Do you want to be a storyteller?
It is not as difficult as you might think. Telling a memory-building story can help people remember what they learned, which will make them more likely to seek you out in the future.
Today, I’m going to share about 7 keys that will help you tell a memorable story.
Key One: Engage your memory.
When you want to tell a story, the first thing to do is remember what happened and try not to forget any important details. The polish and shine of a story comes from the details.
You can begin by asking yourself the following questions:
- What time did it happen?
- Where was I when it happened?
- What were my thoughts at that moment?
- Who else was with me?
- Can I remember what we were wearing or any details surrounding the event?
Once you’ve grappled with these items, consider which will help build or strengthen the story for others.
When I share a few stories about my dad’s life as a cop, the details raise the audience’s curiosity and bring life to the story. The details help the listeners live vicariously through your story.
Key Two: Be specific.
Once you’ve remembered everything, be as detailed as possible. This will help people who are listening to your story better understand and visualize each memory. It is also a good idea to include sensory descriptions that connect with people on an emotional level.
To salt these into your story at the right time, you’ll need to prepare by thinking about the following:
- What were the smells?
- What types of sounds were present?
- What did you see?
- How does it feel to recall that memory again?
Be careful to not use too many descriptors as it will slow down your story. Instead, use just enough to help the audience experience the moment as if they are reliving it with you moment by moment.
Key Three: Stick with a single idea.
Avoid jumping around, as this will make your story hard for people to follow. It’s too easy to lose interest in what you have to say if they can’t follow you. Be sure each memory relates in some way to the overall story you are trying to tell.
Some may not seem related on the surface, so make sure there is a point when your reason for sharing it comes clear.
When sculpting the information consider the following:
What is one memory that connects with another memory?
Can I find a common theme or thread between my memories?
Make sure you drop those portions of memories that you like, but aren’t associated with the point you’re trying to make. Or, your audience will become confused.
Key Four: Keep it personal.
Storytelling is all about connecting with the audience and being vulnerable. This means you should share your memory as if it was happening in real time, not just describe what happened.
Once people feel like they are a part of your story, they will be more willing to listen for longer periods of time. Your audience will stay connected to see how the memory ends.
Consider some of the following to determine the level of authenticity you can bring to your story:
- What was my reaction at the time when the memory was created?
- What did I think would happen next?
- How does it feel to remember that memory so long after the event?
- Do I have a completely different perspective about what happened in the memory?
When we look at memories from through retrospect, our growth from the circumstance can alter our perception. Many times, these new insights can help us set up our story for greater impact.
Key Five: Use an element of surprise.
When telling your story, you want people to be surprised by what you say. If your memory is not interesting, be sure to mention something that people might not have been expecting.
Or, find a way to express the memory using elements of surprise or twists within the story. These elements will your audience interested and listening.
Here are some ideas to contemplate when structuring your surprise elements:
- Why did I do the thing that made me so angry?
- What could’ve happened if this memory didn’t happen?
The key is to interrupt the standard thought process to reengage any audience members who are drifting from your story.
Key Six: Make it visual.
When telling a memory, be sure to mention the sights and sounds that were present in your memory from when you experienced them originally. This will help people who are listening visualize what happened better than describing it with words alone.
You can ask yourself the following:
- What colors did I see?
- What shapes or patterns did I see?
- What did the memory sound like?
- What was the temperature of my memory when I experienced it originally?
Today’s society is more visually aware than previous generations. Finding a way to help the audience visualize your story will strengthen their engagement.
Key Seven: Use emotion.
When telling a story, you want to be able to connect with people on an emotional level. If your memory is not interesting enough or does not have an element of surprise, you can always make it more emotional.
This will help people be able to remember your story, and they may even share their own memory that is similar in some way to yours.
To capture the essence of those feelings, consider asking yourself the following:
- How did I feel after the memory?
- How does it feel now when I think back on this memory again after so long?
People will rarely remember the facts and figures you describe. They may even forget the stories you share. But, they will always remember how you made them feel while sharing your story.
Make Your Story Memorable
Your story must have a specific time, location, and characters involved. The story must relate the characters choices and actions. Describe those actions as if it were a plot that unravels as you tell it, putting the audience into an experience or journey.
Make sure it is an emotional story that makes them laugh or cry. Give them a character worth cheering for. And then make sure to take the story in a direction they never saw coming.
These are the key elements worth exploring. Take time to dive into your next memory and find a great story worth sculpting for your audience. Make it entertaining and applicable to your message so they remember you for months to come.
Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers