This Magic Monday, we reflect on ways to tell an impactful story.
Growing up, one of my favorite bedtime stories was Goodnight Moon. The simply drawn pictures of a quiet home as the main character, a young rabbit, says goodnight to various items in the house transfixed me.
I found it easy to imagine myself as the protagonist, eventually discovering that the repetitive nature of the story was enough to leave me drowsy afterward and ready to say “goodnight” myself– all according to design, I now realize.
Stories have an extremely profound effect on our brains and ability to connect to the past and to each other. Stories allow us to identify with the various characters and become engulfed in their worlds – an invaluable method of connecting us instantaneously and personally to our listeners and vice versa. Author and CEO of Executive Speaking Inc., Anett Grant, insists compelling narratives require the three basic elements listed below. With these elements in mind, you too, can quickly become a skilled orator:
1. Build Anticipation
“Your audience wants to know where you’re going,” Grant describes. “The more your listeners can anticipate where you’re going, the more engaged they become.” Contrary to what some may think, allowing a glimpse of what is to come early on does the exact opposite of ‘ruining the surprise’ (think of movie trailers!).
2. Share Personal Experiences
Perhaps you noticed my not-so-subtle use of this in my intro paragraph. Did you, by chance, find yourself reflecting on books you read when you were younger or that you read now to your children? Instant connection!
3. Keep It Short
Deciding what is absolutely necessary to include and what should be excluded to avoid confusing – or worse – losing your audience can be a real struggle. To help, ask yourself:
- Why am I telling this story?
- Does this part matter to my listeners?
- Will it affect their reception or understanding at all?
Depending on the circumstance, plotting your story ahead of time is also a great plan!
With these three keys in mind, it can be easy to start instantly connecting with people through a quick story or two and begin creating more personalized moments of magic. What are the ways you can connect with your audience through the power of a good story?