Using the Story

  •  Entertainment is the key in storytelling. Let the story entertain, and the persuasive and informative elements will be remembered, too.
  •  If you want your speech to be remembered– use story. You remembered ‘The Three Bears,’ and ‘Jack and the Beanstalk,’ from your earliest days, didn’t you?
  •  In Public Speaking, nothing is more effective in arousing emotions than story.
  •  Use your stories to ‘make the point.’ If the story’s point is made strongly enough,statistics, data, and facts are almost superfluous.
  •  Remember, stories told at ‘first hand’ are those which are granted most credibility. So tell stories from your personal experience wherever you can.
  •  The ‘Nostalgia Factor.’ Use those stories in which your audience has a shared experience wherever you can. For example, if your audience has lived through World War Two, tell them a story from that era. If they’re teenagers, tell them a story from your teenage years. Empathy is the key.
  •  To create instant drama use short (e.g. no more than eight or nine words) punchy sentences. But don’t keep this up for too long, for it will lose its effect.
  •  It is said that a speaker has to capture the attention of the audience within first ninety seconds and if he or she fails to do so it’s a very uphill battle from thereon. With story, even if you only say, “Once upon a time, a long time ago…” you’ve got your listener’s hooked. So start with a story wherever you can.
  •  Develop Story Language. Read fiction, descriptive short stories, novels, and poetry to add colourful, emotive words to your everyday vocabulary.
  •  Don’t use a story unless it has personal appeal to you. If it grabs you, moves you then, told well, it will grab and move your audience.
  •  In Story your visual aid is yourself. Don’t break your audience’s inner picturing by showing them something physical. Let their mind’s do the interpretation from your words. Also, the less inhibited you are, the more easily you will fall into natural gesture and movement. Don’t strive for effect. Let it happen.
  •  As in a joke’s punch line, the end of a story should bring it to its conclusion. No explanations are needed. The story should stand by itself. If the very last sentence can complete it- good If the final word does it -excellent! Further embellishment is not needed.
    •  In storytelling as in golf- if you want to get good it – practise, practise, practise!

– Tom Ware ATM-G
Australian Storytellers’ Guild (NSW) Inc. Accredited Professional

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