Human beings are wired for telling stories. It is an ancient art that dates back tens of thousands of years. This oral tradition set by the camp fire was kept alive from generation to generation, until recently when technology made it so that we no longer need to remember details. Just google it.
Most stories basically follow the same formula...
A well-crafted story-telling ability can help you take your everyday experiences and turn them into an opportunity to win an argument, sell a product, or simply entertain people. A good rule for story-telling, according to Carmine Gallo, is that 65% would fall under what Aristotle called pathos (emotional) story telling. Watch the following clip from 10:32...
or this clip featuring Quinones...
In addition to emotional story-telling, 25% would be logos (data) for support...
And the last 10% would fall under the category of ethos (establishing credibility)...
In addition, my experience as a tour guide has taught me jokes come in handy when talking to groups and can happily make up 20% of a talk...
The art of long joke telling can be challenging yet rewarding if done right. Here's George A. Hambach telling one of his signature jokes...
Here's what the BBC has to say about it:
Here are our top tips for telling a good story or anecdote.
- Take time to think about the question and the story before you start talking.
- Use narrative tenses – past simple, past continuous and past perfect.
- Use adjectives and adverbs to make the story interesting.
- Use sequencing words: first of all, then, after that, later on, finally, in the end ...
- Give your story an introduction. Say briefly what your story is about.
- Give the background to your story. Say when and where it took place and what you were doing at that time.
- Say what happened step by step. Use words like so, because and although to connect the actions until you reach the end of the story.
- Keep the action moving!
- Finish your story or anecdote by saying why it is important to you or why you remember it.
- Look at your listeners.
- Take too long telling the story or your listeners will get bored.
- Use a flat or bored voice.
- Look down or look around the room.
Examples of storytelling tasks
- Tell me about a holiday you had.
- Tell me about a difficult journey you had.
- Tell me about a perfect day you’ve had.
- Tell me about a special event in your life.
- Tell me about a birthday you remember.
- Tell me about a time when you lost something important.
- Tell me about a time when you gave someone a surprise.