9 Storytelling Secrets That Noone Talks About
We all have stories that we want to tell. Those stories may be good, or bad. The funny thing is that we want our stories to have an impact on people to hear them and that impact can be anything from being emotional to laughing to having deep thoughts. It’s human nature to want these things. The main reason for wanting this being, if our words don’t impact others, they become worthless. It doesn’t matter how short the impact may be, as long as it has some impact. Saying this wouldn’t you like to tell your story in a good way? If you do then here are some tips for you.
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Tip #1: Right place, Right time and Right Audience
This is a matter of common sense rather than a tip that most people fail at. As we want our stories to be heard sometimes we get impatient and start to ramble randomly. Now while it is okay to do that we have to consider a few things including time, place, and people. For example, if we are with a close group of people and the mood is fun, if we start to tell a sad story, the mood will be spoiled. Now they may not mind it but if the people are changed, then they will either worry or ignore you. Similarly, if the mood is heavy and you start to tell a funny in-front of sensitive people, then you will feel their anger. The point is, consider how the mood is around you and who is around you and what they are doing before you start to tell your story. If you consider all of these three things, the impact will be greater.
Tip #2: Use a verbal hook
First of all, lets us clarify what a verbal hook is. The verbal hook is a word or a sentence that keeps the listeners curious about what is to come next. This definition in itself explains why you should use a verbal hook. It is to keep the listeners hooked into your storytelling and interested in your story. They can be anything from small details that are explored later in your story to a question that you ask the listeners making him/her think. As long as that word or a sentence can hook a potentially boring interest into your stories again, it is a hook. Use there periodically though as too much can make them cringe.
Tip #3: Have a point in your story
So this is one of the most important things about being a good storyteller. Whenever you want to have an impact on people, have a point in your story. That point can be anything from telling them not to do the same dumb things that you did and making them laugh to expressing your inner demons, from your political stand to expressing how you feel about certain topics. As long as you have a meaning or a motive behind your story, most people will listen to some extent. Of course, you have to keep other things into consideration as well.
Tip #4: Try not to repeat the same events.
This is another key point to have an impact on the listeners. The reason is somewhat simple. If a single event keeps on repeating in the story that you are telling, people will get bored. If this happens, regardless of how important your stories are or how deep they are, it won’t have as much impact. Try to skip the repeated part by using lines such as “remember what happened in the start? It happened again..” and reached the ending. Life tends to repeat events that result with different endings and this is a good way to shorten your stories as well. The shorter and deeper they are, the more impactful they become.
Tip #5: Have a starting and an ending
The title says it all. Have a start and an end to your stories. One way of doing this is to select an impactful time frame of the event and end it with the same manner. Normal life is boring but there are key moments which lead to interesting events and that is where you should start your stories at. As for the endings, you can either choose the time when that specific event ended when the effect of that even showed. Just skip the boring times. People have enough boring days in their lives and hearing about your boring days will bore them even more and hence make your stories feel meaningless.
Tip #6: Use emotions and keep it steady
These are two of the most common mistakes that storytellers make when they start. They don’t put on enough emotions and rush. Both of them are interlinked and this is why they are in the same title. If one does not feel any emotions from their own story, then one will naturally rush. On the other hand, if one has a deep emotional connection to their story, that person will recollect and tell slowly. When you show emotions in a story, people will naturally be drawn to your story. This is because of the human nature of seeking emotional invoices regardless of the topics. As mentioned, if you put your emotions into the stories that you tell, it will go slower and steadier. People will understand as well as feel the story from your voice.
Tip #7: Don’t make fun of anyone around you
Again, another tip related to common sense. If you offend people around you, then naturally whatever point you have will be nullified. As long as you are not doing a stand-up comedy where the whole story is meant as a joke and meant to be offensive, you can’t afford to offend anyone. Recently there has been a culture change going around so you have to be careful. Even stand up comedians need to be careful in this day and age.
Naturally, if your story revolves around those who have wronged you and that person is mutually made fun of then it is fine. Anything other than that and you will lose your impact point. Making fun of corrupt politicians, making fun of bosses are all okay as long as they are not among your listeners. If you make fun of yourself then it is even better as almost everyone loves those who can laugh at themselves.
Tip #8: Put some acting in your voice
It requires practice. You will have to learn the appropriate patterns for the rise and fall of your voice and speed for this. In theory the tone and speed of your voice is influenced by what you feel. When you get angry, you talk slowly and make your voice a bit hoarse. Similarly, when you are happy your voice is sharper and is faster because your pitch and speed rises. Also when an exciting event happens, you can speed up to make the listener feel rushed a bit. You can also pause to add drama.
Tip #9: Make the listeners think.
This tip is linked with the tip about verbal hooks. The reason behind that is because this is a form of a hook. If your audience thinks, they will be more involved in your story. The more involved they are, the greater the impact.
A hook does not have to make people think but anything that makes people think are hooks as they make people hooked into the story. You can do this by taking some pause before a dramatic event in your stories or asking them questions. If you ask your listeners questions, you will have to answer them most of the time. The reason for this being that they don’t know what comes next. But you can let them think without any answers if it is something abstract. Along with that, you don’t have to answer if that is your ending and point as well.
Examples of this can be when a story about abuse, a deep scar, or something extremely stupid is being ended. “So that happened and you can guess how much I laughed later” is an example of such.
If you want to learn how to write a good story why don’t you check out our article on “How to Write a Good Story“? and 13 Steps to Follow As a Passionate Scriptwriter