Effective communicators are storytellers.
That is because storytelling is one of the easiest ways to connect with your listeners. Everyone can relate to stories.
But not all stories are created equal. There are stories that add value and there are stories that don’t.
Non-value-adding stories bore people to sleep. They include so many details that the listener is unsure if the story was about a weekend grocery mishap or an obese rottweiler named Pebbles. They are word vomits that are self-indulgent and don’t enrich the lives of others in any way!
(Just to clarify: The value of a story is not always in the lesson it teaches or the inspiration it gives. If a story can make someone laugh, it has added value. If a story creates a feeling of delight, surprise, excitement, it has also added value. If a story can create a connection between people, it has also added value.)
So here are 3 elements you need to incorporate into your stories so that they add value to the lives of others.
1. Intrigue: Keep them hooked
Bait your listeners like a fisherman does with the worm on his fish hook. Create intrigue around your story.
Some people call it the rising action. Others call it the build-up. Whatever you choose to call it, your story needs to create tension and excitement that will cause your listeners to sit at the edge of their seat and lean in.
Remember: Your listeners will pay attention only to the point where your story intrigues them. If you don’t captivate them with intrigue, you would have completely lost them by the time you deliver your punchline.
Whatever point you were making by telling that story would have been completely lost!
2. Clarity: Keep it simple
Great storytellers know that the secret ingredient to a good story is not what you say; It’s what you don’t say.
Cut out all the unnecessary details.
Adding too many details is like creating a maze for your listeners. It makes it harder for them to follow. And when they can’t follow, they’ll get lost.
Once they’re lost, one of two things will happen: They either interrupt you and ask questions (in which case, you’ll lose momentum) or they stop listening altogether.
As a general rule: Make sure that every detail you include contributes to what you’re trying to achieve by telling the story.
3. Relevance: Make it relatable
People pay more attention to stories that are relevant to them.
The more they see themselves in your story, the more they will pay attention and the more it will make an impact.
For example, imagine telling a story to a group of financial advisers. Consider telling a story that uses scenarios related to banking and investment. Now, consider telling them a story about an athlete training for a tournament. Which of these will resonate with your audience more?
It’s a no-brainer! The story related to banking and investment, of course! That’s because the scenarios are more relevant to them even if both stories would have conveyed the exact same message.
If you want your story to add greater value to your listeners, use words, phrases, symbols, and metaphors that they can directly relate to.
Here’s the gist…
Stories are very powerful tools. When done right, we can give people an extraordinary gift in the stories we tell.
Here are 3 elements to incorporate in your stories so that it adds value to your listeners:
- Intrigue (captivate them)
- Clarity (make it easy to follow)
- Relevance (make it relatable to your listeners)
Practice adding these into the stories you tell your family and friends. And as your storytelling muscles grow and develop, you’ll be able to communicate better.
That’s it for this article. Thank you for reading and I hope you got the gist!
If you know anyone who needs to read this, go ahead and share this with them!