Let me share with you a few simple storytelling tips to make your presentations stronger. While these ideas are probably not brand new to you, I hope that this list might make you think a bit about your approach to oral storytelling.
Do Just a Little More Research
From personal stories to world-tales, there is almost always that "one more" detail or interpretation that can add more depth to your story. As a practitioner of oral storytelling, youíll be a better teller when you use a variety of sources to make your story more thorough. As you craft a personal tale, ask that friend for their insights into the tale that is part of your shared history. With world-tales, there is is almost always another variant of any tale you might encounter.
Take That Extra Practice Moment
Before you take the stage, stand up in the boardroom or call students to attention, take that extra moment to run through the events of your story. What happens from part A to part B to part C and onward? Use your time in the car as you travel to a gig or meeting to speak your story out loud to yourself. Give yourself an extra practice.
Embrace the Microphone
Yes, you need a microphone. Respect your audience, no matter how well you think you can be heard. You donít have their ears, their distractions, their hidden limitations. Use a microphone for any groups larger than 10 people or so. Focus on the needs of the audience in the location in which you are speaking. I can also spot the presenter who thinks that they are an "artiste" with too much ego, who will only speak unfettered by something so, ugg, common like technology. Boo! Trade your ego for volume and clarity, artiste. I had to learn this truth myself. Read more on this in this article by Kathy Jessup.
Plan More Gestures
Decide ahead of time on some specific gestures that you will use in your story. A few intentional and well-placed gestures can enhance your ability to co-create the image of the story with your audience. Here is a short video about this subject at YouTube.
What does the flow of your story feel like? Are you rushing through every detail? Does your audience need time to catch up? Can they see their own images as you speak them? Does your corporate audience understand the customer you are describing? On the other hand, you might need to pause less. Does your audience shift around? Do they look too often at the clock or their phones? Have you artificially slowed down your storytelling to stretch out a story to fill time? If you are stretching a story out for too long, maybe you should be adding more stories to your repertoire?
Get Coaching from a Pro or Feedback from a Really Honest Friend
Connected to the ideas of "pausing, the value of objective feedback to your presentations, storytelling, leadership and communication skills cannot be overstated. Invest in experienced coaching that not only affirms your good skills but also challenges you to move into new approaches. When that is not available, then work with a very honest friend who has no worries in telling you what they love about your speaking as well as what really leaves them scratching their head.
These are six small storytelling techniques that can make a difference in how effective and entertaining your storytelling can be. You can get more tips in my book at this link. If you would like to know about how to be a storyteller, then take a look at this project filled with good advice from storytellers from all over the world.
Sean Buvala is (his weekly private newsletter is here) the executive director of Storyteller.net. Heís a publisher, author, trainer and a coach. For more information on working with him from trainings to keynotes, please see his website at seantells.com. Find his books at this Amazon link here.