How to Become A Master Storyteller
When it comes to hearing a great story, a story that inspires and moves you into action, what makes the biggest difference? In the end, it is likely your emotions; energy-in-motion.
All great storytellers use a formula based on the story arc. The story arc is a continuous storyline often used in episodic form for television, movies, video games and books. Each story or episode follows a narrative arc. It is through the arc of each episode or story that moves human emotions.
One of the best storytellers and writers in the world is Kurt Vonnegut. Mr. Vonnegut is the author of many books including Slaughterhouse-five, Cats Five and Breakfast of Champions. Like all prolific writers and storytellers, Vonnegut uses the arc of the story in a way that hits us deeply. It is always the arc or shape of your story that makes the biggest impact on readers and listeners.
Here is a masterful storytelling formula you can use when writing, speaking or sharing anything that’s important to you and others. Learn and practice this formula enough and you will become a master storyteller.
- Know the purpose of your story. Every story has a purpose. The classic books of all time were written to teach, inspire and motivate us. Master storytellers help people get what they want. Whether it’s a life or business context, know your purpose and the desired outcome you want to achieve when telling your story. The best stories in the world move and inspire people to feel better about themselves. This is helping people get what they want; a beautiful thing.
- Begin with the past. A strong, attention-grabbing opening makes a massive difference for your audience. What happened in your world in terms of the dilemma, challenge or obstacle? It’s okay to share some of the good things that happened. But we all know, “Life happens,” and life doesn’t always go according to our plan.
- Address the pain. It’s essential to get into your story and explain what happened that caused the pain. Human nature is to avoid or move away from pain, instead of moving towards pleasure. We all relate to pain even though we don’t like it. Get into sufficient detail based on where and to whom you are telling your story. Describe what the pain felt, looked and sounded like for you or the person you are telling the story about.
- Go into the future. What is possible in the future? Imagine for a minute what it would feel, look and sound like to live in the solution; to break through the dilemma, challenge or obstacle. Paint a picture because most people, about 70%, are visual. This is our primary modality for understanding the world around us; a picture is worth a thousand words. Use the level of detail that suits your audience.
- Cross the story chasm. Again, sufficient detail is important for storytellers. Your story will be different if you’re writing a 1,000 page book, in contrast to sharing a thirty-minute speech. Do your best to describe how you or your subject got where you’re going.
- Close with confidence and clarity. Summarize what you just explained in a way that inspires people to take action. Give your audience additional, sufficient clarity on what happened. A closing that leaves us unfulfilled emotionally misses the point.
- Inspire people into action. When you speak or write an amazing story you share a problem to which people can relate. You must sufficiently identify what the problem does to people. People become agitated when they relate to your story. And you, the master storyteller, show them the way to the solution.
When you tell a story in an authentic, masterful way you reveal emotion. Your emotion is what engages other people’s emotions. This happens because almost everyone can relate to problems, challenges and obstacles. And this is why closing with a compelling call to action will motivate and inspire people to take action.
Becoming a master storyteller requires lots of practice. Practice builds confidence through spaced repetition learning. The true masters of storytelling help people get they want. And so can you. There is nothing more important than helping people get what they want! This is the truest form of service to the world which is why we love master storytellers.
About Clifford Jones
Clifford Jones is the founder and managing partner of WealthNet Partners, LLC, a business and financial consulting firm specializing in planning, business development and wealth accumulation for business owners. He is the creator of The Purpose-Powered Business & Wealth Planning Solution; a 10-stage, strategic planning process for building any business and creating “real” wealth. You can connect with him at CliffordJones.com.