RE:FRAMED: How to Tell a Story

Stories transport us to a different world. We’re able to live through the characters, feel their emotions, the environment, the mood. Stories create connections not only in the person but between people and makes a common foothold to where people can engage and discuss. No one doubts the legacy of stories or their importance yet most would not even consider telling stories or those that do don’t think of themselves as good storytellers. There’s a few reasons I’ve been able to see.

  • difficulty gauging what details to include
  • retaining listeners’ attention
  • No good stories
  • going off topic

There’s so many great benefits to stories yet so few can utilize it and manipulate them to make a favorable impact. Stories form the foundations of cultures, religions, and most importantly people. These people are able to assimilate with each other by learning from other people’s stories. We understand that every story has something to be learned from whether it be a moral or an explanation. They offer guidance in our lives that we follow even unconsciously. Storytelling captures events and immortalizes it which certainly was a motive in the early times with bards and oral traditions.  The most important aspect of stories is the ability to entertain. A story that fails to entertain and capture one’s imagination is one that ultimately becomes another lecture. Stories are a way of giving information to others that truly allows them to remember. This is what makes stories so important and why effective storytelling is such an art. How do you unlock the hidden potential?

1. Practice!
Often the best stories we hear are the ones that the ones telling it have told many times before. Contrary to popular belief, great storytellers are not black magicians that are able to whip up a story with a flick of their brain. The best stories are the best because they’ve gotten better with each telling. This is how to get rid of the “gauging details” point. You can add or remove details and your brain automatically remembers which ones to use after a session based on the reactions you get.

2. Remember key events.
Having a key event is important to crafting stories for it. People are much more able to remember the moral of the story or the meaning behind it. Make sure that it engages your audience as well and creates a connection that relates them to it.

3. Physically act.
Don’t try too hard to sound like you’re angry or sad and instead let the audience feel it through the words. You’re not an actor anyway. However, varying the speed and tempo of your voice keeps the story alive. Always moving is the key and this applies to the body as well. Your face has more than two emotions and it’s time to start using them. Controlling the face has a great impact on the quality of the story and the ability of the audience to feel it. Hands should be moving and active. They create a sense of urgency, passion, and emotion. Employ them to control the room, control the story, and capture the audience. Don’t go overboard and exaggerate the motions. That takes the atmosphere away and all the hard work would be gone.

Stories can always be applied to every day life and a boring lecture could be transformed into story time for people. At the end of the day, the same information is being presented although in a much nicer and memorable way. Stories are shared around and you’ll be able to make an impact on someone much better than you could with just numbers and data. That’s why when we’re learning history we just glance over death toll and years, but we’re never taken to the events to experience. Stories are to inform and entertain and I’ll tell you that reading Night and Uncle Tom’s Cabin has made a far greater impact than the history I’ve learned.

Share a story and maybe you’ll get one shared back.

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