The Art of Telling Your Story

Storytelling an Ancient Art
Ancient Art of Storytelling

As humans we are mentally wired to learn concepts and ideas through stories. Ever since the dawn of man, people passed along information and interrelated with each other by way of storytelling. Tribal orators would delight their listeners while passing along ideas, lessons, revelations, epiphanies, and cultural values, all dramatically wrapped within a tale that held meaning in the minds of many a wide eyed gatherer around the community bonfires. Many a tale has even woven their way into the laws, social morays, and beliefs we see in most societies in existence day.

Build a Narrative Around the Data

No matter how raw, linear or formal your research notes may appear, you should structure some kind of thematic narrative around this data unraveling its contents to your audience in a logical sequence of events that takes the listener along for the ride.

Example: Using The Popular Three Act Structure:

  • Start with an Opening that may state a rhetorical question or poses the set-up to a given situation conveying to your audience the Who, What, and Where of your subject; (the Why is what will later unfold.)

  • Within the Middle or Body deliver at least 3 - 5 key points embedded within a sequence of events that tells the story pushing everything forward toward a conclusion. Throw in a few personal accounts, experiences, related anecdotes, metaphors and analogies that your audience could relate with to make your delivery more conversational.

  • Explain each experience and personal account using sensory details: (sights, sounds, smells, touch, and taste) to build vivid images within their minds involving the audience as eye witnesses to the account as it unfolds before their ears.

  • Then top everything-off with a touching, memorable or thought provoking Close, (interject the Why her if you so desire.)

Telling your speech in this format brings everything to life for your audience while giving you the added benefits of making it easy to remember while also allowing you the opportunity to convey your subject in a more conversational manner.

Here is a little secret used by most professional writer’s when forging their outlines: When crafting your speech start with what you want people to visualize or reflect on at the end (first,) then jump back to the beginning and fill in the story making each event roll into the next until you reach your (pre-constructed) conclusion at the end.

Find out more about the art of storytelling from my book: "Artistry In Public Speaking."

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