Effective Storytelling Techniques

When you use effective storytelling techniques you can turn a tame story into a fantastic experience. Storytelling is fun for children and adults alike, especially if you take the time to create the proper mood and setting. You can learn storytelling by watching an experienced storyteller or just practice on your own. Try some of these storytelling techniques to enhance your own stories.

  • Set the Mood: Stories are best received when they are told in a unique setting. Try telling stories around a campfire, in a dark room with flashlights, nightlights or candles or out on a blanket by the light of the moon. Children and adults alike will get into the story more if you set up the storytelling as an event. Setting the mood builds the anticipation.
  • Set up the Story: Before you launch into telling the actual story, you'll want to set up your audience to know what to expect. If you are telling a funny story, you'll want to start out with some good-natured joking about the story. If you're telling a spooky story, you'll want to joke about creepy-crawly types of things or about how you hope this story doesn't scare the kids too much. Have fun with your introduction. Look up jokes if you're not good at ad libbing. Again, the point here is to build the anticipation.
  • Make Sure Everyone Is Comfortable: To truly enjoy a story, the audience has to be comfortable. If you're outside, make sure to provide blankets or camp chairs to sit on and use citronella candles or bug spray to keep the insects away.
  • Exaggerate as You Tell the Story: The best storytellers practically act out the story as they tell it. Raise and lower your voice; use different voices for different characters. Bring along props to help you with sound effects. Make sure you've memorized the story and have practiced beforehand so you can tell the story smoothly, pausing for dramatic effect when appropriate.
  • Stay in Character: It's easy to get wrapped up in the response of the audience when telling a story, especially if you're making the audience laugh or gasp. However, you need to keep your distance and perform so you won't lose your place in the story or forget key lines. Walk the line between interacting with the audience and becoming so flattered by the enthusiasm that you lose your authority as the storyteller.
  • Have Fun: Most important, you need to bring enthusiasm to the story. Enjoy yourself and your audience will enjoy the story.
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