Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. Whether you believe it or not you are a storyteller. Do you talk to a friend or family member about something that happened to you the other day? When your car is having some trouble and you bring it into the shop, do you talk to your mechanic about the series of events that brought you in?
It may seem kind of silly to think that conversations like these could be considered as storytelling but they are. To go one step further in storytelling I have a few things in mind of what makes a good storyteller.
1. Don’t make it complicated. Like I said at the beginning, Keep. It. Simple. Stupid. If you begin overthinking about how you can make your details in your story more interesting, you’re doing it wrong. Just let the story flow and feed off of your audience’s energy. Here is a simple template of what to keep in mind when telling your story.
2. Be observant with your surroundings. You can collect a lot of storytelling material from things you see on a everyday basis. Whenever I see something funny or out of the ordinary in my daily routine I take note and store that story away for later. People are really strange sometimes (Present company included.) and it makes for a good story when you can bring it up in a conversation.
3. Talk and listen to people. This may seem simple, but it is vital to becoming a good storyteller. In talking to people you get to learn about another world in which they have lived in. My favorite place to talk to people personally is the airport. Think about it, in a place like Atlanta Airport, one of the busiest airports in the world, you come in contact with hundreds, if not thousands of people from all over the world. Listening is the other half of this point because sometimes we have a tendency to just talk and not take the time to listen. This article about the art of listening is fantastic and I recommend that you read through it!
4. Be intentional with your conversations. Don’t just look to have a conversation for the sake of it, be intentional with your questions and conversation starters. I found a Forbes article about conversation starters that would be really helpful for anyone reading this post. That is another way to be intentional with your conversations, provide resources for the person you’re talking to. If you have a book, restaurant, or recipe recommendation talk about it! People love talking talking about popular books and especially food.
5. Get out of your comfort zone. Again this step seems simple but it can be difficult for some people. This step also seems like it should go at the beginning of the list but if you have already been doing all of these steps in the first place then you’re ahead of the game. Getting out of your comfort zone in the “type of people” that you would normally talk to is important. Don’t set boundaries on who you think you can or can’t talk to. Everyone has a story and you could be the one to find someone who has an incredible one.
I hope these steps were insightful or helpful to you in some way. I myself have a hard time with some of them but I am looking to improve so that I can master the art of storytelling.