Creating a story

We all love stories. Every age, every culture, everyone loves a story.

That’s why  in your speech or presentation, you should use stories or anecdotes often to illustrate a point. 

The main reason why stories are so universally liked is that they create pictures in our head. We see the story and often we relate to the story, and we usually remember stories well after they are told.

 

How do you tell a great story? Well, the important thing is to bring it to life with active verbs and lots of adjectives. It’s much better to say, “The old, red truck trundled down the road.” than to say, “The truck drove down the road.”   

 

As soon as you insert colour, smell, taste and sound, your audience will respond by imagining the senses you paint. Here is another example. “The old woman munched the fresh bun, savouring the jam, even licking her fingers.” Is better than  saying, “The woman ate the bun, enjoying every morsel.”

 

Yes, “morsel” is a great, detailed word, so that might save the sentence. However, the first one will create more pictures and maybe make the audience drool.

 

Be specific. Don’t say,” The bird flew over the mountain and river.” Say, “The swallow soared over the peppermint mountain and dived down into the rapids of the river.”

 

Know how to build tension. This is achieved through “show don’t tell” and knowing when to finish the story. The show means describe what happens, don’t say it. “She was scared.” is ordinary. “ Sam crouched behind the couch.” creates that image again that your audience will relate to.

 

Endings are important too. You don’t have to tell the whole story. Leaving it on a cliff hanger is great. And don’t tell the audience the moral. They can read between the lines.  For example, it’s boring to say, “and so Mary never left her sister behind again.” It’s much better to say, “Mary stayed in her room all night.”


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