Whether you want to tell a joke, a fairy tale, or try to persuade someone with some empirical evidence, telling a story is an important skill. While some possess this ability naturally, others learn it. Never be afraid, you can learn to tell a better and more interesting story with wikiHow as your guide! Just read the steps below.
Part 1 of 3: Mastering the Basics of Storytelling
Step 1. Engage your audience
Begin your storytelling by interacting with your audience or doing something to get their attention. Ask a question, even if it is just rhetorical, that relates to the conclusion, the twist, or the context of the story you will tell. You can also make an engaging comment that grabs their attention (get the hook, the equivalent of an eye-catching headline). This forces them to focus their attention on the idea of your story and makes them want to hear more.
- Example for a fairy tale: "Have you ever wondered why the moth follows the flame?"
- Example for a funny story: “I have the best roommate story you've ever heard. Let's say it includes a toilet”.
Step 2. Develop a scene
Throughout your narration, you will want to create a captivating experience. You must tell your audience a story that makes them feel like they are there. Start by giving them the context, then create the scene using details that help them recreate the action and feel the same things as you. You will also want to carefully adapt your language: use words that elicit very strong and specific emotions.
- Example for a fairy tale: "Once upon a time, when the world was ancient, magic still lived and beasts still spoke …".
- Example for a funny story: “I'm the quiet type of person who has a lot of cats, okay? But my roommate was more of the party guy type. "
Step 3. Develop and then release the tension
Of course, the entire arc of a story should build the tension to the climax and diminish the action to the conclusion. However, what you need to remember is that a release of tension must come between two points of maximum tension. Without this release of tension, a story can feel rushed or too similar to a list of events. Real life includes moments of relief among the things that happen to us. Stories should have them too. This release can be a description of the scene and a quick succession of minor details or a joke in case you are going to tell a slightly funny story.
- Example for a fairy tale: “The moth approached the tall white pillar, and there was a flame burning in its glory. The moth was drawn somewhere inside his stomach and fell in love. Of course, heroes do not rescue their princesses on the same day and the moth spent many splendid nights in the moonlight falling even more in love with the flame. "
- Example for a funny story: “It was a new year and we moved into this neighborhood that was pretty and… hostile. So… I stay tuned at all times. It's good for blood pressure, you know?”.
Step 4. Focus on what's important
When you tell a story, it is important to include the details to create that sense of immersion. However, you don't want the story to seem "wandering." This is why it is very important to focus on the essentials. Shorten details that are not relevant to the story and keep those that enrich the story.
As time allows, keep the details that add as much as possible to set the right pace or set the scene, but adjust them according to the audience's reactions. If they start to get bored, speed up the story and minimize details as needed
Step 5. Stay logical
This is where knowing your story and practicing becomes important. Do you know the person who tells a story and in the middle stops and says “Oh, I forgot to mention that…”? Don't be that person. Don't stop to clarify. This destroys the listener's experience with the story. Tell it in a logical and fluent way.
If you forgot a detail, weave it together without undoing the listener's experience with the story. For example: “Now, the piper was not after city money for no reason. In reality, the inhabitants did not comply with the deal they had made with him”
Step 6. Give a definite conclusion to the story
It's awkward when an audience isn't sure if you're done or not, so make the ending of the story conclusive. There are a number of ways to do this and some examples include:
- Ask a question and answer it. “How crazy is that? I know I will not try again. "
- Say the moral. "This, ladies and gentlemen, is an excellent example of why you should never take your cat to work."
- Use the right tone and voice. Try to maintain the volume and speed until you reach the climax of the story, at which point you must slow down and lower your voice to show that you are done.
Part 2 of 3: Using Your Voice and Your Body
Step 1. Create a character
Make the people in your story feel different. If you "act" differently, you can skip the annoying "blank" parts of your story. You can also make the story more compelling. Play with accents, speech patterns and voices for the different people in the story. You can add great comic value by acting silly or using stereotypical voices.
For example, imitate your dad's voice with an extremely deep, husky sound, and add some additional details to the dialogue such as “[Relevant part of the story]. Also, I will go to the garage to build a platform or a part of it. Or maybe watch a television show where they teach how to build it. "
Step 2. Make your narrative "big" or "small."
Match the sound of your voice to the way you want the story to feel at that point. Change your pitch and volume to make the story seem calmer or more exciting, depending on where you are. Increase the speed and slightly raise the volume as you get closer to the conclusion. Slow down when you say it.
You should also experiment with dramatic pauses. A moment of silence and a look can mean a lot to someone's experience of a story
Step 3. Control your face
If you want to truly become a great storyteller, you must master your ability to create and change your facial expressions and match them to what you say. Your face should be able to act out basically the whole story. If you really want to learn from a teacher, watch many John Stewart or Martin Freeman videos on YouTube.
Remember that facial expressions come in more than 3 varieties. You can convey really complex emotions using very specific facial expressions
Step 4. Speak using your hands
Talking with your hands can take you from looking like a very stiff and boring storyteller to one who dominates the room with a story. The hands convey emotions, keep the audience focused and create a sense of action. If you don't use your body language in any other way during the narration, at least start talking using your hands.
Of course, you don't want to overdo it. Not to the point of hitting someone in the face or spilling your drink, or even spilling the drink on your face
Step 5. Act out the story
If you can, move your whole body to act out the story. You don't need to recreate every movement, but use your body on the essential parts of the story to direct the listener's attention to that point. Of course, you can also use this to give a great comic effect.
Some familiar gestures, such as Groucho Marx's eyebrow lift or Rodney Dangerfield's shirt collar lift, can add an additional level of nonsense to the story (there are several modern comedians who use these gestures)
Part 3 of 3: Improve your storytelling
Step 1. Practice
Practice telling a story a few times before you tell it to other people. Then do it with a few minor listeners before telling someone important. You should feel comfortable telling the story, know when to add dramatic breaks, and when to create a tone of enthusiasm.
Step 2. Memorize your story
Make sure you know the story perfectly and then focus when you tell it. This will help you not to forget about important details. It also helps you maintain the consistency of the story throughout the narration, which is important in case someone hears it more than once.
Step 3. Be authentic
Don't turn your stories into "big lies." You already know what they are: those stories that each time you tell become more dramatic and epic, where the details change to become more mythical and the characters become less and less real. Listeners will lose interest when they hear you tell a story like this. Get back on track and make your story ring true if you want people to enjoy it.
Step 4. Control the environment
If possible, you should tell your story in a good place and time. Even the best story can be ruined if you constantly have to stop because of distractions. Make sure the surroundings are not too flashy or noisy. If someone tries to steal your spotlight, redirect them back to you.
Step 5. Allow interaction
A listener's experience with the story is further enhanced by being able to interact and join in with it. If you really want to reinforce your narrative, you can ask your audience questions or find other ways to get them to interact with the story.
Step 6. React to your audience
The most important skill you need to work on is being able to react to your audience. If listeners start to get bored, summarize and speed up the story. If they really enjoy a particular part, expand it. If they laugh, give them a chance to keep doing it. It is complicated, but telling a story from the experience that your audience has will make you a storyteller that no one will forget.