Tell Your Story!! - American Society of Employers - Clifton Clarke

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Tell Your Story!!

Have you ever heard these words? “Picture it, Sicily, 1919…” or “Back in St. Olaf, we…”

Those phrases made a whole generation laugh and still entertain us today on the television show, Golden Girls, which ran from 1987-1992 on NBC. It was a show about middle aged women who had raised their families, divorced, or buried their husbands, and clung to each other for companionship, a whole lotta laughs, and support. They often told stories to each other about their lives to make points, answer questions, but most importantly, to educate each other.

When I conducted training classes for Apple, I told a story of how my mom, learning to use the iPhone, accidentally turned on the camera when trying to take a picture and recorded my sister calling my brother a 21st century hippy because he refused to update his wardrobe. The lesson there was to teach about how to tell the difference between the photo and video feature. The class got a kick out of it. When grading the test, someone answered “Hippy” as an answer to “How can you tell the difference between the video feature and the photo feature?”

This said to me that I might have stumbled upon a way to make my class remember details and features about the products Apple sold. So, I scoured the lesson plans and inserted many more incredible stories (you would not believe the situations I find myself in) as we went along. My evaluations and testing soared, and I have never looked back. Here are my top two tips on using storytelling to make your training soar!!!

Know Your Audience:

Understanding your audience is crucial for effective storytelling. Tailor your story to resonate with their interests, values, and experiences. Avoid culturally insensitive stories. Consider the age range of your audience. Pop culture is always appealing. Know what your audience is into and think of memories that may involve references to pop culture.

Structure and Flow:

A well-structured story has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Introduce the characters, set the stage, build tension, and resolve conflicts. Ensure a smooth flow of events to maintain the audience's attention and engagement. Use pacing, suspense, and surprises strategically to keep the story compelling. Think of the stories you learned about when you were younger. They all built suspense, and each had a lesson. Do not forget the lesson! That has happened to me before. Somehow a quick “Where was I going with this?” seems to make your audience laugh and, in a way, may help you remember! Either way, it keeps them on their toes and paying attention to you the whole time.

When you think about it, storytelling has been an integral part of human communication since the beginning of time. From ancient cave paintings to modern-day films, stories have captivated and inspired people across cultures and generations. Beyond entertainment, storytelling holds a transformative power that can be harnessed in various aspects of our lives, including education, business, and personal growth. Storytelling also has its variations. Some presenters and trainers use storytelling to entertain, but the most effective trainers use it to teach lessons.


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