Storytelling: How to WOW an Audience With Personal Stories | Mike Allred | Skillshare

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Storytelling: How to WOW an Audience With Personal Stories

teacher avatar Mike Allred, Writer | Speaker | Educator

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (27m)
    • 1. How to WOW an Audience With Personal Stories

    • 2. The Magical Power of Telling a Story

    • 3. Enthusiasm and Passion

    • 4. The Moral of a Story

    • 5. Let Me Smell the Roses

    • 6. Dialogue: The Silver Bullet in Storytelling

    • 7. Tell Stories Others Can Identify With

    • 8. Conclusion & A Speaker's Greatest Resource

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About This Class

Discover the proven tips and techniques to telling moving, emotional, and entertaining personal stories. Whether you're giving a talk to a small group or an important presentation to a new client, these proven tested techniques will make you a better speaker and storyteller.

Meet Your Teacher

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Mike Allred

Writer | Speaker | Educator


Writer, speaker, storyteller, narrator, video/voice spokesperson. 


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1. How to WOW an Audience With Personal Stories: Hello, My name is Michael Read. Welcome to my skill share class. In this course, I'll teach you how toe wow, an audience with personal stories and storytelling. This class will teach you time tested speech and storytelling tips you can use to give a memorable and entertaining talk or speech. Whether you're giving an informal talk to a local club, a sales presentation to a new client or just talking with a friend, the storytelling techniques you'll learn in this class will give you a winning edge and holding the attention of any audience. For the class project, you'll be creating a short two minute personal story about yourself. Your story will be about an event that happened to you in the past, an event that always brings you happy memories and pleasant feelings. I highly recommend an urge you to upload your class project to the Project Gallery. I would love to hear your personal story and offer you a few friendly words and comments about your story. And don't worry, I don't comment or offer it any advice unless you specifically ask for feedback in your project notes. Just say Hey, Mike, tell me what you think I'm a story. This class is for anyone who would like to learn how to tell a personal story or give a short speech that moves hearts, stimulates minds and excites the listener. This mini course might be described as storytelling 101 old steroids. My name is Michael Red. I'm a speaker, writer, a retired businessman. I look forward to having you in this class, so join the class. Now. Come on in. You'll be glad you did. 2. The Magical Power of Telling a Story: the magical power of telling a story in today's world. Sooner or later, you'll be asked to give a talk or a short speech. And when you're asked to give that talk or short speech, remember this. You have just 30 seconds to capture the interest of your listeners. So your introduction to your speech or talk is extremely important for your success. The most attention grabbing introduction has always been a true personal story. A story about you, especially a story about a struggle or difficulty that you faced stories like this, when properly presented, can mesmerise an audience to where they can't take their eyes off the speaker. And believe me when you have every eye in the room locked on you when you have everyone listening to every word you say, that is an unbelievable high. So your first important objective is to grab your listeners undivided attention. And the best way to do this is by starting with a true personal story. Now I'm not talking about the once upon a time type stories. I'm talking about a personal story that creates curiosity in the listeners Mind a story that stirs the emotions, creates mental movies in the mind and especially a story that generates growing and rising curiosity in the listener. To be most effective, your opening needs a starting point or a back story, a conflict, interesting characters and eventually, a pleasant resolution and conclusion. The response you're seeking from your listener is growing curiosity and rising interest. By first establishing rising curiosity in the listener, you'll have a listener wondering and asking what happens next in the story. One of the most popular types of personal story can be an adventure story or a story about something unexpected happening, a pleasant discovery in your life or a stroke of good luck. Also, the story doesn't have to be a feel good story as long as it ends in a pleasant conclusion or ending and never have a sad ending to a story. In the next lesson, I'll give you an example of a personal story of used for years that is popular among audiences. It definitely wasn't a feel good story, but it did have a happy feel good ending. I'll also give you the two characteristics you must have that will guarantee your success as a storyteller 3. Enthusiasm and Passion: enthusiasm and passion. The never fails success secrets