How to be a better communicator through storytelling

Have you ever heard the technique of storytelling in becoming a more confident speaker? I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but we are all storytellers. We remember stories better than facts and we connect best when we share stories.

Telling a story when you communicate, in English or in any other language, is a great way for you get your message across to your listener. It can also help build confidence in speaking as you practice telling stories and see your listeners engaged with you.

Here are a few ways that you can start telling stories when you speak to be a better communicator.

1. Keep a log of stories.

Whenever you experience or read something interesting, keep note of it. You could either write it down or keep a mental note of it. Take note of what you learned from the story and how it would be relevant to your listeners.

2. Practice telling stories.

This could be to your spouse (in the car, your husband can’t run away from listening to your stories!), to your children or to your close friends. When you do this often, you will notice the impact a story has on them and you will eventually enjoy seeing their reaction to what the story brings. Practicing often will also make you a better storyteller.

3. Insert stories in your presentations.

When we present to a group or in meetings, we tend to get straight to the point. Which is good (people generally want to get out of meetings as fast as they can), but if we want to influence people and get them on board with our plans, we will need to create an emotional connection with them. And that is through stories.

There’s a quote by Maya Angelou which goes like this:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Now you don’t need to add a story for every single presentation that you do. But for the most important points where you need your audience to be convinced of what you are presenting, try to insert a relevant story to get them engaged with you. Your examples could be in the form of stories.

4. Your stories don’t need to be long, but it should have a beginning, middle and end.

Before you share any stories, make sure the story is relevant to the situation. You’ll also need to have a beginning, middle and end. This is where practicing with your friends and family comes in handy. If there’s no proper ending, your spouse or kids will probably say, “So what’s the moral of the story?”

According to Kristi Hedges in her Forbes article, How to Tell a Good Story, a good story isn’t complicated–it’s actually quite simple. She advises putting stories into a structure that has the following:

 

  • Clear moral or purpose – there’s a reason why you’re telling this story, to this audience, at this time
  • Personal connection – the story involves either you, or someone you feel connected to
  • Common reference points – the audience understands the context and situation of the story
  • Detailed characters and imagery – have enough visual description that we can see what you’re seeing
  • Conflict, vulnerability, or achievement we can relate to – similar to point #4, show us the challenges
  • Pacing – there’s a clear beginning, ending, and segue way back to the topic

 

So there you have it. A few tips on how you can become a more confident speaker through storytelling. Try them out and tell us how it goes.

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