Is storytelling a forgotten art or has it morphed into a more unique offering that now includes digital, cell phones and social networking instead of just a chat around the fireplace?
I attended a presentation the other day by Jeff Olsen from Thomas Arts. Jeff spoke about storytelling and creating an emotional connection with your audience, whether that be a client, a colleague, a family member or an arena full of people. It certainly was an impactful presentation. I learned a lot and began thinking about what makes a great story. How do you create an emotional connection through storytelling?
1) Keep it simple. The best stories are simple and have a compelling message that creates an emotional response in the listener. Remember, the listener owns the emotion; as the story teller you can only paint a picture; the listener adds the color.
2) Make it interesting. Include those tidbits that created an emotion in you, regardless of how insignificant it may seem to you. If you felt an emotional response; a tingle, a tear, a shiver, a smile or a bell laugh then likely, you will help your audience feel the same.
3) Include the hard stuff. Be vulnerable, allow your listener to experience the painful, uncomfortable moments with you. As you talk about the hard stuff, a certain trust will develop that allows you to communicate to connect on a level that makes the story impactful and memorable for your listener.
4) Understand your audience. Who are you speaking to? Do a little research beforehand. If that isn’t possible, assess the setting. What’s the demographic, the setting, is there a theme, how much time do you have, what do you want them to remember about their experience with you?
Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. With these 4 storytelling tips, you will successfully paint that picture!