How To Be A Better Storyteller

How To Be A Better Storyteller

Inspired gabblers can turn even the most uninteresting anecdote into a captivating tale, while less confident talkers can mutilate everything they say. Be you in search of small talk, or a way to impress at an interview, there are techniques that can help you craft more salient stories.

The key to a compelling conversation is to “hook them from the start”, according to freelance writer Kat Boogaard over at The Muse. She suggests one way to do this is to forgo the perfunctory introduction and simply “jump right into the meat and potatoes”:

Not only does this approach give you the opportunity to answer the question right away — without getting caught up in the meaningless details — but it also likely hooked your interviewer. Now, she’s left wondering how it happened, why it happened, and what exactly you did to fix it.

Of course, once you reel them in, you have to keep your audience enticed. Boogaard explains that like any good story, you should have a middle and end to go with your beginning:

Have you ever listened to someone’s story only to be left thinking, “Umm, and…?” That person likely just told a narrative without a clear arc — meaning you were left with no resolution or conclusion, and instead felt as if you wasted minutes of your life listening to a completely pointless tale.

Having the composition trifecta gets you most of the way, though you can do better. According to Boogaard, you should use present tense and keep your story short.

After all, part of being a good communicator is listening, too.

5 Tips for Telling Stories That Are So Interesting Listeners Won’t Be Tempted to Pull Out Their Phones [The Muse]


  • A teenage boy is getting ready to take his girlfriend to the prom. First he goes to rent a tux, but there’s a long tux line at the shop and it takes forever.

    Next, he has to get some flowers, so he heads over to the florist and there’s a huge flower line there. He waits forever but eventually gets the flowers.

    Then he heads out to rent a limo. Unfortunately, there’s a large limo line at the rental office, but he’s patient and gets the job done.

    Finally, the day of the prom comes. The two are dancing happily and his girlfriend is having a great time. When the song is over, she asks him to get her some punch, so he heads over to the punch table and there’s no punchline.

    • I’m sorry, I knew straight away it was a joke and read the start and the end and skipped the whole middle.

      Glad I did too. Not that it was a bad joke but I was able to get the humour in a much more efficient way ?

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