Whether you're professionally narrating a story or reading a poem aloud in class, there are good and bad ways to tell something. You must learn to feel comfortable with the material, to know what to leave out and what to express to the listeners. Take a look at step 1 and start wowing your audience with your storytelling.
Part 1 of 3: Speaking Techniques
Step 1. Learn to be comfortable reading and speaking at the same time
This is very important if you are telling a story or saying a poem by reading it from one page. You can also memorize the text, which helps a lot, but make sure you know how to read aloud.
- Read it more than once. Especially if you are going to present yourself in front of an audience, you should practice what you are going to narrate several times. This will help you get used to using words and will be able to maintain eye contact with the audience.
- Understand the rhythm of words. You will notice that in poems and stories, even those that are only verbal, the length of the sentences and the words used create a kind of rhythm. Get in the habit of picking up the pace through practice so you can play the story or poem out loud very well.
- Try to avoid reading the entire story on the page. Narration involves actively engaging in the story and capturing the attention of your audience. Look up as you read to make eye contact with the audience.
Step 2. Modify the pitch, speed and volume of the voice
To tell a story in a compelling way, you must use variations in the speed, volume, pitch, and cadence of your voice. If you speak using only one tone (monotonously), you will only get the audience bored even though the story itself is interesting.
- You must make the tone of your voice appropriate for the story. For example, you will not speak as confiding when you are telling an epic tale (like the Odyssey). You will also not use an epic voice if you are narrating a comic event or a light, romantic story.
- Make sure to narrate slowly. When reading aloud or telling a story in public, speak more slowly than when talking. Speaking slowly captures the audience's attention and enables you to appreciate the story or poem correctly. It is a good idea to have a glass of water handy when you are narrating and stop, take a sip, and pause.
- The idea is to project your voice, not shout. Breathe and speak from the diaphragm. To exercise this, stand up and place your hand on your abdomen. Inhale and exhale feeling your stomach rise and fall. Count to ten as you inhale and exhale. Your abdomen will begin to relax. You will want to speak from this relaxed state.
Step 3. Speak clearly
Many people do not speak clearly or properly when trying to narrate something. You have to make sure that your audience can hear you and understand what you are saying. Avoid babbling or speaking too softly.
- Articulate sounds correctly. Articulation involves concentrating on pronouncing sounds rather than words properly. Emphasizes the pronunciation of the letters: b, d, g, y, p, t, k, ch. Emphasize the pronunciation of these sounds and your speech will sound clearer to your audience.
- Pronounce the words correctly. Make sure you know the meaning of the words in your poem or story and how they are pronounced well. If you have a hard time remembering the correct pronunciation of a word, write a notation for yourself next to the difficult word. So you can pronounce it well in your narration.
- Avoid fillers like “this”, “like”. These are fine to use in ordinary conversation, but in a narrative they will make you sound less than confident and distract the audience.
Step 4. Emphasize the appropriate parts of the story or poem
The idea is to make sure the audience understands the most important parts of the poem or story. Since you are narrating aloud, you should highlight those parts with the use of your voice.
- Lowering your voice and using lower tones along with leaning toward the audience will capture the audience's attention on crucial parts of the story and is great for keeping them intrigued. Make sure to project your voice carefully even if you are speaking in a lower voice.
- For example: if you narrate Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (the first book in the saga), you will want to emphasize the moment when Harry faces Voldemort or when he wins the Quidditch match by catching the winged ball or "snitch" with his mouth.
- The poems contain specific emphasis on their structure. We must then pay attention to the way the poem has been formatted (its meter) to know which syllables to highlight in the narration.
Step 5. Insert pauses in the appropriate places
You don't want to be boisterous during the story. Reading and telling a story or poem aloud is not a career. Rather, be sure to pause at appropriate times so that your audience is fully immersed in what they are hearing.
- Take breaks after funny or emotional moments in your story to give your audience time to react. Avoid skipping through important parts of the story without pausing. For example, if you're telling something funny, you may want to add pauses until you get to the final punchline, so people will start laughing when they realize the direction the story is taking.
- Punctuation often tells you where to pause. When you read a poem out loud, make sure you don't pause at the end of the lines but rather where the punctuation (commas, periods, etc.) indicates that you need to take a break.
- A good example of the correct use of pauses is the text from The Lord of the Rings. When not read aloud, there are so many commas that one might think that Tolkien did not know how to use them. But when the text is read aloud, one realizes that the pauses fit perfectly with the story.
Part 2 of 3: Make a good storytelling
Step 1. Create the atmosphere
When you narrate something (a story, a poem, or a joke), you need to create the appropriate atmosphere. This implies establishing the spatial and temporal context of the narration, and communicating it so that the audience feels that they are in that place and moment and thus the story takes on greater realism and closeness.
- Give the story some context. Where is it set? When did it happen? In your life or someone else's life? A long time ago? All of these things will solidify the story and make it fit more sharply in the mind of the audience.
- Communicate the point of view of the story. Is it a personal story of yours? Someone you know? Is it a story known to the audience (like Cinderella, for example)? Make sure you tell the story from the right point of view.
- If you are telling a story, and especially one that happened to you and not a written narrative or poem, use the present tense. This gives the story immediacy and captures the audience's attention more easily.
