Some people are natural storytellers. It is like breathing. They draw you in and you are with them until the very end of the telling. Some people are really good at this. Others are not. But, that shouldn’t stop you from telling a story worth hearing. Especially if it is one that you have lived.
The trick is knowing which details to include and which to omit. If you watch the best storytellers, they don’t bombard you with meaningless or trivial details. Every reference they make, every word of the story is driving to the climax and resolution. There is very little useless filler. Very little rabbit chasing (which I, unfortunately, am prone to from time to time!).
How is this accomplished? Here are a few ways to prepare your story for the telling:
1. List out the important details of the story on paper. (If it is a story worth telling more than once, you might as well write it down and solidify it in your mind.)
2. Keep it fairly short. Take enough time to include all of the important details, but remember that the average attention span is not so….hey look! Theres a squirrel. You get my point. We have all sat in on a person recounting a story that should have lasted 2 minutes and lasted 20. Don’t do that.
3. Even though the story might be about you, invite your listeners in and make it feel like they were a part of it as well. Ask questions about the emotions involved in the story. Engage them in the telling. Make it a group experience and not just a way for you to show off.
While storytelling doesn’t come naturally to some, it is something that can be learned. We all have experiences that are worth the telling. Yes. It is true. You have a story worth telling. With a little bit of practice you can learn to tell it well and people will benefit from it.