story and learn how to make your story believable and appealing
Part I: Where to Begin?
If you are looking for some advice on the storytelling (either for your essay or as a part of your writing routine), PrimeEssays.com has prepared this section to help you get through the first part of the journey. The art of storytelling is based on the following simple principles:
- Keep things short
Depending on the situation and circumstances, you are most likely to have 3 to 5 minutes to tell your story. Remember, that every story has to have the setup (how the story began), the conflict (or the problem behind it), and the resolution that brings help. Everything else has to be put into a separate story.
- Don't focus on the details too much
If you have forgotten something that is virtually meaningless to the story, do not let yourself go all the way back to recollect it. Neither should you make your listeners answer the question before you tell the story.
- Tell one story at a time
The worst nightmare of a storytelling pro is the phrase 'actually, this reminds me of…' You have to learn to tell one story at a time. None will appreciate spending an hour listening to half-told stories, because you simply cannot focus.
- Don't wait for the reaction
Some people believe that the stories they have to share are doomed to cause an immediate verbal response through the telling process so they make dramatic pauses, waiting for their listeners to interact. Don't do that. If you need a pause, make it short and simple, but don't look in the eyes of your listeners as a needy and hungry puppy.
- Keep it one piece
Learn to tell your story in such a way that your listeners won't have to wait for the next 'episode' (as your story is not the Supernatural TV shows on the endless stories of 1000 and 1 night. Learn to focus on one plot, walking the listeners throughout the story. And, what is more important, focus on the final part.
- Make a great ending
Before you begin telling a story, you need to remember that listeners are expecting a good end, as well as proper understanding why they have spent their time listening to you. If you want your audience to like you and appreciate the time devoted to the story, you need to bring up one of these:
- twist. If the expected result of the story is XX, you need to explain why YY is the outcome. However, make it logical and cohesive to the whole story.
- lesson learned. If your story suggests some personal experience, let the listeners know the hard way you came to learn XX.
- comeuppance. Such stories tell why you should not have done XX.
If you are preparing a story for a business presentation, you may refer to 'clients' insights' as a part of your presentation in order to convince the listeners that the product you are offering can solve their problems.
Part II: Make It Better
As a part of improving your storytelling, make sure you learn to sort the stories you want to share. Learn to captivate your audience, make them want more and appreciate the stories you tell.
- Watch the reactions
If you are telling a story, try to define the type of listener in front of you. Some of them will be agitated through the whole story regardless of the time or format, whereas others will be interested in just 2 or 3 minutes. Adjust your timing depending on your audience. Moreover, if you see from verbal and non-verbal signs that your listeners are not interested, it's better to wrap up.
- Maintain velocity
As in any race, the secret to success is to maintain a certain speed; however, you should know the turns and speed limit you can afford. The same principle applies here. You need to figure out when and how to accelerate the speed and when to slow down.
- Stick with the comedy rather than tragedy
Unless you are a professional actor and storyteller able to pull out any concept, storyline or description of events, it is safer to stick with comic style rather than tragic. And for most listeners, a pinch of humor in any story makes it easier to remember and appreciate.
- Don't tell someone else's story
It is better not to tell the story from someone else's point of view if you were not a witness. What's even worse? Tell an old tale with no modern twist to it.
- Avoid death and tragic events
Most people don't like to talk and listen about the tragic events, especially those related to trauma and death. So unless you are participating in a gallows humor stand-up, save such stories for yourself.
- Don't make yourself a hero
Don't put a 'hero' tag on yourself. Never. We are serious! This is one of the worst ways to make people hate you. If you are telling the story about something heroic you did, let the people judge you and make the conclusion.
- Add an honest detail
Among all the storytelling ideas shared on the Internet, there is one that can make your story more believable. Some people say that sharing an embarrassing detail about your life (which is related to the story) makes people more likely to believe and feel sympathy.
So as you can see, a good conversation story is a well-balanced mix of facts, perfect timing and details. Share this post with your friends to help them tell better stories!