Storytelling is the new buzzword. But beyond hearing that you should be telling stories in your business, what else do you know about storytelling? Chances are nothing, but here are three tips to help you get started with finding stories to tell.
How to Tell Better Stories
If you want to become a better storyteller, my best advice is to become a great story collector.
Easy, right? Truthfully, easier said than done.
The only way to become a great story collector is to listen. Yet according to research, 96 per cent of people think they are good listeners, but people only retain about half of what others say. So reframing the statement, the only way to become a great story collector is to improve on your listening skills and actually listen to retain.
3 Ways to Tell Better Stories
What I’m about to tell you isn’t mind-altering, but like most new habits, a mindset shift is required to get to the next level. Think like a storyteller, so you can move like one. Do these three things today to unleash the inner storyteller.
- Ask Amazing Questions: if you want to know something, ask. If you have difficulty doing this and it’s okay, what I usually do is look for things that stand out and ask questions about them.
Avoid questions that can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no”. Questions that can be answered with one singular word are questions you need to avoid. And always be alert enough to know when to ask a follow-up question.
Search within yourself: If I had a dollar for every time someone denied having a story to tell, I’d be filthy rich. We’re practically story collecting machines, and some of the best stories are our personal stories.
So how do we get the stories out of us and into the world? I give my clients story prompts to get them to brainstorm their own experiences. Some of the personal prompts are:
– Write about a moment that changed who you thought you were. Focus on the before and the after.
– Write a seven-word memoir.
– Write about the first time you made money on your own.
As you write, you’ll find that more things are coming back to you. Note those things because what you’re doing is collecting stories to tell.
- Be Observant: We’re always rushing to go somewhere with our cellphones in our hands. We spend too much time doing things and not enough time sitting and observing. If you challenged yourself to spend ten minutes just observing the people and things around you, you’d have at least five stories to tell.
When you see something that catches your eye, open your note app and make a note. Record your stories so you can practice sharing them.
Practice Makes Perfect
Now practice! The only way to be better at something that you think you’re not good at is to practice. Practice telling your stories on social media, tell your family, use your friends and when you’re done, ask them to rate your effort.
You’ll get a better feel for the type of stories your audience likes and begin to craft your stories around what they like.
Practice makes perfect.