Storytelling Secrets: How to Find & Tell
Welcome back high we're doing a talk show there's no audience here so it's welcome back come into our living room we're going to talk to you about finding and telling great stories that's right? Because very often people struggle with stories they either think that they're not good at telling them or they have trouble finding the right stories or sometimes people think that because it's their story, they've lived it that they don't have to rehearse it but it's very different setting and telling a friend a story than it is standing up and not having a conversation about it but actually talking teo camera to tell the story or to an audience whether that's in the studio or at home that's right? So sometimes people also think, well, I have to start with a story and that's not the case either. There are so many dynamic ways to start on something else that we've touched on is about the details of stories because there are details to include and their details not to include and you want to ma...
ke sure that when you tell your stories you include the details that keep a driving the story forward but be keep you connected to the through line of your big idea so we want to teach you a three step protocol for finding and telling great stories so number one we want to find the right stories yes, so that we're telling stories that are relevant to the big idea and the promise that we're delivering that help teach a particular idea or particular block of content. And then, of course, we want to make sure that we can tell the story very, very well. So finding the story is one thing and telling the story is very well, and then, of course, the third no, the third is well, it needs to be, well, craft that's right crafted, so if if we can't craft it, then we don't tell it well, and of course will if we don't find it, then we can't craft it or tell it so that's what we're gonna do now, so let's start with finding stories that's a good place to start to great there's there's a protocol that we use another one. We've got a lot of protocols and these air prompters they'll help you dig back into your mind to discover, to find stories that you lived but you haven't thought about in years because often we think I don't I don't have the stories to tell, but here's how you do it. First thing you think about our people, people in your life, so for example, if I said to amy, think about your acting teacher in high school oh craig evans I remember him like that and we all used to hang out in his office all of the kind of theater people would hang out in his office and he was he felt in some ways like a big brother to us and it was my first kind of home extracurricular home when I was in high school so what you do is he would just jot that down now that's not a story that's interesting yet I mean there's there's nothing interesting about that story but what she will start to do is go let me see what happened oh there was that time that he came in he's a little bit drunk that's not I'm sorry craig I don't know if that didn't happen she never said that but you'll start to investigate and find stories or if I said so how about maybe your first boyfriend any particular stories pop into my hunter bodine in first grade he did I went back to see him and his buddies at the fourth and of one of the boys came out and said you're not allowed back here you're a girl and he put his hand on his friend's shoulder shoved into the ground and kissed me that's actually a good story already that's pretty good we didn't plan this no no this is just how it goes this is how it goes and so once you start to open up the floodgates more and more come so that's people then you could do that by yourself you put it in your computer right? You have a piece of paper and you just start to write down people and then the stories that come to mind when you do this exercise fun to do with somebody else because get the creative juices flowing and then you have so you have people then you have places so now you think about places and they give you a couple sure let's hear some of your stories okay places ah, the gymnasium at your high school I remember I went to school where we were all orange oranges are color so we were our sweatpants orange t shirts it wasn't very much of the kind of place and I remember having to crawl up that really really thick rope remember those you crawled in trying to touch the ceiling and then crawl back and I was okay crawling up but I was really scared to come down so I didn't want to crawl up because I was scared to come down and I would just jot that down and then I would see well might that relate to any of the things that I teach? Okay? I don't know yet, but might it so that's pizza in people places and then think things so for example maybe the first gift that your husband gave you oh, my gosh! Well, my husband is a sculptor and a potter, so he gave me a vase that he made himself from clay, that he had actually jug, and it was in this beautiful glaze and he put in a huge stock of pepper berry and it was extraordinary. So again, this is a story that needs to be worked out, you know, to see, even if it would be relevant to the material at hand, but they come quickly, it's really quite fun, and you'll see when you do it with another person, there may not be. Maybe there wasn't a gift that my husband gave me that was popping to mind right away, but it might make me think of oh well, during christmas time this thing happened, so you just start to generate a list of stories without judging them in placing them. Yet people places things and times and events particular times and events in your life that may have had some meaning and they'll start to bring back some stories your son's birth oh my god, my son's birth my, uh my former wife was in labor for all of about thirty five minutes and there's a great story behind it, and I would just write it down and then, um, you know, I might tell the story if it was relevant to something that I was teaching so that's one you're finding the stories that's that's where you start but then you've got a craft these stories yes, because as you just heard, none of the stories we just mentioned are worth telling in their current form we just identified oh there are some stories but now we have to figure out how to craft these stories and we use the three act structure that's that's always where we start the three act structure but before we teach you this three act structure want to make sure that you're picking the right story very, very important that not just the story that you think it's funny with the right story for the situation that's number one number two that is based on a shared context when you tell a story or a joke and often especially a joke in order for the story to work and in order for the joke to work the audience has to share the same worldview they have to understand the context. So for example, if I give a speech in mexico or france or spain, some of my jokes might not work very well because they don't translate very well but those jokes every single time I tell them in a speech here in the us they kill because the context isn't shared they might not understand it or get it just like some tv shows that worked really well here they're not going to work very well in england or the ones that were shot in england worked very well they come over here and they don't work because you don't have the same shared context, so pick the right story, share the context and then appropriateness that's really important that it be in a new appropriate story for your brand, for your big idea and for the audience that you are speaking to that's right? Exactly right and most importantly that it's related to the big idea and that's what this is all about, everything is driving back to that big idea that's the through line on that big idea is going to help you deliver on the promise. So if the story helps you deliver on the promise you tell it the story doesn't help you deliver on the promise you don't tell him so we generate the stories we pick the appropriate story and then we crafted. So michael mentioned the three act structure and this is a structure that you see in all kinds of storytelling, whether it's a film or its theater or it's a great workshop for a bit of public