August 21, 2019 –
“If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.”— Rudyard Kipling
It is a rare resume that lists storytelling as a personal strength. Few, if any interviewers ask interviewees about their ability to tell stories. I enjoy asking applicants to tell me who has affected their lives the most (they will tell you why), and name the last book they read. Finally, I ask, “Tell me your favorite story.”
I know you didn’t ask, but here are some thoughts on creating an excellent story. Great storytelling begins with a great story. If you don’t have something worth saying, pass out your business card.
A good story has these elements.
ATTENTION. Immediately grab the attention of your audience and invite them to listen further. Successful storytellers use the first few seconds of their story to capture the audience’s attention and encourage them to listen further.
PRESENT one idea. The goal is to make the point, not points.
RESONATE with your audience. Good stories engage people’s emotions. The story is believable, and people quickly connect with you and the story.
INVITE people to respond. The best stories are positive and uplifting and offer a better life for people.
LASTING. Good stories are memorable, and like a good wine get better over time. Listeners retell your story to others, expanding the outreach of the story, and broaden your influence. One excellent story told to an audience gains you more recognition than a business card handed out to 1000 people.
Good storytelling is an art, and with practice, produces improvement and enhances the storyteller’s influence.