for storytellers. Depending on your age and life experience, you might have hundreds of personal life stories, any one of which could be suitable for a specific audience. In your storytellers toolkit, I recommend having a story in waiting that would fit the interest of any particular audience you'll be speaking to. My most popular story for students and young people was what I called my runaway adventure story. While it definitely was an adventure, I always discouraged young people from taking any such risky and dangerous action. The purpose of my story was to help young people to avoid making impulsive life decisions with unexpected, stressful life events. In this story, my world had been suddenly turned upside down because I had an argument with my parents over some trivial matter. Also the same day my girlfriend had just broken up with me. Then when I stormed out of the house and jumped into my car, my car decided at that moment to have a dead battery totally stressed out. About an hour later, around midnight, I quietly packed a small travel suitcase and I hit the road. The old fashioned way hitchhiking. I had exactly $1.10 in my pocket. Three weeks later, I ended up far, far away from home, 3000 miles away. I had just wanted to get away from everything, and I certainly did. My storyline was that of the typical young man who runs away from home, struggles to survive along the way and learns many life lessons on the road. The number one lesson. The most important lesson was don't hitchhike. There was a happy, positive conclusion to my story and many important life lessons learnt that I've never for gotten. I always had fun telling this story because in hindsight, I really enjoyed most of the adventure, and I love telling this story, and that was a key ingredient for my success with this story, my high enthusiasm level, my enthusiasm level was 100% when telling the story, and the audience is felt and mirrored my enthusiasm. So the storytelling tip in this lesson is you must be enthusiastic and passionate when telling your story. You have to love your story, and you have to be able to show it. You have to act like you enjoy telling your story if you don't enjoy telling your story and if you're not into your story 100%. If you don't project riel enthusiasm, your audience will sense it and they won't enjoy listening to it. That's when you see people start checking their cellphones or looking at their watches, enthusiasm and passion. The Storytellers success Secret in the next lesson will talk about the importance of having a story moral, the importance of a message in your story. 4. The Moral of a Story: the moral of the story as a speaker or storyteller. Ask yourself this. Why am I telling this story? What's in it for the listener? Why should the listener even care about what I'm saying? What is the message I'm trying to send to the audience? An effective story must have a message, a moral or a lesson for the listener. Here's Wikipedia's definition of the moral of a story. A moral is a message that is conveyed or a lesson to be learned from a story or event. Now the moral of the story goes, but many names. It may be called the point of this story, the meaning of this story, the purpose of the story. But no matter how you say it, every story needs a message or a moral the listener will see, hear and understand. In the next lesson, you'll learn how to give life to a story and make it come alive for the listener 5. Let Me Smell the Roses: let me smell the roses. Sight, sound, smell, touch, taste. Use of the five senses and century details help a story to come alive. It enables the listener to internalize, to feel to experience what you have experienced using century details enables a listener to create a mind movie of what you've experienced. Your listener can mentally experience your emotions, your feelings and what happened owning your particular event. It's important that you involve all the listeners senses in your story Presentation. As you tell your story, allow the listener to see the sights to hear the sounds, to smell the roses in your story, to feel the textures to experience the temperatures and to taste that delicious ballpark hot dog you mentioned in your story. For example, when I first began telling my story over 50 years ago, at one point in the story, I would say we got to Flagstaff, Arizona, about noon, and we faced cold temperatures, snows and high winds. Years later, after honing my storytelling skills a bit, I rephrased what I had experienced that day, using sensory details from my memory. Here is my rephrase description from my memories of what happened that day I arrived in Flagstaff writing in an old red tow truck with a cracked windshield and half the floorboard missing. There was no heated in the truck because of the missing floorboard. I could see the snow covered road rolling by beneath us as we drove along. And the driver, he never stopped talking since he picked me up on us whole life story before I got out of the truck. When I hopped down from the tow truck, the temperature was 18 degrees on the bank clock across the street to my left. Down the street was a small diner that was crowded. It looked mighty