How to Tell a Story

By Contributor ; Updated September 15, 2017
Tell a Story

How to Tell a Story. Everyone loves a great story. The key is to create a tale that's fresh, original and appealing with memorable characters, clever dialogue and vivid images. There are basic elements of story telling that we combine with specific details and personal taste to create a story that stays with the audience. Start with these building blocks to tell your story well.

Bait your audience. Start with a provocative statement or an original thought about the story. Amuse yourself. An audience responds well to a story that delights the storyteller.

Begin the story with the action: "I was on my way to work this morning...." Start with one motion and let it lead to the next. Lay out the events to raise questions. "What happened then?" Create more interest to engage the audience.

Include specific details. Say "red geranium" instead of "flower," and "scuffed wingtips" instead of "shoes." Vivid details paint lasting pictures in the minds of your listeners.

Flesh out your characters. Give the audience a sense of a character's physical appearance, coloring, occupation and manner of speaking. Paint believable pictures to create unforgettable characters.

Develop a sense of the rhythm of storytelling. Vary sentence length. Know when to pause, when to keep the action going and went to interject an opinion.

Conclude with a surprising new thought about the world. Good stories provide new experience, perspective or a transformation, either for the character in the story or for us.

Practice your delivery until its delivery is perfect. Record yourself telling the story and analyze it. Consider the pace, pauses and flow. Rehearse the telling until it sounds natural.


A story should feel real and new. Avoid stories about things that are cliché or told repeatedly. Amuse yourself. An audience responds well to a story that delights the storyteller.

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