Wanna learn tips on how to be a masterful storyteller?
In this post, I share methods for crafting a robust and impactful story and how to use your real-life stories by considering your story's intention, timing, relatability, and structure.
Consider your intention when telling a story and recounting your life experiences. Are you simply trying to entertain? Of course, you want your story to be riveting and to dazzle your audience, but if you aren't intentional and the story doesn't have a purpose, that story won't have the impact you want. Think about what you hope to accomplish with the story. Am I telling this to help people see the effect of customer service, to help people know the value of teamwork, or to help people understand why we need to give specific appreciation to others?
Recount the intention behind storytelling and its value to team members. You can use these tips to improve your storytelling and help your team make a more significant impact. For example, I think about someone I recently called at a local company asking if their product would work. And she shared a story with me about how it worked for another customer. So, even people answering phones, sending emails, and making sales can benefit from being a better and more mindful storyteller.
When thinking about what stories to tell, look to not just your own stories but the stories of others. And don't feel like you need to create an epic story to reach your audience. It doesn't always have to be our big mistakes or wins that we're highlighting. Where can we find stories that connect to more of the ordinary day-to-day, maybe even boring life? This is really important.
I remember working with a gentleman not too long ago, and we were talking about storytelling. And he said, "You know, I'm just not a great storyteller." And I said, "What do you mean by that?" And he said, "Well, I was just at a conference where the main keynote speaker had a shark bite and was missing a limb. I don't have a story like that." And my response was, "Thank God you have all your limbs!" And I think that's where the disconnect is: we look at all these heroic feats and look at people that win or lose on a big, big level. They're major overcomers. Those stories are perfect for Hollywood and for keynote speeches. But they might not even be relatable to our own teams. And I think we miss these relatable, vulnerable stories that really connect and inspire our teams to do what we'd like them to do. Remember that the small stories count.
There is power in brevity. It can feel tempting to share a long story if it's meaningful or entertaining to you. This can be especially tempting for individuals in very high positions where they have a lot of people reporting to them, and they are speaking at staff meetings, maybe even having an all-company hands-on meeting; they still need to recognize people's attention spans will top out at a certain point.
Remember to "land the plane." Always be conscious of getting to your point so your audience stays focused and engaged in your story, whether small or big. A great rule of thumb is a 1-2 minute story. A max of two minutes will keep your audience interested and listening and let you get to your point before they lose focus.
Every story should have a point. Including conflict and resolution in your stories helps communicate meaning rather than aimlessly retelling a story with no apparent point. Think about different structures to keep your stories engaging. You can have a traditional story structure: beginning, middle, and end. Set up your story, share the conflict, and then the resolution. Or, drop right into the conflict and share the context and resolution after. The possibilities are endless! Just be mindful that your story has a direction.
Every one of us has a repository of stories, from the mundane to the extraordinary. Our stories are the mirrors that reflect our shared humanity. They are the bridges that connect us, heart to heart, soul to soul. So, speak the truth, share your experiences, and embrace the power of your own narrative. In doing so, you're not just recounting tales but inviting others into your world and creating a space for genuine connection and understanding. These stories are not just tales but tools for connection, growth, and authenticity.
Be yourself in all your flawed, triumphant, and beautifully human glory. Be real, for authenticity resonates more deeply than perfection ever could. Be human because, in the end, our shared experiences, our collective stories, bind us together in this journey of life.
𝐁𝐞 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟. 𝐁𝐞 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥. 𝐁𝐞 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧.
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