To celebrate World Storytelling Day on 20 March Kat shares one of her stories.
World Storytelling Day focuses on the art of oral storytelling and it made me wonder what ‘telling a story’ is all about. What makes a great story? How can you make it interesting? When and why might it be relevant? Is it important?
We’ve all seen comedians holding the stage with their witty banter and hilarious anecdotes, but there’s also those who lose their audience within seconds… more often than not it’s because they don’t ‘know’ their audience, their delivery doesn’t ‘draw the crowd’ and their story is of no interest. For me, the importance of ‘grabbing’ your audience with what you’re trying to say can mean the difference between achieving what you want and falling by the wayside.
When I applied to Rambutan for an office vacancy I remember wondering how to make my CV and covering letter stand out from everyone else’s. The advertised vacancy was fun, vibrant and funky, (obviously reflecting how Rambutan was and still is) so naturally, I adopted the same tone with my application. Adopting and embracing the right tone for the company was every bit as important as the skills and experience I could offer them… a bad fit was not going to do anyone any favours, no matter how brilliantly I could do the job. This was my first hurdle; making my application stand out from the rest was just the initial step towards me telling my story (and wowing my audience) face-to-face at interview level.
My first tip on telling a great story would be:
• know your audience and tailor your delivery to them; a little research is important and will help you immensely with your quest to stand out from the crowd
Secondly, if you read my blog on ‘Creating space in the wardrobe of your mind’ last week you’ll understand that you can use your ‘submodalities’ to ‘paint a picture’ and add colours, flavours and sounds! Describe how the story makes you feel. Enriching the sensory experience of your story inwardly will help you to add those all-important flourishes your audience can almost ‘see’, ‘hear’ and ‘smell’. So:
• paint a picture. Creativity in storytelling is the difference between providing fact, figures and information, and actually immersing your audience in a much more memorable experience
Thirdly, have confidence in yourself, research your audience and your story will carry you far. The kind of confidence that lights bulbs, switches the audience on, and makes your story relatable. Be proud of what you have to say! Confidence and conviction will be far more likely to engage your audience than an unconvincing story, no matter how true it actually is. So:
• be proud and convincing with your storytelling. If you have a passion for your story, your audience will pick up on that and be more likely to relate to it
As a final note on the art of storytelling, I’m going to leave you with this fantastic piece of literary brilliance, found on one of my favourite websites, Twistedsifter.com. Enjoy!
Copywriter, Robert Pirosh, moved to Hollywood in 1934 with dreams of becoming a screenwriter. He found the names and addresses of all the directors, producers and studio executives he possibly could and sent them the following letter:
I like words. I like fat buttery words, such as ooze, turpitude, glutinous, toady. I like solemn, angular, creaky words, such as straitlaced, cantankerous, pecunious, valedictory. I like spurious, black-is-white words, such as mortician, liquidate, tonsorial, demi-monde. I like suave “V” words, such as Svengali, svelte, bravura, verve. I like crunchy, brittle, crackly words, such as splinter, grapple, jostle, crusty. I like sullen, crabbed, scowling words, such as skulk, glower, scabby, churl. I like Oh-Heavens, my-gracious, land’s-sake words, such as tricksy, tucker, genteel, horrid. I like elegant, flowery words, such as estivate, peregrinate, elysium, halcyon. I like wormy, squirmy, mealy words, such as crawl, blubber, squeal, drip. I like sniggly, chuckling words, such as cowlick, gurgle, bubble and burp.
I like the word ‘screenwriter’ better than ‘copywriter’, so I decided to quit my job in a New York advertising agency and try my luck in Hollywood, but before taking the plunge I went to Europe for a year of study, contemplation and horsing around.
I have just returned and I still like words.
May I have a few with you?
He went on to work for MGM and subsequently wrote for the Marx brothers. In 1949 he won an Academy Award for his ‘Battleground’ script, then a Golden Globe a few months later.