There is an art to being a storyteller. I aspire to be that. I also aspire to be a writer. I believe I am both, but I just hope others believe the same thing. It’s funny but recently I have been talking with some of my friends that these do not necessarily go hand in hand.
I have a sister who was picked on horribly by some of my younger brothers and sisters. Her stories went a little long – and I sometimes wonder if she didn’t try to read how interested people were and embellish – just a little. Anyhow, my siblings called her, Rose (from the Golden Girls) whenever her stories were getting a little long. She is now a much better storyteller, but I think that it damaged her self-esteem a little early on when it came to storytelling – so that is not my recommendation.
Some of the people I know who are the worst storytellers – writers. I am not sure why but there is a lot of time I want to say, ‘too much exposition – get to the point.’ And yet they are the same ones who critique my peers on using too much exposition.
LOL – not sure what my point is here, but I do believe there is an art to good storytelling. Here are some of my suggestions:
- Have a story to tell.
- Get to the point – evaluate ‘is the extra build-up or follow-up necessary.’ Often I believe it is not, most of the people I am talking to are not stupid and needing to be walked through the story and if they need to know more they ask questions.
- Don’t ask the questions yourself – if your listeners aren’t asking, it probably wasn’t relevant to the story, or interesting enough for them to identify questions.
- Know your audience – if it’s offensive to certain populations, maybe it is best told to those one or two people who know you well enough to tolerate you even when you offend. And if it is in the field they work with or related to someone they know – you don’t need a long explanation of who or why it’s important. Which leads me to my final point –
- If you have to explain why it’s a good story to tell, you are probably wrong.
If you think of any points I may have missed – feel free to leave them in the comments.