Storytelling: Why Tell A Story And How To Tell Personal Or Emotional Stories

Telling a great story can be very memorable to your audience.  A great story entertains, it may share a lesson, and it is likely to trigger an emotional response in your audience. Here are five characteristics of a great story.

A Single, Clearly-Defined Theme

Having a clearly-defined theme will help keep your story on track and give you focus as your spin your tale. It can be tempting to approach your story from many angels in one telling, however, keeping your story progressing along one single theme makes it easier for you to prepare and also easier for your audience to follow along. Linking your story’s theme to your overall message of your presentation provides extra reinforcement on your message.

A Well-Developed Plot

A well-developed plot gives your story depth and richness. It lets you go deeper on a smaller amount of material and gives your audience a richer listening experience. As you craft your story, plan to go deeper than wider. Drill down and fully develop your plot, versus painting broad brush strokes.

Great Characterization

Believable characters are important to a story. Make sure you take the time to develop your characters as you tell your story. Give enough detail about characters so your audience can paint a picture of what they look like physically and also what their attitude or demeanor is like. You can make comparison to the looks of famous people, if that helps paint the picture, for example “his had blue eyes like Frank Sinatra”.

Faithful to Source

Avoid embellishment of story details just for the sake of dramatics and making the story more interesting than it was. If your story can’t stand alone without twisting the truth, than perhaps you need to look for another one. There is a temptation to make things sensational; however, often times, the simple and less dramatic stories are some of the most memorable.


How you tell your story is as important as making sure your story stands out. Don’t rush through your story, take the time to spin your tale, building up to the highlights and moderating your voice tone as you go. Variation in voice level can also add drama at just the right points. You can approach story telling a bit like a dramatic presentation. Facial expression, gestures, and timing all come into play. Practice the delivery of your story to a different people and get honest feedback. This will help you fine tune your story until it is perfect.

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