Storytelling is important in getting our stories across. In fact if you look at most major ideas and really any product or entity like a company it’s really the stories that we are attracted to. And these have been taken from the word form over the years, now in most of our lives we have to engage with an audience, whether that is when we are making a presentation, or regaling our friends about that time last week when so and so happened.
Being able to formulate a story, structure it and deliver it is important more than ever today. Face it, everyone wants to be able to captivate an audience with their words. Being able to do this successfully is not always easy, however.
Luckily, with a little know-how, we can weave stories that will have people wanting more. Here are 8 sure-fire storytelling techniques to help make you a better public speaker, storyteller, and a better marketer.
The hero story whereby a hero moves from one point to another gaining strength, learning and coming out on top is a form of storytelling called the monomyth. Monomyth is a method of storytelling that has been around for ages.
It follows a hero on their journey into the unknown, where they are forced to overcome obstacles before returning home with a reward. If you want to show the benefits of braving the unknown, then monomyth is a perfect technique.
Many of the movies that are we watch today, are primarily based on the monomyth form of storytelling. Even when you look at superhero movies, down to the Oscar-driven drama movies, generally it is an extrapolation of this form of storytelling. In fact, it is the most popular form of storytelling that you will find in prepackaged media such as TV shows, and flims
If you watch soap operas, or longform TV series whereby the story has an arc that goes over a season, for instance “Game of Thrones’, then you’re very well familiar with the mountain form of storytelling. The mountain is also another popular form in which a story has a structure that guides the viewer and helps them see the maturation of the different events and participants from when their beginning to their end.
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Here, you are more focused on showing the progression of drama as it escalates. If you want to show how you overcame a series of challenges over time, building up the tension slowly, before giving the audience a satisfying conclusion, then the mountain is ideal.
The Nested Loops
Watch a lot of interviews like TED talks or Joe Rogan’s podcast or one-on-one conversations? Then you will hear this form of storytelling because it is one in which one person tells the audience how they came up with an idea. Usually it is slightly more sophisticated in that is not a simple straight storytelling. this is usually a person who knows about storytelling and is presenting themselves or an idea.
If your goal is to explain a thought process or how you were inspired, show how wisdom was given to you, or if you like using analogies, the nested loops is a perfect technique to consider. It allows you to elaborate or explain the main message of your speech.
Today we engage with a lot of internet media, particularly landing pages for products and or services. And within this form of Media we find the sparklines form of storytelling. Things such as call to action and testimonials are based on the sparklines form of storytelling or rather it is an extrapolation of that form
For a visual representation of your speech, sparklines are the way to go. It helps to draw the audience’s attention to problems and inspire them to take action by creating hope and excitement. When you are hoping to use your speech and story to create a following, sparklines can help you make it happen.
In Medias Res
With a lot of conceptual movies, or arthouse movies you’ll find this type of storytelling. And it’s the type of storytelling in which the story begins somewhere you don’t know, whether it is the beginning or close to the end, but usually it is somewhere in the middle or the end and then it proceeds with the story.
It really grabs attention because you are trying to orient yourself as to the point in time the events are taking place. At some point it is revealed, however throughout the whole sequence it grabs attention.
With this method, you begin in the middle before working your way back to the beginning and through the whole story. It is a great attention-grabbing technique that will have the audience wanting to know what happens next. It is also ideal for focusing their attention on the main point of your story.
If your story is about a team that came together to form one idea, you will want to use converging ideas. It is a great way to show the audience how an idea developed over time, but also to show how relationships have formed.
You’ll find this form storytelling in biographies of companies usually, and in other subjects but for the most part autobiographies will generally inhabit this form. Historical stories also take this form because of the fact that they assimilate different events and series of events to help the viewer or the audience understand the results that came of those events
The False Start
You might encounter this type of storytelling at the pulpit on a Sunday. Preachers generally gravitate to this form of storytelling because they have to grab the attention of an audience who is following them albeit passively. And so the preacher wants to ensure that they are actively listening and utilized the false start to jolt the audience.
If you want to throw off your audiences’ expectations about your story, a false start is a perfect technique. It is sure to keep your audience engaged while also showing them how being flexible is such a beneficial thing.
The Petal Structure
This one is a complex form of storytelling, however when it is executed nicely it is beautiful. In some places where you might see this are in conferences concerning a particular subject or a series of subjects. Sometimes there might be different speakers talking about the different facets of the same subject in effect to illuminate the subject from its various angles.
When you want to tell multiple stories or speakers that are focused on a single central theme, the petal structure is a great option. It is also a great way to show how different factors can all relate back to a single theme, which can really clarify the importance of your message.
It may take some time and practice to perfect any of these storytelling methods, but once you have them down pat, you can captivate any audience. And there is no shortage in examples. These methods are all around you; pay attention and you can catch them everywhere.