In the business world, and in life in general, you need good communication skills to be able to effectively get your message across. You need to know how to engage your audience and convey exactly the right message you intend to. Now, let’s not fool ourselves – the way you look and the way you walk are factors that influence your conveying the message as well.
Your posture will show if you are confident about yourself and the confidence will make your audience truly listen to you and believe in what you are saying. However, the thing that will most certainly engage your audience is storytelling.
People love stories and tend to engage pretty easily in them, especially if the person telling them has the right charisma. Not all of us have it, but the good thing is that storytelling can be perfected by practicing certain techniques that will not only engage your audience, but also improve your overall communication skills.
Practicing those techniques will change the way you think while speaking to your listeners, whether they are your employees or business clients, your students or your friends. They will make you come up with great and interesting ideas that will excite the people listening to you, thus making you feel better about yourself as well, since excitement and inspiration will literally be felt in the air.
Now, let’s cut to the chase and see what those great storytelling techniques are.
4 Storytelling Techniques for Effectively Engaging Your Audience
Make the Story Personal
When you tell a personal story, you will connect with your audience in a way you never could while simply stating facts and numbers. If you’re selling a product and you’re only talking about its characteristics, its pros and cons and its usage, it is less likely that you will engage your audience the right way.
On the other hand, when you implement your personal story that is related to something having to do with the product or the service you are trying to sell, your audience may find that story personal as well. You need to connect with the people listening to you on that personal level, since you will not only tell your story, but you will also tell their story.
Don’t be afraid to show your weaknesses; other people have those as well and, by showing that other side of you, they will trust you more and you will connect with them in no time. By providing your audience with your personal experience, they will see you as an honest and open person who cares about them and they will put their trust in your hands.
Make the Story Visual
When telling your story, you can’t simply stand there and state the facts. Even when you’re telling your personal story, simple storytelling is just not enough. You need to trigger mental images in your audience’s minds.
You will accomplish that by making your story vivid and by carefully choosing your every word to describe every little detail, thus successfully evoking those mental images to entertain your audience. That is the way you will truly engage them and make them actually remember the story.
Images have the power of bringing stories to life, so you should definitely incorporate them. By making your story visual, your audience will engage in it more easily; listening to mere facts will not attract them enough and will most certainly bore them. But, by visualizing everything in their minds, they will create a world of images that will excite them and make them curious about what you have to say.
There is literally no better way of conveying the message than by sending it directly to your audience’s minds, which is exactly what this storytelling technique will help you accomplish.
Show the Story
One of the ways you can literally bring your story to life is by using dialogue instead of just telling it in first person narrative. You can bring the characters of the story to life by really showing the story to your audience. You can show the real emotions of the characters and their true life experiences and that will create clear images of the characters in the minds of your audience.
The best way of doing that is by featuring an actor who will not only show the whole experience, but also express emotions, and what better way to engage your audience than to emotionally involve them in the story?
That will make them empathize with the characters and maybe even recognize themselves from their own experiences. Characters are the heart of every story and your audience will easily relate to them.
If you have no acting skills and can’t afford an actor, don’t worry; the simple incorporation of dialogue in your storytelling will also do the trick. It will make the story more vivid and create powerful images in the minds of your audience
You can see how it is all connected and how images and emotions are key factors that lead to excellent storytelling that effectively engages, therefore that is another very important technique you should consider practicing to improve your storytelling.
Use Conflict in Your Story
When telling your story, it is important that you use conflict, since that is another factor that will make your audience more excited and interested. The suspense and the question of what will happen next will make them truly listen to you and even root for the character overcoming obstacles and reaching the desired result. That is, again, emotional involvement that you want to inspire with your storytelling.
You want people to be involved in your story and to inspire them – to make them to fall in love with your slogan when hearing it. No matter what you are selling, your ultimate goal is to captivate your audience and intrigue them by your product or service. Therefore, using conflict and building up the tension towards a climax is one of the best ways to effectively engage your audience and connect with them.
These extremely useful storytelling techniques will help you a great deal when it comes to any kind of public speaking to need to engage in. By practicing them, you will connect with the people you are talking to on a personal level and that is when you will attract them to do business with you.
By making your story personal, they will be effectively engaged, whether consciously or unconsciously, thus ensuring the achievement of your ultimate goal, which is to successfully transform them into your customers. What’s important is to tell the story the way you normally talk.
Try not to sound too corporate, but talk to your audience like they are your best friends. That will make you connect with them more easily and it will make your story more powerful. It goes without saying that you need to be completely relaxed and show your personality at its best.
Don’t be too serious; smile and show your confidence and you can be sure that you will fill the room with positive energy. That will certainly reflect on your audience and they will spread positive vibes as well.
Make your audience feel great while listening to you, show them the true essence of your business by talking about it in an interesting and empowering way, show them that you are the right person for them to do business with, show them that you are the best!
All you need to do is believe in yourself and, in return, they will believe in you, too. They will believe in what you do and what you sell, and they will believe you are the ideal choice for satisfying their needs. You will hook them in with your amazing storytelling and they will not want to let go. Use your storytelling to share your views, build your reputation, spread your message and inspire the people around you. Use your voice to make a change in the world!
Photo credit: Ben Stanfield via flickr