The Guide To Effective Storytelling

10 Do’s and Don’t for effective storytelling

Effective storytelling is an art that many people wish they had. Storytelling is a powerful tool which can be used to communicate complex information or messages in a way that is easy to understand and retain. 

You want to try digital storytelling, but lack the skills needed for effective storytelling. This blog post will teach you how to create engaging and memorable stories that will captivate an audience. By following these simple Do’s and Don’ts, you’ll be able to share a compelling story and build a better relationship with your customers. 

Do’s for effective storytelling

Effective visual storytelling starts with sharing a well written story. By storytelling, I don’t mean telling someone else’s story, but telling your own story. The way to do that is to identify the problem, share the details, and identify the conclusion. By sharing your story, you’re showing your audience how you solved a problem or challenge. You’re in the position to make an impression, and in the most effective way possible. 

1. Speak in the first person

The first person is the way of communicating when we talk with people—the person we’re speaking to. Examples of the first person are ‘I’, “Me’, etc. Talking in the first person means talking to someone you know that knows you. If you start telling your storytelling podcasts, as I said, in the first person, you want to focus the story from your perspective. 

You want your audience to relate to you and see the person you are in this story. It’s like, “When I started this journey, I started with no followers. Now I have thousands, and they are what got me where I am today. I have experienced challenges and triumphs, and now I want to share that journey with you.”

2. Be authentic

Create stories that resonate with your audience. You don’t need a degree to be an effective storyteller. Use your life as an example when telling your stories. Take interesting things that have happened to you as memories, and use that to improve your story. Use these regular stories for people to relate to your stories and help them understand your struggles just like everyone. Your story should help your audience understand your point and how it relates to their lives.

Choose characters who are relatable to everyone but with unique features that have your audience scratching their heads. Create a business storytelling that is new yet relatable to your audience. Use memorable characters from personal experience, I have discovered that telling a personal story with characters that are not like you is a powerful way to engage your audience. The best way to understand a person’s perspective is to be a character in their life. Try it!

3. Be clear and concise

It’s important to use simple language in the right places. Your brand storytelling should come across clear and concise. Make sure that the text is divided into the appropriate time periods. A well paced content allows the readers to absorb your story without losing interest or without getting confused with the information. 

Here is an example to understand this point: “So, my neighbor decided that it was the right time to plant a garden and so he and his wife got a compost bin. At the same time, I noticed a strong smell coming from my garbage. I asked my neighbor if the smell was from the compost bin, and he said yes. A lot of my neighbors were walking by and also commenting on the smell.”

4. Tell a true story

There are different types of storytelling. Some people prefer telling a story of a third person, in which they tell a story as an observer. Another popular style is writing your own stories. Now-a-days, audiences prefer reading to someone’s personal experience that is walking through a familiar feeling to them. Hence, to tell a true story, you have to include important details, such as names, dates, and people’s motivation. 

Engage your audience by creating your own story from a past experience or current happening. Don’t be like the person who asked the customer to tell their story. Showing interest in your customer means that you care about them. Ask questions. Show your audience that you care about what they have to say, so they’ll share more. You want to get into their head, so that you understand their motivations and desires.

5. Tell the whole story in chronological order

People don’t like to read long, drawn out narratives. Keep the reader focused by choosing a simple and interesting way to start your story. Choose a “hook” to start the story, then keep pouring details to keep the reader engaged. There are different ways of telling a story. You can mix up the timelines or follow a single continuous time. In a single time flow, every chapter needs to be a natural progression of the previous ones. 

Start with character building and then let the action unfold. Once you have an outline for the narrative, try it out in your head and then start writing. Imagine you’re the protagonist. The action would look something like a movie that depicts the story from beginning to the end. If you have a dedicated audience, you can also create mix timelines that keep the suspense intact.

6. Start with a hook or attention grabber

When you start with a story, start with a hook. A hook tells the audience a bit about the character and creates an unknown mystery that drives the story. Sometimes, this can be direct or in an indirect passive way. Next, build intrigue to build tension. Readers must have a restless urge to read and finish the story.

You need to answer the questions readers have at the end of the story. This sets the stage for the best story possible. Introduce stakes or a problem. As your character learns a lesson or gains something important, put a problem or stakes on the table. Build a story around the problems of the character and offer a suitable solution.

7. Keep your audience in mind when telling your story

What does your audience want? Are you making the right connections with your readers?What kind of feelings or emotions are you invoking to make a genuine connection? As you plan your story, keep your audience in mind. 

This helps you keep the story running and is much appreciated in the receival end. However, avoid cliché phrases that trigger lost interest in the audience. The past is no longer a prologue. Try using context and past experiences to build your stories and create a backstory.

8. Speak with conviction and speak about what you know

You want your audience to be inspired, intrigued, and passionate about what you have to say. When people are passionate about your product or service, they are more likely to buy. However, you don’t want to speak like an annoying salesperson, or act like you’re trying to impress them. Focus on telling a story about your product or service, but don’t bore your audience. Keep it simple and value adding for the readers. 

Your customers don’t need to remember every single detail. Your story should convery a quick and easy answer. If they need to research something while reading your story, it’s probably flawed and won’t bear results. Remember, your readers don’t need to understand your company’s entire story, they just need to be able to use your product or service.

