Stories are powerful. In fact, nearly all of the lessons we learn in life come in, and are remembered in, story form.
A well told story has a beginning, a middle and an end. There are highs and lows.
And to be effective, it needs a point.
Some stories need a little background information. Some don’t.
My father was the story-teller in the family.
Growing up I always sat in rapt attention as my father told his stories.
On the other hand, my mother was the talker.
I guess I ended up being somewhere in the middle but one thing I learned early on was how much a story could captivate an audience; whether it was an audience of one or a thousand.
So I started to collect stories and I guess I’ve gotten pretty good at it.
In retelling the stories we must remember to try to keep them as close to the original as possible for two reasons:
- The stories themselves need no embellishment
- We never know who might be listening
Once I remember a friend telling me about one of his adventures only to realize that he was talking about me. He was telling MY story.
When I asked him why he decided to exaggerate what had happened and that it had happened to him, not me, he replied, “It makes it more dramatic.”
Nope. Exaggeration or inaccurate facts weaken a story because people begin to wonder if the story was completely made up.
The truth itself is incredibly powerful. Never forget that.
So what make stories so powerful?
Our days are spent gathering and analyzing thousands, if not millions, of pieces of information so it’s easy to forget things unless we can link them together – that’s where stories come in.
Stories help cement ideas and thoughts to memory.
Facts are dull, while stories are full of passion.
Facts are lifeless, stories breath.
Facts are forgotten, stories become etched in our souls.
And most importantly, stories connect us.
We all have stories to share; from personal dramas and work related issues to hilarious episodes and emotional rollercoasters.
And what we choose to keep in our memory bank is a reflection of our values and hopes.
We store that which we attach value to.
As I sit down each day to write these posts I try to two things in the back of my mind:
- What do I want to share with my readers?
- Is there a story I can use to convey the message?
Telling a story is an art form.
And like any art form it takes time and practice.
But improving our ability as a storyteller is one that pays off big as stories have the power to convey whatever message you choose.
They are just as effective with our children as they are with our clients and friends.
Long after the teller is gone, stories are remembered and with them, the messages contained within.
Many of us tell a story but a storyteller weaves a tale of adventure, mystery and humor.
The next time you hear a good story commit it to memory.
Then share it with as many people as you can.
Like anything else, the more we practice something, the better we get at it.
In time you’ll find yourself able to offer a wide range of stories in a variety of situations and you’ll be surprised just how powerful that can be.