Being a good storyteller is a fun little party trick that people don’t think about. Being able to hold a room’s attention with your words is a skill that many people don’t have but is one that can enrich any environment. I think that’s why we all know that storytelling is the world’s oldest form of entertainment. Sure, maybe it’s not being done around a fire in the middle of the woods as often as it used to be like our ancestors did, but people are telling stories at local watering holes, at work, at school, and at social gatherings. The beauty of storytelling is that everyone is capable of it. And the more you tell a story, the better it gets. From experience you can see what parts of the story really hit a note with the audience. You can get quieter or louder to emphasize certain points and really make sure that the story marinates as you continue to tell the story through years and years to come.
It’s also a great way to bring people together in a way that if you’re telling a personal story (and assuming that you’re not trauma dumping) it allows for you to be vulnerable and connect with others. In your story, how you tell it, what actually happens – it gives insight to the people in the room of what type of person you are. In turn, they will be more invested in the story itself. This itself should be an incentive into becoming a better story teller as it leads to being able to form stronger relationships with close ones and new friends.
But you can’t just pull stories out of nowhere. You have to go out and experience life. You need to be able to put yourself in the position where you can try new things and make mistakes. I don’t regret much in life because of this. Embarrassing moments, moments of heartbreak, shitty situations – I just view all of them as fodder for storytelling in the future. The times that I leaned in for a kiss and didn’t get one, the times that I’ve gotten kicked out of a club, or how about me spending 2 hours trying to leave the airport in Japan? All very stressful and bad at the moment, but I’m better for it as I can learn and tell stories over it. Do it for the story!
And although being a good storyteller is important, it’s just as important to listen. When others are telling stories, listen to how they narrate. See if you can add to the discussion, without taking the limelight from the other person. Everybody is different in their storytelling approach. Some people are more linear, some are more dynamic, some people like to lull the audience into certain turning points – then BAM. What can you learn from others to better your storytelling? All too often people are just present when someone is talking. My friend Garrett – good guy, but you can literally tell him about your day and problems and the moment you’re done, he’ll start talking about something completely random because he was waiting to speak when I was done. Are you hearing or are you listening?
Are you a good storyteller? Do you have a favourite storyteller? What makes you a good storyteller? What makes your favourite storyteller your favourite storyteller? Let me know in the comments!