Recently, Davorin Barudzija, an integrative trainer, coach, and recruitment manager at Teach for Austria hosted an eye-opening skillshare breakfast about storytelling at the Hub. He drew upon his years of experience in adult vocational training to activate the innate storytelling abilities of all the attendees.

Ever find yourself trying to tell an important story but tripping over the words? Things that were meant to be told at the end somehow find themselves in the beginning and the beginning all of sudden becomes the middle and before you know it, the story’s backward and forward at the same time and your audience is lost.

Storytelling goes beyond one-to-one communication. Every startup has their story to charm potential investors, partners, and employees. If you’re a social entrepreneur, you have your story and nobody can tell but you. If you’re looking to inspire others to follow your lead, here are four tips to take your storytelling to the next level.

Make it personal

The more honest you are, the easier it will be to tell your story and the more likely a listener will be moved and connect with your story. Activate your listener’s empathy. We’re all different but we’ve experienced the same emotions. We’ve all been happy, sad, and somewhere in between. Build the bridge to your audience by opening yourself up. It might be scary at first to be vulnerable, but that’s how you connect with other people.

Paint a picture

Activate a listener’s senses. Where were you? What did it look like? What did it smell like? How did you feel? Painting a picture orients the listener and draws them into your story. They begin to see things the way you see them and feel closer to you. Have you heard the saying: “walk a mile in (someone’s) shoes?” Using descriptive language helps your audience to go for a walk in your shoes.

Pause

You’ve probably seen it in every TED talk: the dramatic pause. Notice how you probably leaned in to hear more, eager for the next words from the speaker. You should do that too. Why? Because it works. It allows the story you’re telling to settle in the minds of your listeners and builds anticipation to what’s coming next. You probably have a natural instinct to cover every bit of silence thinking that the audience is going to be bored if you stop talking. It’s actually the opposite. So take your time and remember to breathe at the right spots. Use silence to your advantage.

Practice, practice, practice

You won’t tell your story right the 1st time, or the 5th time, or even the 10th time. But every time you do, you’ll improve it in small increments. You’ll take all the cues and feedback from every listener and hone in on what works. So what are you waiting for? Go out and tell your story. Tell it to your friend or someone at the Hub. The most important thing is that you tell your story because nobody can tell it but you.

 

Baldwin Tong

Baldwin Tong

A writer who wears many hats, mostly metaphorical ones.