This summer I’ve been reading quite a bit. I read about Richard Feynman and found out that he is an original and very inspirational person. His outlook on life was extremely positive, and he was one good story teller. I realized that many successful people are in fact good story tellers. Good story telling is not just about communications, it’s about putting the listeners into the scene to engage them, to help them visualize the settings and to imagine the reality of that story.
I have never been very good at telling people what’s in my head, or what happened to me. Most of the time, the other person lost track of what I was saying after a while. I felt frustrated, shut up, and moved on, but deep inside I know that something is missing in the way I’m communicating. So I did a Google search on “how to be good at telling story” and got 13.8M results. Apparently many people are wondering about this too. The number 1 result, DumbLittleMan’s “A Formula for Telling a God Story” actually has very good tips on this topic.
The formula is broken down into 6 parts: Who, What, Where, Conflict, Resolution, and Tag. The story needs to tell the listener the person (who) involved in the situation (what) and the setting of that situation (where). Then the main point of the story is the conflict part, why this story matters. Then finally, the resolution of this conflict and a conclusion (tag), witty if possible.
My weakness is in the building up an arch of story that the listener can relate to. It’s just like hearing one’s own voice on a video for the first time and realizes how different it sounds than the way one hears it. As the person who’ve experienced the story, I have all the background information on why this bit of story is interesting, however, the other person doesn’t. I ended skipping too many details to help him/her fill in the blank. Like a puzzle that missing so many pieces that the picture is spotty with holes.
Another weakness of mine is in the way I explained the conflicts. I’d get excited and went too fast, and along the way, the listener was lost. I could detect the slightest change in the listener’s body language that he/she wasn’t engaged in the story anymore, and I tried to explained more, but only to confused that person further. I’ve been telling myself to slowdown a bit so that my brain can work out more details, and reduces the use of filling words such as “uh”, “uhm”, “like.” My goal is to stop using these words and substitue them with small pauses instead.
The DumbLittleMane’s article is a good start for me, and like all things, practice makes perfect. I’ll revisit this topic later on when I detect any improvements.