HOW TO TELL A STORY
Great story telling is an art. Lincoln campaigned his way to the presidency using his persuasive and delightful art of telling stories. Jesus Himself often told stories, called parables, to drive His points home. How we tell stories can make the difference between a yawner and a life changing presentation.
As one teacher tells a story to his small group, watch carefully as students hang on every word: sometimes awestruck, sometimes laughing, but always delighted. But look across the hall and you�ll observe another teacher, telling the same story in such a way that the students are bored to tears. What makes the difference between the two storytellers?
1. Some, after reading the bible story, will put it a contemporary setting. On Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego from the book of Daniel: >"So it's like Shadrach and his two friends arrive at the university, casually pick up a school newspaper, and notice headlines that read, 'ALL ATHLETES REQUIRED TO ATTEND TOTAL ACHIEVEMENT SEMINAR AT 9:00 IN THE AUDITORIUM.' Now for these guys, the soccer team is their life, so they make their way to the auditorium. As they enter, their coach introduces some guru complete with Eastern robe and sandals, and says that anybody wanting to remain on the team needs to follow this guy's path to athletic perfection. If you don't, hit the road. And don't come back, because this show of disunity cuts you from the team. The little guru invites them all to stand, close their eyes, and visualize a spirit guide..."
2. Others will keep the biblical setting, but add reflections of what the three men must have thought, compromises they were tempted to make, etc.
3. Master story tellers avoid monotone narration, choosing rather to speak with the excitement that the story naturally generates. Vary your rate. Vary your pitch. Vary your volume. (Tip: Record yourself as you practice. It�s amazing how different my pitch, rate and volume sound on tape, compared to how I imagine that I sound. Now, listen to some of your favorite communicators on tape to note their strengths/weaknesses in this area.)
4. Practice the story so much that you know the story by heart. Don�t memorize it word for word, lest it sound too mechanical. Just know the details of the story. Then you can tell it naturally rather than read it mechanically. I usually read the Bible stories. But I tell my other stories.
5. Paint pictures with your words, so that listeners not only hear the story, but experience it with their imagination.