speaking, so act one in the three act structure is the exposition it's, the set up it's all of the given circumstances that we need to know for any of the rest of the story to make sense remember when we worked on our content creation lesson we talked about the way the world is yes this is the way the world is and this is aristotle's three act structure we didn't make this up clearly, but this act one is so important because often someone starts telling a story but they don't you know set the stage yeah there's no sense of time or place and so even if the payoff of the story is actually quite profound, we don't get that value because it's not set up very well so that's always very important we set up but not too much because too much the audience would need a really good pay off an incredible pay off to make it worth listening to all of that so you want to keep it efficient and say what is necessary to say and don't say what isn't act two is the conflict and this is in any story the part that tends to be the largest sometimes it isn't just one conflict sometimes it's a conflict and then another one and then another one and this then becomes the drama that is the story it becomes the the obstacles this is what people love loosening tio and the maura tension you build in that second act the mohr anticipation people have four at three which is the resolution resolution whether it's happy or not that's right is not always a happy ending but it's a sense of resolution it's ah it's a transformation it's progress it's changed something that is worth waiting for and that's a very very important part of the whole three act structure so you might have act one well crafted to well crafted but the payoff not that big a deal than the story ultimately didn't pay off that's right and then it becomes really important when you are crafting this story and going through the sculpting and editing process so that you make sure that you have the right details in and are leaving the extraneous details out that you also raise the stakes so sometimes in that sculpting process you'll want to say okay, well how can I improve act one the exposition how can I increase the tension and the conflict in act two how can I make the resolution that much sweeter and more fulfilling so you go through and raise the stakes on each of us and you know you could embellish your story's a little bit we're not talking about lying but you know you're in a performance situation here so you might even conflict stories you may have had two experiences that you actually conflict you know you you meld them together to produce a better story because it helps with the payoff and as long as you're not lying like making up things like well when I won the nobel peace prize that's not what we're talking about here but it's slight embellishment just to improve the stories of the stakes are higher on the payoff is even bigger you didn't win the nobel peace prize I didn't want to say anything to make other people feel like they had accomplished as much, but but no, I didn't win the nobel peace prize clearly so this three act structure makes it so easy to start toe work on your story's just makes it such it's like you have a strong you have a structure you have something to work with as opposed to just you know, let me see if I can figure out how to tell you the story over a length of time yeah, and the stories that you have that you're already using and already working with go back and look at them through this lens of the three act structure and see how you can refine them I did and you know, this is this is the fundamentals of storytelling here okay, so next and then free yes, we want you to be able to tell the tale well, so first you're finding the story's second you're crafting the stories and third you're telling the story and when you tell it you've gotta love telling yes that's the thing you wanna love telling your stories you want to feel like, oh, I have to tell you this story because it's really imp porton and it's going to make a difference and it's going to help move us along the ark that you have to tell the story that that the world's going to end if you don't that's how important the story needs to be two of course it's not the case the world will not end if you don't tell the story but otherwise it's not worth telling on stage and that's what's important to remember every second counts so you perform the story now there are lots of ways to do that it may be that you're talking about an old man and then when you're talking about the old man your body adjust a little bit and you you do some a little bit of characterization talking about the old man or when you're talking about a young girl that you it's not playing a role but that you just shift your body a little bit to create a little bit more of a picture for the audience that's exactly right and then of course you don't want to tip your hat it's very important you're the only want the audience to wait for the payoff gonna build the tension so if you let the cat out of bag too soon then you don't get the payoff and their different ways to let the cat out of the bag it may not be that you tell the end of the story but if you have the emotional weight of the end of the story at the beginning than the audience misses out on having that emotional journey so you know what you know in the beginning you know what you know in the middle and you don't know what you know at the end until you get there even though you know the whole thing I had a time indeed and then in order to help tell the story you use movement and timing and pacing to your advantage so when you're telling the story you may be in one place maybe the kind of story where you do not move there may be other stories where you're moving a lot because the energy of the story is so high that it fills your body and it fills the room and then of course there's the pacing of the telling of the story some parts to tell quickly other parts you slow down you know, often your speech coaches tell folks too slow down but they speak too fast and I understand what they're trying to get at I think the translation of that is pause because we could speak very quickly and you can understand us, but if we get to something that's important that we want you to remember, then we pause so you can absorb it and so the pacing changes throughout a story and you're pacing will change based on the importance of what you're saying and then timing timing is critical, especially for joke telling it's all in the timing, best comedians in the world have the best timing, not always the best material, but their timing is so good. So if you're you know, if you're moving the story, you're building the tension, you're building the tension, you're building the tension, you get to the pay off, and then you deliver, if you don't use the timing to your advantage, you might not get the same pay off that you could have if you strung it out. And if you have people in the audience who were moving around or talking, you don't wantto deliver the payoff during that. You want to make sure that you are taking the timing of the room into an account, and so then you might pause a little bit longer and wait for the silence, and then you deliver the payoff well put, thank you very much. And, you know, then it's, fun to tell stories. You know, it's, you feel like you have some control over what you're doing? It's great, you know, stories are very important, but you don't have to start with the story. Just remember that you don't have to be jerry seinfeld up here telling jokes and in stories, but there are some stories that that are true stories for you that will help illustrate the point that you're trying to make to the audience and the audience loves, loves, hearing well told story. So first you find them. You use people, places, things and times and events to do so. Then you make sure you can craft them using the three act structure. And then, of course, tell them really, really well, because you love telling it, use, pacing, timing, movement, and that you feel like you have to tell them this story. You don't sit back on your heels, your forward, and you are making a difference in their lives because you're telling them this story, and that is how you find and tell great stories. Well done, amy.