inviting. The problem was for me. I had only about 75 cents in my pocket. Looking through the fogged up diner window, I spotted a sign on the wall today. Special chili, 50 cents. Yes, hot chili and a warm seek. I would live through another day when telling a story. Make good use of century details. Another powerful tool in your storytelling kit 6. Dialogue: The Silver Bullet in Storytelling: dialogue. The Silver Bullet in storytelling Using dialogue can be a powerful emotional tool in telling a personal story. For maximum story killing impact, you need the letter audience occasionally hear the words as spoken by the key characters in your story. For example, my runaway adventure story was a story about what happened to me at age 18 when I ran away from home in North Carolina and hitchhiked across the United States, eventually landing in Hollywood, California While I was there, I made it a point, actually. Stand on that famous corner, the corner of Hollywood and Vine, thinking I'd see some movie stars walk by. Well, that didn't happen to this day. I use Google Earth to zoom down and see where I once stood. Anyway, in the final minutes of my story, I was on my return track home. I would soon be crossing from Tennessee into North Carolina over the Great Smoky Mountains in the dead of winter. I had hitched a ride with a long haul trucker about 100 miles back, and he was about to turn north on his way to Virginia. But I was still heading east back to North Carolina and home. So in this story it was time for me to leave the warmth of that Big Mack truck cab and step out into the freezing cold and pray I'd catch another ride. It was a little after nine o'clock at night, freezing cold, a cloudless clear sky and a bright full moon shining down from above. There was a car inside. There were no homes or buildings, no street lights, just a lonely, deserted intersection at the base of the Smoky Mountains. I was hungry, weak, and felt like I had pneumonia, but it was just a bad cold. Now, in the earlier versions of my story, I told it this way. I had this old, grizzled truck driver Tell me how tough it was gonna be for me to make it over those mountains hitchhiking, especially at night. I later replaced that version with what I remember the driver actually saying to me on that bone chilling night, and I remember the words he spoke to me to this day. Here's what he said, son, you gonna freeze to death out there. Nobody's gonna pick you up at night in these mountains. This is Cherokee Country. You know, and you ain't no Cherokee. There's no traffic in these mountains. And if you're lucky, maybe somebody will stop and see and help you out. Good luck, because you're gonna need it. Then that Big Mack truck turned north and slowly disappeared into the night. I started walking. All I had own was a very light windbreaker jacket. I had no other option but to start walking, see the difference. In the second version, the truck drivers dialogue was much more emotionally powerful and painted a mental picture of what I should expect. Character dialogue creates mind movies of your stories, so use the dialogue and I have to add, at this point a very important note. As I was walking up that lonely, deserted road heading up into this smoky mountains, I believe that it's where a guardian angel started walking with me. After I had been walking for about two hours into the mountains around midnight, I finally heard a car coming up a mountain road. The car stopped about 50 yards away from me with its headlights on high beam shining directly on me, the car just set there in the road for a good two or three minutes, I felt like the proverbial deer caught in the headlights. I just stood there shivering, fearing and imagining the worst. Slowly that car roll towards me. And when it got next to me, the car window finally rolled down. A young guy sticks his head out the window and says, Man, are you crazy? You go freeze your ass off out here. That was a carload of five young Cherokee men about my age in an old green Ford sedan who stopped, asked me if I was crazy and then gave me a lift to a nearby National Park shelter. It was those Cherokee good Samaritans that actually saved me from freezing to death that night in the Great Smoky Mountains. In the next lesson, we'll talk about the importance of telling a story that other people can identify with or empathize with. 7. Tell Stories Others Can Identify With: tell stories that others can identify with, depending on your age and life experience. We all have common memories and events that we share. Do you remember your childhood best friend and the crazy things you did together? Think of the stories you could tell about that friendship. We've all had memories of our first part time job. A special teacher times we spend it college our first real date, our first accident in a car, something that happened when we were in the military. And we've all had a special pet that we love dearly. And then we cried 1000 tears when we lost them or had to put them down. Do you remember your first boyfriend or girlfriend? And that first awkward kiss? Ah, the memories of young love. And I'm sure we've all suffered from a broken heart. It