9. Create an emotional connection with your audience

Your audience is more likely to remember what you said and how you said it than what you do. So, to really make an emotional impact on them, it’s necessary to use emotion triggering stories. Don’t write lists of facts and statistics to impress your audience. Don’t worry about making the story longer. Use the right feelings that will be easier for people to recall.

Also, when it comes to storytelling, you don’t want to over-inflate your point by telling too many stories or telling stories that make no sense. Aim is to entertain and draw a passionate audience for your personal or professional brand.

Read through how to tell a story effectively: 7 storytelling tips to get more insight into your Do’s. 

Don’ts for effective storytelling:

1. Don’t tell someone else’s story without their permission

It’s important to take the permission of the story owner before you tell it out loud. No one wants to get their personal story published without their knowledge. You give the customer something great by putting their story in words, but if the customer doesn’t give you permission to tell the story then you should skip.

Even if the customer tells you the story, it is inappropriate for you to use that as a background for your online publication. The worst case scenario is when you tell someone else’s story without their permission and they find out later. You need to make sure that your customer is comfortable sharing their story.

2. Don’t skip the necessary details or overload either

Although details are important, you shouldn’t go into detail that are unnecessary. It can be hard for your audience to follow a story that is too long and overloaded with lot of information. But don’t go overboard with the details, either. Tell simple stories , your audience will appreciate the simplicity of your stories. Sometimes, a simple story is all you need to capture the attention of your audience. 

Find unique and memorable ways to explain your story. It’s okay to talk about typical things in your story. However, you should always find ways to personalize your story. You should give your audience an inside look at the experiences that make you different. Let your audience get to know your employees or your customers. Using humor people like to laugh.

3: Don’t get too personal

It’s time to stop talking and start listening to your audience. You may be planning to tell a personal story. The first question that you should always ask yourself is: how personal is this story? Are you unsure? When you share a personal story, you should first be sure that it’s OK with your audience. 

You don’t want to go too far, because you don’t want to shock or offend your audience. Avoid sharing details about physical appearance or illness unless the story is related to your personal experience with the topic. Other personal details may also not be appropriate.

4. Don’t use jargon

In this first step, you want to avoid jargon and technical terms in your stories. This will make it easier for your audience to understand your points and relate to your company. If you want to use heavy terms, you want to explain it through stories or synonyms that people can relate to. 

Start by understanding the audience you’re talking to. Are they people in your industry? Business people? Every reader is different, so understand your audience before you start telling them your story. Even if they aren’t technical, they may use terms that you don’t understand, so it’s important to tell them in a way that doesn’t confuse them.

5. Don’t Be redundant

Whether you’re talking about yourself, your company or your customers, every word in your story should count. If you’re telling your story, make sure to use an active voice and avoid passive voice. An active voice is a great way to start a story. However, you want to avoid writing the story in a boring, conventional way. 

This can lead to creation of some relevant content. Some readers will remember every word of your story. They will remember everything that you said and will remember the specific details about your content.

6. Don’t be tentative or unsure about your story

When you start your story, your audience would like to know the backstory that clears the air. Start your story with: Why are you telling this story? What is your purpose? How it will help them?

As a storyteller, you want to get the listener hooked. To do this, you have to engage with your audience and bring them into the story so that they want to hear more. Give enough clarity in your content that makes readers sure of your authenticity as storytellers.

7. Don’t go too long-winded

If you have to take a breath just to tell your story then you’re doing it wrong. Telling stories in a way that is too long-winded doesn’t leave an impression. You are bound to get a loose listener, who doesn’t find the information as important as you do. You have to make sure your audience is able to keep up with your story. You have to ensure they’re staying engaged. 

You have to communicate the important information in the right way. Yes it’s true you have to take a breath. But you can’t spend two paragraphs describing how you were in a car accident. That’s a lot of information to take in and you’re losing the audience. The more time you spend describing the car accident, the less time you’re able to tell your story. It’s a good idea to keep things brief. 

8. Don’t sound too business-like

One of the most important aspects of storytelling is that you must sound like you know what you’re talking about. If you start sounding like you’re the vice president of a company and tell people what to do, no one is going to listen to what you have to say. Instead, your story should serve the information of entertainment, knowledge sharing and interaction.

Your story could be personal or professional but it should be a value addition read for your audience. You can share something you did that was an epic struggle for you. Help people learn from your journey and obstacles but do not sound like you are onto selling something.

9. Don’t be over emotional

Depicting emotions are important, but they shouldn’t be overblown. A good story will use elements of reality. Sticking to the facts and connecting them with logical premises will make your story more believable. It will also avoid unnecessary details that could potentially distract from the point of the story. In most cases, you can build the narrative around the content that’s your prime goal. 

While adding an extra touch, add a picture to the story. Your pictures can be of your own or of your clients. Your pictures can give depth to your story. After you’ve posted the story, you can share it on other social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This will help you gain more audience attention.

To learn more about the power of storytelling: why and how you should tell your story read the following space.

Summing up

Develop the right attitude first, make sure you’re prepared to tell the best version of your story. Making a connection with someone is a process that takes time and requires empathy. No matter how good your story is, you can never really connect with someone until you interact with them. The best stories are tailored to meet the needs of a specific audience. There are a variety of different niches where a great story will work.