Whether you are a writer or a public speaker, it’s important to know how to effectively tell a story.
In this blogpost, we’ll discuss the first two steps in the process:
1.) The Storytelling Format
2.) Connecting With Your Audience or Reader
We speak differently than we write, so it’s important to decide if your audience will be listening to your story or reading it. Authors write to appeal to the readers eyes while public speakers speak to appeal to the audiences ear. Both writers and speakers must involve the other physical senses of their audience. You can accomplish this by using visual, auditory, kinesthetic, olfactory, and gustatory words and phrases. These words and phrases activate the readers or listeners memory and bring similar sensory images while they are involved in your story.
The Storytelling Format
If you are an author, you have more time to get into the details of your story than you would have if you were presenting to a listening audience. An author can give vivid and extensive descriptions. In addition to sensory words and phrases, writers and speakers can employ metaphors, contrast, simile,echo, alliteration and rhyme to keep their audience interested.
One of the most important elements of a story is the conflict. Conflict is said to be, “…an inherent incompatibility between the objectives of two or more characters or forces. Conflict creates tension and interest in a story by adding doubt as to the outcome.”
The types of conflict include; person against person, person against society, person against nature, and person against themselves.
If you watch dramas on television, you are used to conflict. A person argues with their significant other and their relationship is in danger, a person is involved in an accident and their life is in danger, a person is tried for a crime they didn’t commit and their freedom is in danger, a person is involved in a tornado or earthquake and their financial future is in danger.
One great way to practice storytelling is to watch a few dramas on television and answer a few questions.
1.) Does the story start before, during or after the conflict?
2.) How soon after the story begins does conflict begin?
3.) What changes occur to the characters in the story because of the conflict?
In the next session, we’ll talk about opening and closing a public speech and opening and concluding a story intended to be read.
Have a wonderful day!