Storytelling is one of those things that people pay a lot of lip service to. It’s also something that not everyone is good at.
Everyone’s been in that situation where they’re stuck listening to someone drone on with seemingly no respect for their listener’s time. Everyone’s also probably had the experience of listening to a master storyteller spin a yarn that makes them so engrossed in what’s happening that they forget about everything else.
We shouldn’t have to sell you on the value of storytelling, but if any freshers were needed: People’s minds are wired to remember stories. Stories allow for emotional identification, stories capture attention, and stories allow us to connect with the humanity of others. People never tire of a good story.
Being a good storyteller matters if you’re a writer, podcaster, content creator or even just own a business that wants to communicate just about anything to a consuming audience. Storytelling matters in many other areas, the applications seem endless.
Jason Fiefer, a recent guest on Bond Appetit, is someone keenly aware of the need to tell good stories. One of Jason’s podcasts ‘Problem Solvers’ is only about 15 minutes long and is architected specifically to provide good stories, and to be different from the thousands of other Q&A podcasts out there. Each episode has a tale to tell as concisely as possible.
So what are some practical ways to become more like Jason and hone your storytelling skills?
Nail The Template
Good storytelling isn’t necessarily rigid but many effective stories have a structure to them and getting comfortable with the template will help you. The format goes like this: interesting setup > relevant development (that doesn’t drag on forever) > compelling resolution. These are the stages that make up a good story.
Fill In The Right Information
What information is ‘right’ to include in a story? You’ll only know this by asking the right questions. Who are the characters? What do they want or what is their problem? What’s stopping them from getting it? These questions hit the human and emotion-centric aspects of the story.
Add Suspense Or Humor
No one likes a bland story and while humor can be challenging (not everyone naturally has it), you can almost always add suspense. If you’ve hooked people with your setup and then made it uncertain how things will turn out people will want to stay tuned until the end.
Give Relatable Examples
If you’re telling the story of a company and just drop a bunch of numbers and dry anecdotes on people you’ll lose them. But weave a story about the founder’s struggle to get initial funding and how he/she got over the hump and you’ll end up with a richer story.
We may not all be ‘natural born’ storytellers but that doesn’t mean we all can’t improve. Take these tips to heart next time you think about storytelling and see how they work for you.
Author: Ronsley Vaz
Ronsley is the founder & chief day dreamer at AMPLIFY. He is an author, speaker & serial entrepreneur.
He has a Masters’ degree in Software Engineering and an MBA in Psychology and Leadership. He is known as the creator of We Are Podcast – the first Podcasting Conference in the Southern Hemisphere, and the host of The Bond Appetit Podcast and Should I Start a Podcast. He has an audience of over 3 million in 133 countries.