One of the most important skills you should master as a speaker is storytelling. In this guest post Monika Sugiarto talks about how story telling has brought her success and shares her tips for creating stories. Monika is a Distinguished Toastmasters, certified World Class Speaking Coach, and owner of the website Your Public Speaking
We all are natural narrators. In today’s world we connect and tell stories through social media; look at Facebook and Twitter! Complaining is of course one way of telling a story. But that’s not what I am talking about. As a speaker you need to hone your proficiency; you need to know what story to tell and how to do it effectively.
My Experience with Storytelling
The first time I realized how powerful and successful story telling is was when I worked in the tourism industry. I was stationed in the Canary Island, a very busy holiday resort for Europeans, well -known for its sandy beaches and temperate climate. My company asked us to sell prepackaged miniature palm trees to our Swiss holiday makers. Palm trees do not grow in cold climates and therefore it wasn’t easy to sell these souvenirs.
The way I created a story around these souvenirs was: Imagine taking care of your baby palm tree and nurturing it to a healthy little tree. Before you know it you can relax under it in your swimming suit and your favorite shades. Pour yourself a glass of ‘Sangria’ and dream of your amazing vacation right in your living room! You will pat yourself on the back and say: “It was the best decision ever purchasing that baby palm tree, I can indulge myself whenever I want!”
That’s when things changed for me. I became the top sales person and my group unfailingly sold the most miniature palm trees. Swiss tourists were happily looking forward to their cold winter days.
How to tell a story?
A story that connects with your listeners needs to stir their emotions. It does not matter what story you tell, be it fiction, facts, dreams for the future or experiences from the past, they have to relate to your audience.
Tales have to be colorful and crystal clear. To be able to paint a picture in your listener’s minds you need to use dialogues. A conversation helps you position the happenings in the present. They give you the opportunity to laugh or cry, scream or whisper, be embarrassed or upset. Make them hear and feel the action and emotions of the characters.
Another very important point to succeed with your story is building up the momentum; intensify the predicament or the joy without sounding cheesy or over the top. The climax has to be clear. Tell them why you tell this story, there has to be a lesson, something they want to achieve or avoid. Make it memorable!
Great speakers are great storytellers. If you want to be successful, and want to get there fast, my advice is for you become an enchanting narrator. Make sure you write your story carefully and practice the delivery. Every word, pause, exclamation has to be uttered at just right time and way.
Storytelling will also help you discover your own character and very often your own humor.
About the author:
Monika Sugiarto, was born and educated in Switzerland. As a teenager she had dreamt of travel and getting to know the world with all its wonders and different people and cultures. Her dreams came true as she has lived in many countries while working in the tourist industry and together with husband and children fulfilled her duties on international postings in Jeddah – Saudi Arabia, Rome – Italy, Frankfurt – Germany, L.A. – USA, Tokyo – Japan, Sydney – Australia.
She currently lives in Indonesia and follows her second dream: Public Speaking. She learned from international professionals like Craig Valentine and Mitch Meyerson. You can visit her at her website Your Public Speaking.
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