How can you master the art of storytelling? For Francesco Dimitri and The School of Life, it’s about creating a compelling narrative and appreciating your audience.
“People think stories are shaped by people. In fact, it’s the other way round.” A quote from Sir Terry Pratchett was the initial talking point of Dimitri’s presentation, which took place at The School of Life classroom.
“Our brains constantly make stories,” he said, adding that characters, emotions and execution are the most powerful fundamentals of storytelling – while using humour and building trust are key to engaging an audience.
First, figure out why you’re telling the story and the motive behind it. Is it that you’re trying to communicate who you are, who your company is, to transmit values, foster collaboration, share knowledge or to lead people? Write it down; once you have that, the rest should flow more easily.
Dimitri asked delegates to create and share their own stories with one another. “Stories create emotions. Emotions are stories. When you don’t know what emotions you are trying to create, you don’t know what story you’re trying to tell.”
While the storyteller has a key role, Dimitri explained that the audience – or employees – also play a part: “Don’t just aim for your target, listen to your audience along the way.”
Public storytelling is no mean feat, especially for the shy ones among us – but Dimitri is confident that everyone can master the art. When telling a story, consider your posture, hands, eyes, the time you take, be mindful of your audience and above all, “do it in your style”.
“If your audience remembers the story, they’ll recall the excitement, and they’ll remember you,” he said.