Lessons From Improv on Storytelling
You want to really get traction when you say anything? Tell more stories.
But you have two problems: First – you veer towards data dumping and forget to add any stories at all. Second – if you do tell a story… you tend to over tell, under tell or leave out the relevance to your listeners.
Today I bring you some tips on storytelling from the world of Improv Comedy. Several years ago I took a series of classes to learn and practice improv. In last week’s blog I shared strategies from improv on how to handle stage fright.
Practical Tips from our Improv Teacher on Telling Stories
-Who, What, Where: Your scenes need context to be successful. It needs a relationship between the characters (Who are they?), a location (Where are they?) and a reason for the scene to exist (What is happening?) Establishing these pieces of information within the first three lines will make it much easier for you to get on the same page with your audience.
-Don’t second guess yourselves! Just trust yourselves.
-Use specifics to help inform your stories. Your scene will be different if you are eating at an Applebee’s vs. La Petite Chaumiere, or sitting on a bench in Central Park vs. on a bench waiting for the #19 Bus.
Examples For You
- You’re talking about customer service and you use a story about the service you got on a cruise. Give us the details about the crew, travelers and ship but don’t tell us the sidebar about getting sea sick IF that has nothing to do with your story.
- You’re talking about strategic planning and you tell a story about moving from Oregon to Dallas – what you’re keeping, getting rid of and envisioning for the next phase of your life.
Tell a story to illustrate your message and data. Share how this story’s resolution has relevance to your team.
And heed the advice of my improv teacher: Trust yourself.
© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved
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Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
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