Telling A Good Story

A well-told story can feel like magic. What you need to remember is that behind all magic is good technique and years of practice. If you know the elements of a good story you can use them to enrapture a crowd and make your words memorable for a very long time.

A Good Story is Understandable

Yes, I know, duh. But I think we have all heard our fair share of stories that make absolutely no sense. You need to make sure that at all times your listeners understand what is happening, and are able to follow the thread from the very beginning all the way to the end. This means avoiding long, meandering side plots, or adding subordinate details that become distractions from the story as a whole.

A Good Story Has a Point

Again, duh. However, we have all sat through stories wherein we found the meanings undefinable. Most pointless stories are told by children, but a lot of them are not. When developing your story, begin with what you want people to remember when it is all over. Make sure that information is central to every detail that you include, and that each one informs every decision you make about how the story is told.

A Good Story Creates a Connection

A good story resonates with listeners if they have can relate personally to some aspect of it. No, they haven’t had the exact same experience, but they have been in similar situations, or had comparable desires or disappointments. There are universal experiences and emotions to which we all can relate. Tap into these with your story and you will be able make your audience place themselves within it and go along for the journey.

A Good Story Includes the Details

Every story is based in some universal experience. Boy meets girl, girl overcomes adversity, boy helps others, etc. The details are what make your story unique and why people want to listen to it. But, while the details are important, minutiae is not. Learn how to know the difference, and don’t let your story get bogged down in elements that are unnecessary.

A Good Story Has an Element of Suspense

There is a reason true crime podcasts are all the rage. I mean, other than the fact that some people are real sickos. People like the unknown feeling of what could happen next. That little sense of tension, and possibly foreboding, makes it all the better when the story resolves. Think about action movies: even though you know the main character has to make it out alive the excitement comes in the fact that this time he just may not. Now, I’m not saying that your story needs to have the possibility that you may be eaten by a huge shark (although that would be cool) but having an element of suspense or mystery will keep you audience on their edge of their seats, anticipating every word.

A Good Story Includes Moments of Humor

People like to laugh. It helps them relax, it releases endorphins, and it makes them feel like they are part of a community. Every story, even the most serious ones, should have some moments of levity. In fact, the more serious a story, the more it needs some humorous moments to give the audience a moment to breathe. Even gallows humor will help ease the tension.

In addition to moderating the mood of the crowd, moments of humor make your story more memorable. Chances are you can easily remember a joke you were told, or a line from a funny movie. Once recalled, you can also recollect the circumstances in which you first heard the joke, or the plot of the movie where the line was spoken. Moments of humor create touchstones that make recall of details easier.

Stories are the best way to reach people. Once you know how to successfully tell them, you will begin to build trust and connection your audience. This, in turn, will lead to greater growth and success for both you and your brand.