Master storytelling, even if it doesn’t come naturally

By Kendall Martin

The ability to influence, entertain and engage an audience is about telling a good story. But the story alone won’t keep the attention of your listeners. The way you tell the story dictates the affect you will have on them.

Most people aren’t born storytellers. Learning how to present a story, build a timeline or choose the right hook and sinker are skills best practiced to perfection. Use these tactics to improve your next story:

  • Focus on the beginning and the end. As with any presentation, it is in the opening and closing that you have the ability to capture an audience and make an impact. Pay attention to the direction you present when starting your story, and be sure to end with a bang.  Your story should have either a conflict resolved, a hero emerged, a dose of good humor or a strong message.
  • Keep it short. Eliminate any unnecessary details and stick to an outline. If it doesn’t serve a purpose in relaying the story, it is better left out.
  • Know your audience. Just because you have an excellent story to tell doesn’t mean it will be relevant for your current audience or well-suited for the occasion.
  • Research. You may have a great story but not be fully equipped to deliver it to your next audience. Watch great storytellers in action and take note of the tactics you can adapt for your own presentation.

What are your tips for telling a great story?

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4 responses to “Master storytelling, even if it doesn’t come naturally

  1. Pingback: 7 lessons presenters can learn from storytellers | make a powerful point

  2. Excellent suggestions, Kendall!

    Add:
    Practice – Practice – Practice

    Record yourself.

    Repeat the above.

  3. Thanks, Kendall Martin and Fred E Miller for the wonderful suggestions. Having a backup medium for delivering your speech in case technology fails is always a meaningful display of long-term thinking. The second addition is to demonstrate conviction by having “comfortable” eye contact with each member of the audience. Folks like to feel like your message is just for “them.” Eye contact helps audience members open-up to you and your message. – Denise Doe-Chew

  4. Pingback: Seize and hold your audience’s attention | American Speaker

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