What is the best definition of storytelling? Do you prefer it when something is entertaining? How about serious or empowering? Is it inspirational, informative, or all of them?
In this blog, we will discuss the essence of sharing stories that matter and how to be an effective storyteller.
WHY DO WE NEED TO TELL A STORY?
1. Stories Enlighten- Stories can give us new knowledge or challenge our own beliefs and stories that help shed light on information.
2. Stories Move and Motivate- Our job as a storyteller is not only to tell stories but to engage, empower and move people to tell stories of their own.
3. Stories Stay- Stories that have a positive impact on people’s lives are considered timeless.
HOW CAN WE TELL STORIES?
The approach to the different issues is not plain and linear. We can use art and stories. It can be addressed through spoken poetry or songs to push our own advocacy.
In addition, the media has the power to set an agenda for the people in the community. So, when we neglect stories, the reader might just neglect them too, and that’s why it is important to highlight issues for us to tell stories that really matter.
THE ART OF STORYTELLING
Understand the Power of Your Voice
Everyone’s opinion matters. Even when dealing with complicated challenges like poverty and climate change, a wide range of viewpoints is essential to guarantee that people’s experiences are considered when building future solutions.
“Stories are important because they have effects. A person’s life is defined by the stories they choose to tell.”– Jacqueline Novogratz
Becoming aware of your motivations for narrating a particular story gives you the power to:
- Direct or re-direct the audiences’ perspectives on specific issues by telling stories.
- The stories you will tell depend on you. By offering fresh and different ideas or perspectives, the stories you choose can influence your life and the world around us.
- Stories can also help people feel less isolated or lonely. When somebody hears someone’s telling his own story. Listening will not only help the storyteller feel understood, but it also helps the listener see themselves in the story. The connection benefits both the storyteller and the listener.
- Stories are the original form of virtual reality because they allow you to put yourself in the shoes of another person. A single voice can expand the frame and reveal how we are all connected by the experiences we share, which happens when one person’s narrative connects with others.
2. Offer a meaningful contribution to the world by sharing the lessons you’ve learned from your own life’s journey. Instead of employing empathy to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, you can stay on your own and build solutions based on what you’ve actually been through yourself.
3. Participate in shaping social movements. Be a part of developing social change. You have the potential to inspire people to change the world by sharing your own personal stories.
Stories provide the language and abbreviations needed to keep a movement moving forward. Working Narratives is a social justice organization that encourages communities to combat injustice through stories. Because it “is not merely a form of publicity but also an organizational technique,” they say that storytelling aids social change. Stories go in every direction, as they say. People respond to your narratives differently. They can either believe or question them. Furthermore, they may develop unity by sharing their own memories through an interchange you orchestrate.”
Using these strategies to convey your story even in small ways can help you be ready to stand up and speak your narrative on a larger platform in the future.
While maintaining a polished image and presenting yourself and personal experiences to the world is enticing, perfection serves as a barrier to the actual connection. Contrary to popular belief, being vulnerable creates trust with listening people. Instead of putting up an act, trust is developed when people give their real experiences like mistakes, failures, and behind-the-scenes confessions. Others can relate to someone who shows vulnerability.
Making a difference in the world means taking chances that help you stand out and inspire others. People who share your values and ideas will be drawn to you if you are real. However, speaking up for what you believe in can discourage those who aren’t supportive of your stance, allowing you to focus on those likely to help your mission.
Speaking openly about your failures encourages and motivates your audience. Every obstacle you confront provides an opportunity to share a narrative of responsibility, repentance, problem-solving, or forgiveness.
The goal of being genuine is to understand when you avoid the whole narrative from fear of rejection, disapproval, or criticism. Identifying what you want to express with your story will allow you to assess your courage when sharing a story that matters.
Set Your Intention
What specific change do you hope to bring with each narrative you tell? Intentions drive stories that matter. They matter when they are aimed to achieve a particular purpose or change the listener’s mindset. When thinking about what story to share, take note of these goals.
- Personal Goal
To better understand this goal, ask yourself: What is my primary reason for presenting this story?
For example, sharing information that improves someone’s job or life more direct could be a way to share knowledge in a specific context. If you are a social entrepreneur, the most important story you’ll tell audiences is about your organization and why it’s important to you. It is important to tell your entrepreneurial story in a way that inspires others to join you in your mission.
- Audience Goal
Even if your reason is purely personal, you should keep the listener’s perspective in mind. Listeners want something in return for their time and attention, whether knowledge, a lesson, or entertainment. An example is to focus a racial justice campaign on a progressive white community. Its purpose is to shed light on any misconceptions about the problem. As a result, they’ll be better able to connect their activities with their values of promoting racial justice. You may envision how these goals might change depending on the target audiences.
- Delivery Goal
Setting a goal for how you intend to communicate your message might help to clarify your message. It doesn’t matter whether your purpose is to “explain” or “inform.” You need to build emotion and empathy into your delivery to give your story a good chance to stick with a distracted listener.
Format, style, length, and tone considerations become more accessible when your aims are clear. To tell a story that matters, you need to know your own purpose, the result you want for the listener, and the feeling you want them to feel.
In the end, people can change the world by sharing their stories. But it’s up to you to choose what you want to tell. Determine what narratives you want to share by realizing the full extent of your ability as a storyteller. Open yourself up to allow yourself to be vulnerable in your storytelling. Finally, set goals for the outcomes you intend to achieve through sharing your stories.
Remember, every person has a story to tell, and each one is unique. Those untold experiences could actually become an eye-opener for many. So, why not share your own story?