Five tips for telling your own story — Mr Feelgood
SAVE ONLY THE FIRST AND LAST LINE
“Don’t memorize your story, but memorize the first and last line. This is a complete game changer. We got this tip from a storyteller called Joel ben Izzy. It honors the listener and makes your story more professional by not slipping or stopping. Know how you are going to open and respect the landing. I can’t tell you how many times people come to the end of their story and say, “So yeah, that’s my story anyway…” That’s not the last line of your story!
MIX THE DETAILS
“We always suggest people consider adding four details to their story: a visual detail, an auditory detail, a somatic or kinesthetic detail, and a numerical detail. If everyone did this, their stories would level up. Rather than describing an emotion, describe the physical embodiment of the emotion. So if we’re describing being at a party, instead of saying, “It was really busy,” you can give a kinesthetic detail: “I felt sweaty shoulders pressing against me. Or give a numeric detail, a specific number, “There were 75 people in a 540 square foot apartment.” And don’t say “I was nervous”, rather say “I have a dry mouth”. If you can give detail in those four different categories, it really fleshes out your story and engages your audience in all those different ways.
ADD MYSTERY OR SUSPENSE
“Often what made an experience memorable at the time was that you felt a mystery or suspense that was then resolved, but then we forget to keep that ingredient when we tell it. Don’t start your story by saying, “This is a story about how we almost won the championship. Add some suspense and let the story build until it comes to light. Or, add some mystery, where something happens that is not fully explained to the audience until the end. Kamala Harris used this technique in presidential debates. She told the story of a little girl on her way to school on the bus, then revealed at the end: “That little girl was me.”
BEWARE OF FILLER WORDS
“We hear a lot of concerns about filler words, ‘like’ and ‘you know’ and things like that. But when it comes to storytelling, they’re not the worst. The main things to look out for when telling stories are “and” and “so”. They sap the power of the story and when we remove them it becomes much more compelling.
USE THE POWER OF PAUSE
“One of the courses I teach at Business School is called Acting With Power. It’s about presenting yourself in a way that is both empathetic and connected, but at the same time believable and authoritative. And pausing is almost like secret power. There are two kinds of pauses, the pause between ideas which allows the meaning to settle, which is really critical, and there is the other pause which is called the dramatic pause, where you cling to the edge , then we land on it. The power of the break is truly amazing.