Storytelling — The ultimate guide

Have you ever wondered why bedtime stories, fairytales, and fictional characters were so deeply engraved in our life right from childhood?

As children, we have minimal experience and knowledge; we often find ourselves lost in thoughts and confused in situations simply due to lack of knowledge. However, our parents have always found a way to break it down in the most simple yet interesting ways. Be it Cinderella or the tale about Santa, we have always found it easy to understand if narrated as a story.

Photo by Etienne Girardet on Unsplash

Storytelling helps you find a direction in your own way

No two humans in the world are the same! Period.

We have our own bunch of experiences, values, targets, and vision, and that may be similar to some other person in the world, but it is next to impossible to have it the same way as another. Hence whenever someone narrates a story to us, it becomes easy for us to interpret it in our own sweet way. We often end up relating everything to the situations we have been through and are able to make the best decision about ourselves. As a child has been conditioned to understand morals, values, and situations in a much better way when told as a story, let's get real and understand that we can never ever grow out of it. Falling back to the basics is the only way forward.

Give realistic examples

Be it a business pitch or a piece of advice to a dear friend, and one always finds it easy when the story is more real. People relate more to the real feeling characters even if it is completely made up. Imagine someone helping you cope with a breakup and to tell you about the love story of an ape and a dinosaur, which might make you feel a little lost. However, when you introduce fictional characters but make them sound real, most people end up understanding the situation in a much better way.

For example — My friend Rahul was once traveling alone in a bus when…….

An example that sounds real, with real characters and experiences are more relatable than those involving non-human expressions.

Empathize with your audience

We often get driven by our emotions and speak more than the comfort of another person. Empathy is the key that helps you understand what must the other person be thinking. A story will never have an impact if the person in front is not willing to listen. Sometimes we are so excited about sharing our experiences that we forget if the person needs it or is willing to hear us out or not.

Make eye contact — Make sure whenever you narrate a story, try and make eye contact and see if the person is interested. Keep an eye out for small hints from the listeners that might indicate when to stop or take a turn.

Ask Questions and validate — Storytelling can often be misunderstood as a one-way communication tool. Stories are always a two-way communication tool where our listeners often end up asking us questions such as why, when, what, how, and so on. If you see that the person has not uttered a word, it is always a good idea to pop a question to just help understand and validate the presence of your listener.

For example — “Isn't Rahul crazy?”

Watch your tone — Many a time it is observed that we do not speak keeping in mind our audience but the way we do in general. For example, we end up having a sweeter and softer tone when speaking with kids whereas we end up having a bold sound when speaking to a junior at work. Having control over your tone can really help make it easier for the listener to understand you. Besides, you must always decide your tone based on what story are you narrating and not always what is the position of the person with who you are speaking.

There is always room for a little bit of Humour

We have all kinds of jokes in the world, from bad to brilliant, sad jokes to fat jokes, dark jokes to dirty jokes. The world of memes and humor has made it very easy for us to keep ourselves sane in the most insane times. A joke or a piece of humor always helps people to break the cycle and get back in the game for good. It not only helps keep the environment light but also helps in engaging the users in a much better way.

Photo by Marija Zaric on Unsplash

Business is understood better with examples

Whenever you decide to use the art of storytelling in any business pitch, always remember you are dealing with a diverse audience who are excellent in their own field. This could also mean that your task is to sometimes break an existing ideology. Well, this could sound like a very tedious task but can be made easy if backed up with a graphical example. Add these to your pitch and create a room that invites healthy discussion and a more positive environment.

  • Introduce storyboards - just draw out your idea on paper and help give a picture to the words you narrate.
Photo by dix sept on Unsplash

Detailed Infographics — One of the best ways to include graphics to the information that needs to be presented. An infographic can be a simple way of showcasing your strategy and even mission. This helps the clients and teams to understand your vision without losing the details.

So the next time you watch a story on Instagram or post one on your WhatsApp, remember that they have been engaging you even if you do not remember it in the long run. A story has been the simplest yet one of the most powerful tools used for communication in multiple scenarios. Today we are seeing an emerging army of storytellers and they are exploring various new mediums to narrate it to their audience. Hope the next time you are watching a series, movie or even a street play just pay attention to how they engaged you and how their way of communication impacted your life.

The most powerful person in the world is the story teller.
The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda
of an entire generation that is to come. — Steve Jobs

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A passionate UX/UI researcher ,designer, academician and entrepreneur who intends to solve the problems with a sustainable and humanity first approach.

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Naina Jain

Naina Jain

A passionate UX/UI researcher ,designer, academician and entrepreneur who intends to solve the problems with a sustainable and humanity first approach.

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