The difference between a good storyteller and an excellent storyteller

I will tell you a secret. I am going to tell you one of the differences between a good storyteller and an excellent storyteller. Something that is definitely not visible but that fundamentally makes all the difference.

As listeners, we want to hear a story that passes through your mouth as a lived experience.  

Storytellers, be they teachers, lawyers, therapists, executives, editors, grandparents, parents, co-workers, friends, whatever role you are sharing a story from, whoever is listening will connect better with the story if it’s something you’ve lived through and not just memorized.

What do you mean Anna, then you mean that I can only tell biographical stories, of things lived and not more of things made up? 

Not necessarily. What I mean here is that stories are born for some reason. They describe places, characters and circumstances the way they are describing, for a reason. And that reason is understood differently by each listener, but regardless of what reason your listener was able to understand behind the story, the story must be yours to share. 

If it is not yours, even if it is biographical, metaphorical, self-authored or even by another author, then the storyteller will need to appropriate it. It is not just the words that describe a distant place that we need to appropriate. Going there just in your intellect will not be enough to connect really with your listener. He will realize that the story is not yours. And for a moment he you will wonder if it is worth making space and time to listen to you. 

And in a highly technological and virtual world, where micro seconds of attention are essential, the person who is consuming "you" wants to feel that you are "real". 

Como fazemos então para nos apropriar da história?

We hold hands for our imagination. The more nourished it is, the better this work of appropriation will be. senses e partimos. Se a história é no Egito antigo, então fechamos nossos olhos e vamos para o Egito antigo. Como eram as casas? Qual o cheiro que tinha no ar? As cores predominantes? E o som? Em qual estação do ano você está? Como são as pessoas? Ande pela cena, absorva a cena, sinta a cena. Você vai precisar abrir espaço e tempo para fazer esse exercício, mas te garanto que ele vai fazer toda a diferença na sua contação.

Of course, here I am speaking briefly, but fundamentally, this is it. Go there, walk there, talk to the people in the story, spend time there, eat there, enter the river, hold the sword in your hand, get on the horse. Gradually there will be there. And then, it's inside your heart and not just inside your head. 

Try to open this space and time to take a leisurely jump in history. Forget the words and focus on the place and then come back. You will not tell everything you saw and heard there, it will depend on the time available to tell this story and how much you want to engage in sharing, but surely what you choose to tell will be because you were there. The words that come out of your mouth will not only be from your intellect but mainly from your senses as well. These words will be your experience. Have you ever thought about having the opportunity to experience the stories we tell? How many learnings and experiences could we live? How much will we expand our world and work on our empathy, our ability to solve different problems from different examples? If we knew how to harness the power of stories on our evolutionary path, if we chose to open this space for them, probably many of the discomforts and ailments that we experience have lessened.

Hugs and good experiences… or better, good stories!


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