By Danny Forest
Almost all the world leaders are great storytellers. It’s one of the most important skills you can ever pick up, and for introverts like me, one of the hardest.
Introverts have a hard time telling epic stories. By nature, introverts don’t like to attract too much attention, therefore lack the practice in telling their story, or any story really.
You’re not sure if you’re an introvert or not? No worries, read these 8 Signs You Are an Introvert article and you’ll know.
I’ve always considered myself to be an introvert. Yet in the past 7 months, the people I met on the road would never believe me. Without knowing it, I had become good at storytelling. Not the best, but good enough that people started listening to what I had to say. Like any skill, it’s something you need to develop over time.
Before we jump into the tips, think about people you met or know who are good at story telling.
- What do they have in common?
- How do they behave?
- What kinds of stories do they tell?
- How do they tell the story?
- What is their body language?
In my months of passive-to-active research on the topic, I came to some observations that helped me become more skilled at the art of story telling, and that’s what I want to share with you here.
The following tips should help introverts kick-start their learning of story-telling:
Do and Observe
Think about a recent (good) story you were told by someone else.
What was it about?
Chances are it was something the storyteller experienced at one point in time.
Was the experience great?
Probably not. In fact, most of the best stories are bad experiences, because they tend to be more eventful. “Event” being the key here. A story is all about unexpected events and how the “actors” react to them.
Now on the point of doing. Have you noticed how when you asked someone who’s doing the same routine every day, they always answers “same old, same old”? Doesn’t make for great stories now does it?
You don’t have to be doing epic things either. The best stories are not fabricated, they are experienced. The more you do, whatever it is, the more things you experience, and the more likely you are going to encounter unexpected events.
Even, a lot of times, a great story is about something you witnessed. By seeing the event unfold, you have a clearer picture of what happened and can recall it with greater detail and accuracy.
“All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” — Leo Tolstoy
In short: do and be inspired by unforeseen events happening around you.
Write and Visualize
So now that you’ve witnessed or have been part of an interesting event, you have to organize your thoughts clearly.
Being an introvert, my words don’t come out as easily by speaking as they do in writing. In writing, I have time to think about things and do a vivid and interesting recollection.
Start by writing the main events. Then add the details. Make the story as visually appealing as possible.
By writing it down and visualizing it in your mind, you’ll be better equipped to remember the important details of the story.
Tell and Refine
You can’t be a great storyteller if you don’t practice telling your story. It’s true for everyone, introvert or not.
Have you noticed how people tell really compelling stories that happened in their no-so-recent past? Their stories are awesome. There are no useless details.
“The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in.” — Henry Green
The reason it’s so good is because it’s not their first time telling it.
They told it hundreds of times. They observed people’s interest when telling it and refined the story over the years, cutting things out and adding juicy details here and there.
Storytelling is a skill. The more you do it, the better you get at it. Most of my good stories come from a distant past, simply because I wrote more about them. I told them repeatedly.
“Most of the basic material a writer works with is acquired before the age of fifteen.” — Willa Cather
Do more. Write more. Tell more. Rinse and repeat.
You can do this!
Thanks for reading and sharing ! 🙂