Have you ever been to a party where there was some person who was soaking up all the attention in the room just by telling a few stories? A person who captivated audiences at social events with a few details about their lives? Ever wondered how you could tell stories that have the same effect?
The answer: Practice your stories.
Everyone has their routines. Even the so-called naturals, who tout that they do everything on the fly, have practiced stories. Even routines are really just stories we tell over and over again. The Cube, Style’s EV or any bar con you care to name are stories with interactive components. The more important the story is in our life the more often we tell it.
Take a moment to think about what stories you’ve told repeatedly in your life. Then ask yourself the following questions:
- What does that story say about you?
- How do you think others interpret it?
- What does the story mean to you?
Answering these questions will be the first step in creating stories that are directly from your life. Once you’ve answered these questions go ahead and write the stories down. Read your story out-loud, or even better – record yourself reading it. Then move on to these questions:
- Is there a better way to tell it?
- Are there parts where you go on too long?
- Is the story in need of more detail?
- Can I add more emotion?
- Is there a part that needs clarification?
Answer these questions and then make some edits to the stories. Once that’s done, memorize the edited version of the stories. The easiest way to do that is by repeating the story out loud over and over. Block off at least 20 minutes of your day to practice.
From there, your practice will be in front of audiences. Any audience will do – friends or family – it doesn’t have to be someone you just met. Each time you tell one of these stories, pay attention to how people respond. And ask yourself the following:
- How are people responding to the stories?
- Do they ask questions trying to find more information?
- What emotional states are people in when they’re listening?
Use the answers from these questions to make a few more edits, continuing to refine the stories as you go. With practice, you’ll be able to hold the attention of entire groups of people, while simultaneously expressing the parts of your identity that are most attractive to the people you’re interested in getting to know.