How do you rank as a class act?
How can you tell if your story is a magical journey for your audience?
- You can see it in their eyes. Their pupils widen with excitement. They smile.
- They even laugh out loud on occasion.
- They never take their eyes off you.
They hang on your every word.
- They are on the edge of their seats leaning in to what you are telling them.
- Your words draw them out of whatever place they were in before your story began.
- They rush up to you after you finish, wanting to engage with you in some aspect of your story.
- They follow up with emails and text messages. They never want your story to end.
- And, they tell their friends about what they’ve experienced.
How does this happen?
First, it’s no accident. Your intention is to tell your story in a way that excites people and leaves them wanting more.
You have a strategy which you play out at each storytelling occasion.
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Here are 9 ways to do it.
1. Talk to yourself before every storytelling event. I would say “energy up” out loud to myself before going on stage to begin my story. This is my way to refresh myself with the energy needed to “infect” the audience.
2. Look into their eyes and hold them with your stare.
3. Pick someone out in the audience who is returning your energy; play off them to hold yours.
4. Tell a story which is different from what they’ve heard before, not the same-old same-old they have heard by dozens of storytellers before you.
5. Be passionate about your topic; it is infectious.
6. Mix up the cadence of your story; do anything to avoid a monotonous rhythm.
7. And vary your volume as well. I rarely need a microphone in some parts of my story and I force my audience to listen hard to the softer parts.
8. To stimulate curiosity and interest, create your own words. I use words like “CRAP” to drive home my message.
9. Know your stuff. No, I mean REALLY know it so it oozes from your veins as a natural expression of who you are.
People get it that way. Treat your story not as an intellectual exercise but as an emotional experience. Not knowing your story can really mess up your flow and detract from the aura of it all.
If your story “takes their breath away” you know you’ve done your job.
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