Storytelling Tips- 9 Tips for Better Storytelling Today
By: Sean Buvala
If you want to be a better speaker, then develop some good storytelling techniques. There are many ways to express a story, but storytelling is a one-time experience shared between the listener and the storyteller. Storytelling is created anew every time you speak. I’ve listed nine storytelling tips for you to think about whenever you want to create a storytelling experience.
1. You need to tell stories that you like.
Choose a story you like when telling for kids at the library, for a sacred setting or to leaders of business or nonprofit groups. There will be many stories for any situation you are in. Choose a story that you can understand and enjoy.
2. Take the time to prepare.
Take the time to learn how to tell a story. Don’t just dive into telling a story you have heard only once. Break the story into parts. Practice with a recording device and a gentle-yet-truthful friend who can hear your first attempts.
3. Do not hesitate to remove the slow parts of your story.
It’s not unusual for first-time storytellers to try to tell every piece of a story. Storytelling occurs in the moment so not every detail has to be included each time. Ask yourself, “Do I need to tell this piece of the story this time? Is it critical?”
4. Use a strong and confident voice.
Being prepared will make you confident. Speak with clarity and confidence. Enunciate and project your voice towards the listeners.
5. Use good pacing.
When you are confident, you will not be in a hurry. You want to speak slow enough so that the story is easily absorbed by the audience but do not speak so slowly that their minds check out of the room.
6. Do not pass on the microphone.
In almost all cases, you will need to use a microphone. This is respectful to your audience. The most seasoned speaker might get away without a microphone for groups under 25 folks. Beginners, use the mic unless you are speaking to a few folks at a luncheon round-table event.
7. Use eye-contact with your listeners.
Your eye contact is a gift to the listener. It always amazes me how a fleeting moment of eye contact can make an audience member come to me and say, “I felt like you were talking to me personally.”
8. Make your gestures easy and calm.
“You looked so confident up there. I never know what to do with my hands.” When people say this to me, I am thankful that I took the time to prepare which gestures I would use and when I would use them. Your gestures should be natural and relaxed. Take the time to decide these ahead of time.
9. Avoid the “moral of the story” finishes.
Stories teach. Storytelling is a most effective way to teach with story. Let the story speak to the audience in its own way and skip the need to tell them what to think. If you must do the “moral” of a story, ask your audience first to tell you what they think. Their answers might teach you.
I’ve shared 9 storytelling tips to help you create a story with good storytelling. If you are an experienced speaker, choose one of these tips to help you be a better public speaker. If you are new to speaking, just concentrate on areas that you need some fine-tuning.
Sean Buvala is the director of Storyteller.net and has been teaching and presenting oral storytelling since 1986.