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What is the best way to keep someone engaged? Tell them a story! Yes, be it little kids or fully grown adults, everybody loves to hear stories. Storytelling, as the name suggests, is all about telling stories. Stories are enjoyable and easy to remember.
Good storytelling depends so much on how you communicate it. You can have the best idea in your mind, yet it would fail to impress the listeners if you don’t convey it well.
Even if you use a writing software it won’t help you much in telling a story. That’s up to to you, isn’t it? There are several factors one needs to consider in the process of storytelling. In this article, I have talked about ten highly useful techniques that can improve your storytelling skills. Read them below!
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1. Have a core message in your story
When you are crafting a story, it is very important to have a core message – the final take away from it. It gives direction to your writing as per which your story progresses.
You should know where you are taking the readers and what you wish to convey through your story.
If it is a motivational story, you need to guide the readers in a way that they feel inspired. Whereas if you are writing a funny plot, you need to include some twists and turns that bring excitement and thrill to your story.
It is crucial to have a central message because it gives meaning to your story and makes it engaging.
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2. Give it a proper structure
There is a reason why storytelling is not everybody’s cup of tea. It is very different from other kinds of writing. In storytelling, one essential thing is how you unfold and present the story to your audience.
In simple words, your story must have a logical structure. Avoid anything that may confuse the readers. There should be a proper sequence so that they can follow the story with ease.
The opening paragraph should be interesting enough to generate curiosity amongst the readers, compelling them to read further. Structure, thus, acts as a guide for your writing.
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3. Show, don’t describe
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One must remember that the key to engaging storytelling is to make it visual rather than descriptive. What I mean by that is – don’t tell, but show!
You need to present your story in a way that gives them an idea about what you are trying to put across without direct mention of it.
To make it appealing to the audience, you must make them visualize the story. That is how fiction writing works. Non-fiction writing is descriptive, while fiction emphasizes imagination and inference.
For example- In storytelling, if you want to convey a specific trait of a character, instead of speaking about it, create a situation to suggest the same. That makes it more exciting and engaging for the readers.
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4. Introduce Conflict
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Do you know what makes humans different from all other species? We have much higher intelligence. Our brains have multiple dimensions; we like to solve stuff. When presented with a problem, we like to find answers to it.
You can make use of this fact in storytelling as well. If you keep it too plain and direct, the listener is likely to lose interest.
To invoke curiosity in the reader’s mind, begin your story with a question or a tricky situation. That will make him ponder; he would be interested to know more about it. A dash of conflict is necessary to add extra spice to your story.
5. Use vivid details
Have you ever noticed that one common trait in all exceptional writers? Their stories have several little details. Adding vivid details can make a considerable difference to your story.
When you are telling a story, you are transporting the listeners to a completely different world. To make them immerse in it, you should use specific details, like colors, smell, sound, touch, etc.
This type of information will stimulate their sense organs – they will be hooked by it in no time. Details will allow them to picture the story in their minds; hence, they will connect better.
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6. Make it Relatable
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People are likely to have a higher interest in something that they find relatable. If the listeners can resonate with your story, there’s nothing like it. It is so because humans, in general, are more receptive to ideas or things that they already believe in.
A lot of books become bestsellers solely because of the relativity factor. You will notice that books based on the themes of optimism, courage, confidence, etc. have a higher success rate.
This is because such content is highly relatable and attracts the masses. So, even when you tell a story of your own, make an effort to include something to which the audience, in general, can relate.
7. Avoid irrelevant details
Details are essential to make an engaging story; however, it is advisable not to add too many facts. There is no point in stuffing your content with unnecessary information. Only add details where they make sense.
Avoid introducing characters that serve no definite purpose in the story. Your goal should be to keep the readers engaged and not tire them with irrelevant details.
Do not add anything that does not add value to the story. Choose what to talk about and what-not, keeping in mind the interest of the audience.
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8. Share personal stories
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It makes a far greater impact when you share personal experiences through your story. This is one legit reason why autobiographies appeal to the masses.
When you talk about your challenges and how you dealt with them, listeners are drawn more towards your story. They listen with greater intent and enthusiasm. Personalization adds a unique flavor to your story.
9. Shorter, Concise, and Simple
In today’s fast-moving world, nobody wants to be flooded with information. Due to busy lifestyles and shorter attention span, people have little time and patience for things, such as reading.
An average person would not prefer reading lengthy articles. So, it is best to keep your story short and concise. Do not waste your words; keep it simple.
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10. Observe other storytellers
It is said that the best way to learn something is through observation. Think of a toddler – how he/she learns to speak, walk, eat and perform other activities. It is simply by observing others and mimicking them.
The same philosophy applies to Storytelling as well. When you observe other storytellers, you get to know different ways, techniques, and styles of communicating. You can take ideas from other storytellers and develop your style.
Storytelling is the art of communicating through a story. You can make even the most tedious subjects interesting if you explain them in a story form.
Stories are captivating; they build your imagination and allow you to experience a whole new world. They are now used everywhere; from schools to management institutions to workplaces.
If you wish to become a superb storyteller, you must brush up on your skills! Try the 10 techniques mentioned in this article and see the difference.