Storytelling: an essential part of human nature

“Stories, metaphors, myths and legends, together with their relatives anecdotes, similes and analogies – have all been used as methods for communication and teaching since time began..” Margaret Parkin In her book, Tales for Trainers, Using Stories and  Metaphors to Facilitate Learning” (Kogan Page, London, 1998), Margaret Parkin  encourages trainers to harness the power of storytelling to communicate information, educate and motivate in ways that stir the imagination.  Storytelling as a technique to capture the listeners’ interest, however, is relevant for everyone who would like to make their point not just at a surface level but also to help listeners to find personal parallels and sometimes to reflect on more difficult issues in an accessible way. Everyone loves a good story! With a little bit of practise, and following a simple outline, anyone can learn to use them very effectively in presentations, speeches or in general conversation. The “Story Spine” As developed by Ken Adams and described by Kat Koppet “Training to Imagine”, Stylus Publishing, USA, 2001 You fill in the blanks… Once upon a time… Everyday… But one day… Because of that… (repeat as necessary, probably 3 times) Until finally… Ever since then… (Optional:  And the moral of the story is…) To begin with, start your practise by taking any story or fairy tale you know from childhood – we are sure you can make it fit this template. Next, experiment with your own stories to recount your experiences. Play with the wording and links to stamp your ownership on the story. For example, “Once upon a time…” could be “10 years ago, when I first joined this...

Rise to the challenge of impromptu speaking

It can be very daunting to be asked to “say a few words” at a party, dinner or special event – especially if you not given any advance notice. In many ways though, the duty or social speech differs substantially from a business presentation or speech and is much less complex. Often, the subject matter is one person or a group of people or it may be the event itself that is being celebrated. Follow our Top Ten tips and you will be able to rise to the challenge of impromptu speaking Take heart: you will usually have the full attention of the listeners without having to fight for it. Keep it simple and adopt the principle “tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, then tell them what you have told them”. Match your tone to the occasion: e.g. should you be serious or more light-hearted? Take your lead from the mood of the event. Introduce your topic and say a few explanatory words:e.g. “I am here today to tell you what a great year we have had in the company, where sales have increased despite the many obstacles we faced.” Create a “hook”: tell your listeners why this topic is important or relevant for them. Break content into three parts: no matter what the topic, restrict yourself to a list of three easy to find points. Use linking words and expression to create a natural flow e.g. the first thing I want to tell you, the second thing…” Elaborate on the basic points with examples or short anecdotes or brief stories for illustration. Remember...