sometimes in our life. But we did survive and life did go on. Our personal stories teach us Guidice and in lightness. You might find it interesting that one of the most searched four terms own Google is how to get over a broken heart. As a storyteller, you have hidden deep within your memories A gold mine of personal real life stories, emotional personal stories, exciting soul touching stories that others would love to hear. Now, here's a tip I started using many years ago, and I recommend that you do the same. Developed the habit of keeping a list of events in your life may be in a journal or diary. Now don't write out the story, but just list a few key words or a short sentence that would bring back the memories of that story. The list will provide you with a never ending source of funny, sometimes sad, interesting personal and family stories. These stories will be invaluable to you as a writer, as a speaker, or maybe just a za friend, someone who needs some helpful advice or cheering up at some time. Your stories and how you solved your problem in the story will be a comfort to friend and stranger alike. A funny personal stories like it's like a delicious kiss for the mind. You'll feel warm and happy inside. When you partake of it. You'll find the older you get, the easier it is to laugh at yourself when you re a live thes stories in your memory In my case, these screw ups, blunders and embarrassments there a treasure trove of my personal story material. We're almost at the end of this lesson, but I have to say, I wish I had the time to tell you about my part time venture as a weekend Children's Party entertainer. Many, many years ago on weekends, I would work Children's parties. I performed magic tricks, made balloon animals did a little face painting. All I can say is this. You have got to be certifiably insane toe work. Children's parties. Those kids are animals, but that's another story from a life well lived. In our last lesson, I'll give you the most valuable tip you'll ever receive on how to polish and hone your storytelling and speaking skills. 8. Conclusion & A Speaker's Greatest Resource: rep up and conclusion. And here's my final tip on how to develop storytelling techniques and wow, an audience I've always loved listening to and watching enthusiastic skill speakers and storytellers. One of the greatest resource is for people like you and I who love the spoken word or the Ted talk videos on YouTube. You'll learn more about life and speaking technique from the Ted talk videos. Then you ever would attending a university degree program in speech communications. I can spend hours at my computer watching and learning from the Ted talks. Each and every presentation gives me several nuggets of riel life wisdom. So please watch the YouTube Ted talk videos and learn everything you need to know about life living and loving. After watching so many Ted talks, I discovered a simple way to tell if a speaker was popular with an audience. And if the talk had captured the audiences attention and imagination during every Ted talk , the cameras will occasionally scan the audience to get a naughty insp reaction to a speaker . If I'm watching a Ted talk on YouTube as soon as the Ted talk camera start scanning the audience, I'll pause the video. Then I look at how many audience members air looking at their cell phones versus paying attention to the speaker, not a very scientific method for judging a speaker's influence, but a very revealing test of a speaker's effectiveness and popularity. Well, we've almost reached the end of this course, and I must point out that this mini course has just barely scratched the surface of a storytelling and public speaking. I've learned over my life as a writer, speaker in businessman, that anyone can succeed as a speaker or a storyteller, and that certainly includes you. Being a masterful storyteller requires enthusiasm, passion, imagination and a little skillet spinning a good tale. But it does get easier over time with practice. And now let's do a quick recap of what we actually learned in this course. Open with a personal story, enthusiasm and passion that never fail success Secrets for storytellers. Your story must have a moral or a message for the listener. Use the five senses and century details to help a story come to life. Let the listener here the dialogue of the characters tell stories that others can empathize with. Keep a list of your life events. Tell the outcome of your story and how you solved your particular problem. Watch Ted talks videos on YouTube for professional speakers and storytellers. If you enjoy this mini course and felt it was helpful to you, I would really appreciate your positive review and a thumbs up. Thank you so much for taking my course and please follow me here. Own skill share. I'll soon be putting up new classes on writing, speaking, graphic design and business communications. And if your own linked in I would love to have you as a new connection. You'll find my lengthen u R L link in my skill share profile. And finally, remember this. Speakers who talk about what life has taught them never failed to keep the attention of their listeners. A quote from Dale Carnegie.