How to tell a story successfully

Read this aloud:

“I want to tell you a story, something that happened to me about … oooh … 5 years ago. I’d .. er … just returned to the office… I don’t know… about 10 minutes late. Something like that. I’d had lunch with my wife; it was her birthday. Anyway, I was just about to sit down when my boss, in front of all my colleagues, looked at me and said….”

How does it sound? Boring, probably.

Now say this aloud:

“14th October 2015. Madrid. One week into my new job. 10 minutes late after lunch (my wife’s birthday). I’m sitting down, colleagues around me, when my boss says…”

More atmospheric, yeah?

Try telling stories with the Telegraph Technique (cut out as many verbs as you can), in the present tense (this way it’s like a film in front of the listener’s eyes, not a narrative of something they know has finished), take out anything that doesn’t add value and the more personal, the better.

A top executive once told me she’d learned on a training course that the Preacher’s Saying (Tell ‘em what you’re gonna tell ‘em /Tell ‘em / Tell ‘em what you’ve told ‘em) is storytelling. In my opinion, that’s structure, important to help your audience remember what you want it to remember, true …and if the oratory within the structure is poor?

Good technique will make your stories memorisable and memorable.

By the way, the real story of arriving late happened to me 30+ years ago in Saudi Arabia…. humiiating for me, unfortunately, and I really learned the lesson from that incident ten years later. … and that’s for another blog!

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