5 takeaways for effective storytelling

Storytelling brings me back to wide-eyed gab sessions about how our lives are intertwined. It’s an opportunity to really connect with someone, to listen to them intently, to engage in lively conversation and to learn more about each other as people. With that as a backdrop, I took the plunge and raised my hand to be one of the first storytellers at a CSTD session.

Storytelling coach Kate Hodgson provided the structure, framework, format so I didn’t sound like I was presenting or facilitating to an audience (which I’m quite familiar with) but more like I was telling a story.  My key takeaways from my storytelling coaching experience were as follows:

1. The science behind storytelling. When we have an emotional connection to the storyteller, our brain waves are in sync. We internalize the emotions  of the storyteller and we join them in their journey. In the end, we learn something some that emotion.

2. Everyone’s stories are different, and the best stories are never told twice; the patterns and underlying themes are the same though. You weave your stories to fit your audience.

3. Be your own five year old and be curious in structuring your stories.

4. Formula for being funny.  TRAGEDY + TIME = COMEDY

5. Structured Practice. In practicing my story, I told Kate the whole piece however long it was. Then I practiced telling the story in 7-10 minutes, then 5 minutes, then 3 then 1 minute! A twitter-like experience where you had to get to the core of your story. Once you know your core points, you then rebuild it back to the story time allotted for you. THAT was a long process since I was getting too focused with my time initially. I put down in bullet points what those core pieces were (1 minute version), then I was able to wrap it back up with appropriately segued mini-stories to form the whole story.

So this was the result:

Seeing oneself in a video is itself a learning tool and though we are our worst critic it is a good tool to use for future versions of our storytelling sessions.

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