Step 2. Give the story the appropriate structure
When telling a story, especially if it is something that happened to you or relates to you, make sure that the story has a structure that makes it interesting to the audience. Humans have been telling stories for thousands of years, so there are some parameters that can improve your storytelling.
- Your story should follow the structure of cause and effect, whatever the story. This implies that something happens and then there is an effect that follows the cause. Reflect on this with the word "why." "Because there was a cause, the effect occurred."
- For example: your comic story begins with you spilling water on the floor. That is the cause and the effect is that you slip into the climactic moment of the plot. "Because you spilled water on the floor earlier, you slipped when you were playing hide and seek."
- Present the conflict early. The problem and the solution to the conflict is what keeps the audience interested in the story. If you take a long time to present it or walk away from the problem several times, the audience's interest will be reduced. For example: if you are telling the story of Cinderella, you cannot talk and talk about her life before the stepmother and stepsisters appear. The stepmother and stepsisters are at the center of the conflict, so they must introduce themselves almost at the beginning of the story.
Step 3. Share the relevant details
Details are crucial in a narrative. Sharing too many can overwhelm or bore your audience. If you include too few, the audience will not have access to the atmosphere of the story.
- Choose to include details that are relevant and related to the results of the story. To continue with the Cinderella example, you don't have to thoroughly describe every housework she does for the wicked, but you do need to include the chores her stepmother assigns her to keep her from attending the dance. These are important because they hinder the resolution of the story.
- You can also sprinkle some interesting or funny details during your narration, but don't overwhelm the audience. A few can provoke laughter and arouse greater interest in the story.
- Avoid being too vague on details. In Cinderella's case, if you don't tell the audience who's organizing the dance or where our heroine's dress and shoes came from, you'll only cause confusion in the audience.
Step 4. Keep the story consistent
Your story can include dragons and the magic that can move a person from one place to another instantly; If you stay consistent, your story will have verisimilitude. Now, if you add a spaceship to the mix without first creating a sci-fi atmosphere, your tale will be very unbelievable.
Also, make sure the characters in your story act accordingly. If one of your characters at the beginning of the story is very shy, it is not very likely that he will be able to immediately confront a lazy parent without first having developed the character considerably
Step 5. The story must be of the appropriate length
It is difficult to determine the correct length of a story or poem. This is something you must decide for yourself, but there are some elements to consider about the extension. Here's some help deciding how long your story should be.
- A short story is easier to pull off, especially if you are just starting out as a storyteller. Still, it takes a while to make sure the details are accurate and that the right tone and rhythm are used.
- If you're telling a longer story, check to see that the story has reasons to be long and that it won't bore the audience. Sometimes some details can be removed to shorten the story, make the story easier, and thus increase audience interest.
Part 3 of 3: Avoid Common Mistakes
Step 1. Use your voice properly
Two of the most common storyteller problems are talking too fast and being monotonous. Both problems go hand in hand since it is very difficult to vary the tone of the voice while telling a story at 100 kilometers per hour.
- Watch your breathing and pauses if you want to avoid talking too fast. If you are not breathing slowly and deeply, you are most likely going too fast. If you don't use pauses, then you will narrate very quickly and it will be difficult for the audience to follow you in the narration.
- Make sure to modulate your voice in certain words and syllables to avoid speaking in one tone. This is one of the most effective ways to capture the interest of the public even if the story is not the most interesting.
Step 2. Tell the gist of the story
Another problem is deviating from the main topic and putting off telling the core of the story. Deviating from the common thread of the story occasionally is not a problem, especially if an informative or humorous detail is to be added. If not, it is best to stick to telling the main story as that is what the audience expects.
- Avoid beating around the bush. When you start the story, the narrator's introduction and the story should be brief. The public is not interested in hearing how the story appeared to you in a dream or something like that. The audience is interested in hearing the story itself.
- Don't ramble during the story. Try to stick to the main structure of the story and do not introduce funny memories or themes that occur to you in the moment. If you spend too much time, you will miss the audience's attention.
Step 3. Avoid over-expressing your opinions, your understanding of the story, or its moral
When you share a narrative, be it your own or someone else's story, the audience is not interested in your understanding of the lesson learned. Remember the stories of your childhood (like the fables of Aesop). Almost all have a moral. Do you remember any lessons or do you remember the stories?
The stories are constituted from the facts of the narrative. The lesson or understanding of the message must come from the account of the events whether the moral is explicit or not
Step 4. Practice
This step, despite being so obvious, is often overlooked. It must be practiced before you can effectively and entertainingly tell a story, whether it is a poem, someone else's story, or a personal event.
The more you know your material, the more confident you will be when narrating. The more certain you are in the story, the greater the interest you will arouse from the audience
Step 5. Listen to other storytellers
There are people who make a living by telling stories: the storytellers, the dubbers in the movies, the ones who read stories for audiobooks.
Observe the narrators live and notice their body language (their facial expression and hand movements), how they use variations of the voice, and the techniques they use to capture the audience's attention
- Be confident when narrating. Even if you don't feel so confident, if you speak slowly and carefully you will look confident.
- Add sensory details to give the story more realism and make it closer to the audience. What smells are perceived? What sounds can be heard? What do you and the characters see and feel?