6 Steps to Better Storytelling

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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storytelling tipsSix Steps to Better Storytelling for Motivational Speakers

As speakers, we all know that one key ingredient to standing out in our market, is our storytelling ability. I make money for being able to tell good stories on stage. So here are six things I’ve learned that can help you become a better storyteller.

  1. Write the way you talk.  If your story is not written the way you would say it, then it’s not authentic and it will come across as incongruent. Of course we don’t want all the “ums” in there. But use language that you are likely to use in your normal speech. If you don’t talk like Shakespeare off stage, don’t do it in your story.
  2. Practice the story as you write the story.  This is a GREAT way to keep your writing conversational, and make it easier to memorize. Write the story in fragmented bullet points, rather than long sentences. It’s easier that way. Plus, you now have a nice outline bullet list as a visual to keep you on track when you tell the story.
  3. Tell the story the way you talk. Try to make your story as conversational as possible. This means that we don’t always stop and breathe at the end of sentences. Sometimes we pause in the middle. Sometimes we act like we’re trying to figure out what word we want to say. Sometimes we say a word and correct ourselves. Practice telling the story as if you’re talking to me sitting on your sofa.
  4. Know how the story goes.  Don’t just memorize every word, start by really memorizing how the story goes. Before I ever start memorizing a story, I practice just telling you about that story.  This way I have a nice visual story board running through my head. This helps tremendously when you forget your line in the story. Doesn’t matter. You know how the story goes. You can wing it.
  5. Scripted stories make better stories.  A story where you have labored over every word and where it goes, will be better than the story you just wing on stage.  Especially in comedy.
  6. Act out your story. Don’t just tell me about it, show it to me. Act it out wherever you can.