Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Tell It Better: Borrowing a story

The easiest possible way to start storytelling effectively is to borrow a story, preferably an old, time-tested one. This works well if you don't want to tell a personal story of your own, or don't have one that does the job you need it to do.

This is nothing new, more like a time-tested mode of storytellers around the world. Pro tip: Entertainment storytellers, from the Kardashians to Game of Thrones, retell stories all the time. Not only will no one notice much, you'll find your story resonates well with audiences precisely because it's familiar and well-structured. Here's how to try out borrowing stories:

  • Tell us the story of your team's work: Megan Moynahan's executive director of the Institute for Functional Restoration, and when she was invited to TEDxBrussels to speak about her institute's work in engineering the human nervous system, she needed to make the talk personal--even though the work was not her own. I worked with Moynahan to prep this talk, and think she accomplished it especially effectively by weaving some of her own story into the larger story of the institute's work, a tactic that allowed her to share her own enthusiasm for it. As you'll see, she was a fan long before she knew this would be part of her career!

Storytelling's the big buzz word in communications and marketing. But we've forgotten how this ancient art works. This "Tell It Better" series hopes to revive and hone your storytelling skills for any format, from public speaking in the style of TED to social media. Want a storytelling workshop? Email me at eloquentwoman AT

(Creative Commons licensed photo by Isabelle)

Got a panel coming up? Whether you're a conference organizer, speaker, or moderator, you'll have a better panel--and a sparkling discussion--if you plan with The Eloquent Woman's Guide to Moderating Panels. At just $3.99 in all ebook formats, it's like having a coach with whom you can prepare and bring on stage with you.

No comments: