Top 7 Tips For Why and How to Use The Magic and Power of Stories
By Vincent Muli Wa Kituku
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The following are tips on how to select and tell a story with the hopes of informing and inspiring your audience.
- Identify the objective of the story. If the story doesn't help you make a point, don't use it.
- Identify your audience's age structure (children, teenagers or adults). Kids may be attracted by stories with plot and action. Teens and adults learn from a story with humor and from inter-playing with characters.
- Identify the social and intellectual level of your audience. Stories are like clothes -- "Not all sizes fit."
- Elements of a good story mostly include the plot or point of your story, the setting (place), the characters (two or three are easy to remember and less confusing), the occasion, the problem or conflict, and the outline of events.
- Make sure your audience knows when the story starts and ends.
- The lesson or insight of the story can be clear to the audience or alluded to by the speaker or storyteller. The moral of the story must be relevant to the audience and familiar to them. Stories can include a twist to the plot, a dilemma, an action and/or solution, and present a challenge or call for action.
- The techniques of captivating an audience include any action that makes them feel something (love, sympathy, scared, anger, hope, inspiration, hate, relief, grief or jealousy). Audience emotions are either directly generated by scene, characterization, and dialogue or are indirectly aroused through the reactions of the characters. When telling the story, your tempo must vary with action. Use rhythm to add emphasis to a story. Inflection is the rise or drop of the voice at the end of a word which adds meaning and emotion to a story. A pause (3-5 seconds) creates a listener's curiosity before a change of ideas or an important word or action. It also allows listeners time for reflection. Volume shows surprise, suspense, emotion or excitement.
Dr. Vincent Muli Wa Kituku is a native of Kenya and author of the successful East African Folk Tales For All Ages and other educational and inspirational books and audio tapes. He is a columnist, university professor, motivational speaker/ storyteller and seminar leader. He is also founder and principal consultant of Kituku & Associates in Boise, ID 83707
To learn more, contact Vincent Muli Wa Kituku at (208) 939-7216 or email Vincent@Kituku.com or visit the Web site at www.Kituku.com
Article Submitted On: November 29, 1999