We all love to hear a good story when it’s told well; whether it’s an actor telling a story on stage, a friend telling a tale at a party, or a colleague with great storytelling technique in the Boardroom.
Understanding how to tell a story effectively is a great skill to have, both personally and professionally; it’s also a great confidence builder for those moments you feel a little bit nervous or unsure. So here are my top 5 tips for Storytelling, which can be applied to telling any kind of story you can think of!
Read on below for our top 5 storytelling tips.
1. Beginning, middle and end
Every great story has a simple structure of a beginning, a middle and an end. This can also be called the Story Arc. When thinking about the story you are going to tell check that you know where these markers occur.
What is the Beginning of the story? And when does it shift and become the middle? You want your story to have a strong, clear beginning, perhaps some tension in the middle and then a resolution of some sort at the end.
For example the story of Cinderella: Beginning; Cinderella is a girl living unhappily with her mean Stepmother, being forced to cook and clean for the family. Middle; Cinderella meets her Prince Charming but will he ever find her again after she had to run away at midnight! End; Prince Charming finds Cinderella and they live happily ever after.
2. Visualise Your Story
When you are practicing your story really try to visualise the images you are describing. How can you paint the pictures in your audience’s imagination too? Try using striking and vivid language; also explore altering your pace and tone of delivery.
If you are telling an exciting bit of the story make your voice sound excited, if there is tension what happens if you speed up a little?
Every story needs conflict; a struggle or a moment of tension to keep us interested and wondering what is going to happen next. Make sure you thread some conflict into your story.
4. Show, don’t tell
When describing things about the characters or events in your story try to show them to your audience instead of telling them. So for example, if it is cold outside, instead of saying ‘It was cold’ you could say ‘as she left the house she felt the freezing wind on her face’. Or instead of ‘he was sad’ you could say ‘his face crumpled as he heard the awful news, and tears sprung to his eyes.’ This will help your audience to engage more with the story.
5. Practice, Practice, Practice!
The more you practice telling your story, and putting the previous 4 tips into place, the more comfortable and confident you’ll feel. Test it out on friends and get them to give you some feedback.
Once you start to feel confident, you’ll begin to enjoy telling the stories - and there’s nothing better than watching someone enjoying the story they are sharing!
We hope you found this storytelling article useful it was written by Phoebe Sparrow - Actor and City Academy tutor. City Academy run a range of adult acting, storytelling and screen acting classes - for beginners to advanced.