Storytelling is one of the bedrocks of human culture. Apart from hunting, and courtship, there are few things that define and preserve human culture like storytelling. 

The art of storytelling is something that’s vast and undefinable, but a good storyteller is unmistakable when you see one. So, what’s the secret to telling a captivating and beautiful story?

We’re going to look at the storytelling process today, giving you some insights into ways that you can master the art of storytelling. Hopefully, the ideas below will give you the boost you need to figure out how to be a storyteller.

Let’s get started. 

1. Learn From Others

Storytelling is an oral tradition that gets passed down from one human to the next. When you see someone telling a great story, odds are that they’re not the writers of that story, and they probably watched someone else tell that story in the past. 

You can’t be a compelling storyteller and live in a vacuum. It’s essential that you watch others, invest yourself in what they’re doing, and pick up on their tactics in the process. 

2. Understand Narrative

A great story isn’t just one that’s told in a compelling way. Instead, the structure of a story is what makes it notable. 

The characters, the relationships, and the way that the narrative tenses up and releases at different points. Those factors are structural, and it’s possible to understand them on a deep level. 

The better you know the narrative of the tale you’re telling, the more compelling you can make it when you deliver it. Further, the better you understand narrative itself, the better you can deliver any story and become a truly great storyteller.

It might help to get a little storytelling training as you try to understand the idea of narrative. 

3. Become Selfless

We don’t mean this in the compassionate sort of way, although that’s never a bad idea.

Instead, becoming selfless means losing your self-consciousness and fears about public speaking. That’s a big task, considering that most people fear public speaking more than just about anything else. 

When you’re engulfed in the story and confident, though, you can truly tell it. Listeners won’t get distracted by your insecurities or your hangups. Instead, they’ll receive the story from you, someone who lets the story fill them up and spill out into the minds and hearts of the audience. 

4. Read The Audience

Another mark of an expert is reading the particular audience they have in front of them. Everyone receives stories differently, so it’s important to adjust your tactics to accommodate. 

Any great story has some kind of universal truth or some interpretation of that truth at its center. Those are things that anyone from any culture can relate to if the story is good enough. 

Your job as the storyteller is to shape the story in such a way that it gets through to your particular audience. You can’t do that if you tell the same story, in the same way, every time. 

5. Forget Your Pride

This sounds similar to “become selfless,” but it’s a little different. 

Forgetting your pride means removing your ego and your desire to “be a great storyteller.” Sure, everyone would like to be a great artist of some kind. It’s hard to deny that fact within yourself because recognition is validating and having a meaningful identity is something that people strive for. 

That said, a self-absorbed rendition of a story, however great, won’t last the test of time. Your ego gets infused in the delivery, and the performance becomes more about you than the story itself. 

That isn’t to say that you can’t infuse personality into the situation. You have to use your personality to convey any tale. That said, be on the lookout for self-indulgence, especially if you find that the audience is enjoying your story. 

6. Tie The Meaning Into the Audience

The best way to get people invested in a story is to make them see how it relates to them. That might mean making a little speech before the tale starts. 

Familiarize your audience with the relevance of the characters in the tale however you can. You can appeal to emotions, to logic, to ethics, or to current events in one way or another. 

That said, personal investment in a story makes it much more compelling. If you can weave the narrative through the lives of your audience, you’ll express the truth of the story much more effectively. 

7. Practice the Story

The final thing to do is the actual bookwork. You’ve got to know the story by heart and there’s no way of getting around that. 

Even if you want to change the story in different ways, you need to understand its structure to be effective with those changes. Read the story until you know it by heart, listen to renditions of it getting told by master storytellers, and tell the story while you’re alone. 

After a while, you’ll have the tale memorized like the back of your hand. That said, there’s nothing that says “master” about someone who forgets a part of the story and pauses while they look it up. 

While you practice the story, start to interpret it and understand its different forms. Any tale holds a number of interpretations, all of which hold a little kernel of truth. The more of those kernels you rake up and pack away, the broader the story becomes when you tell it. 

It might be frustrating to sit and memorize something like that, though. That said, note that you’re putting in work for a good purpose. You’ll soon be able to convey your understanding of a story through your own self-expression.

Gestures that you make and inflections in your voice add to the tale, and the better you know it, the more genuine those nuances become. 

Want to Learn More About The Art of Storytelling

The art of storytelling is complex, and it could take a long time to master it. That said, it’s one of the most “human” things to do. Telling stories and improving your ability to speak is invaluable. 

We’re here to help you learn more. Explore our site for more ideas on honing your crafts, enhancing your lifestyle, and learning new skills.