7-Keys to Develop Story from Memories

building stories based on memories

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

My LIVE Streaming Journey Entry #1

I launched my first solo LIVE streaming show yesterday on YouTube. It took a great deal of emotional and mental effort to prepare for the launch. Thankfully, when I looked into the camera lens, I had an encouraging friend who came along side of me.

She wasn’t physically present, but was there digitally. The joy that flooded my soul was amazing. Knowing someone was there to support me in this virtual world made my day.

Soon after, five or six additional friends joined in the comments. I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling. I received the love being shared. Their encouraging words changed me.

You see, they were all live streamers that understood how exposed we feel during a live show. The medium requires transparency and authenticity. There is no hiding behind anything.

Forced Behind the Scenes

I’ve been partially hidden as a behind the scenes person for the majority of my life. Part of the reason was due to several incidents that kept me from being in the limelight. The first one was my fat.

I’ll never forget sixth grade. I had to wear pants that were labeled husky, while my friends wore slims. This was at a time in my life when family and relatives referred to me as being thick.

The ultimate embarrassment came during the sixth-grade play performed for the entire school. We did a second show in the evening for parents.

Due to my drumming skills, I was in the Hawaiian dance scene. That’s right, I was shirtless. My blubber was exposed for all to see.

The dance was a historical one where bamboo poles are lined with razor like blades. I held two poles in my hand with the other ends held by a partner. We would tap out a rhythmic pattern by tapping the stage floor or the poles together in time to the music.

The dancers had to step between the moving poles without getting cut by the blades. If they got out of step or landed funny after their cartwheels, they could receive deep cuts in their legs or arms. Of course, this was just a play. The guy who botched up was carried away for the sake of drama, not injury.

There was a problem for me with being bent over and tapping the poles in a rhythmic pattern. My blubber hung down making me look even fatter than I was.

My hope was in the dancers doing so well that no one would notice me next to the volcano backdrop. The fake palm tree shaded me from some of the bright lights. I positioned myself to be as invisible as possible.

Ridicule and Rejection

After the performance I hoped no one recognized me. I wasn’t in the mood to field fat jokes or husky comments from the nicer people. I didn’t want to face the ridicule or rejection that might follow the show.

During my live streaming show, flashbacks from the volcano dance shot into my mind. I was exposed. I was baring my soul in front of 19 people (and hundreds during playback).

While a few dropped from the show, most stayed and shared encouraging words with me. Some were inspirational, others motivational, but all were kind and loving. The possibility of rejections was supplanted.

Words of affirmation and encouragement made me feel strong. I felt courage surge through my body. I had friends that knew I could succeed and they stuck around until I knew they were right.

This creative bunch of friends have collectively become known to each other as unicorns. In folklore, unicorns represented purity and grace. They brought healing to others and were appreciated by a hurting world that needed hope.

My unicorns are pure in heart. They each want to come across as their authentic self. They also bring healing to their audiences. Some bring healing with humor, while others bring various types of emotional healing.

They have demonstrated compassion, grace, and even mercy. We have learned to boldly be who we are for all to see. There is no shrinking back. With their encouragement, I will continue to go live.

Join me as I continue on this journey. You’ll be able to see me for who I am. The transparency of the show is intriguing and you may learn a thing or two along the way. I’ll post links to my next show later this week.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers

To Judge or Not to Judge

Have you ever felt judged?

Or, have you ever worried about cancel culture destroying your future due to your opinion?

Many of us understand how poor judgment can ruin a person. Yet, we tend to jump on the bandwagon rather than defend a person who might be guilty but wasn’t proven guilty.

The real question is whether you’re going to join the proverbial lynch mob. To help you decide, I’m going to share with you a test I learned about this week. The T.I.N.O. test helps you determine if you should get involved with judging others or not.

Here are the four steps as shared with me…

T is for Time Consuming

Try to determine how much time this activity rising from judgment will take from your life. We only get 24-hours each day and you have goals and dreams to chase. If your efforts take precious time away from your goals, walk away.

I is for Irrelevant to My Goals

If judging the other person detracts from your goals, it’s not an activity worth engaging in. Some will argue that if the issue holds a significant value within your goals, you should engage.

But if not, don’t get absorbed. Your goals are too precious.

N is for Negative or Energy Draining

Most of us need a lot of positive feedback to keep us moving down the path of our goals. A person who doesn’t get inundated by negativity might enjoy judging others. Be cautious of those judgments that drain you.

When judging slows the progress of your personal goals, it isn’t the right choice.

O is for Outside of My Control/Influence

There is no reason to judge others if it won’t move your goals ahead. If you think judging will help someone to make better decisions, you may have a control problem.

My Views

Years ago, a Hebrew man named Yeshua told a story to give perspective. His story was about a man with a speck in his eye. Another man immediately noticed the speck and pointed it out. He had judged and condemned the man for not having pure eyes.

Yeshua pointed out that the man making the judgment on the impure eyes had a large I-beam hanging out of his own eye. The one judging the other had greater impurities in his life than the man with the speck. When I heard that part of the story, I thought that Yeshua was judging the man with the I-beam hanging out of his eye. But he wasn’t.

Yeshua didn’t point out if the first man was rightly or wrongly judged. Nor did he suggest the second man was accurate or inaccurate in his judgment. He suggested that the guy with the I-beam should deal first with his own issues, and then, help the first man with his.

Yeshua’s story wasn’t about judgment, although he alluded to its foolishness. His story was about us taking care of ourselves first and then helping others.

If we are helping ourselves or helping others, we are helping, not judging.

If we are judging, we are not helping.

You can use the T.I.N.O. method to determine if you should judge or not. As for me, I have no reason to judge others. But you can count on me taking care of my issues first, and then offering my help to you.

Copyright © 2021 by CJ Powers