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How to Be a Captivating Storyteller for Kids (and adults)



Great communicators are great storytellers. In fact, the greatest storyteller of all times, Jesus, told stories every time He taught. Parables are stories and He always used them.

"Jesus used many similar stories and illustrations to teach the people as much as they could understand. In fact, in his public ministry, he never taught without using parables...Mark 4:33-34."

We are wired to listen to stories. There is something about stories that captivate our attention. Watch what happens the next time you speak. When you tell a story, people tune in and listen. Then when the story ends, they seem to disengage to some extent until you tell another story.

Another great storyteller was Abraham Lincoln. Pulitzer Prize-winning lawyer, Doris Goodwin, says records show that people would come far and wide to hear Abraham Lincoln tell stories in his talks. Lincoln didn't have PowerPoint or Pro Presenter when he taught. But with his stories, he captivated people's attention. He knew how to combine education and storytelling to move the people he was speaking to. That being said, how would you like to be a captivating storyteller? Here are some tips that will help you be a great storyteller. Use more pictures and less text in your presentation. Chris Hadfield served as the commander of the International Space Station. He gave a TED talk entitled "What I Learned From Going Blind in Space." He used 35 PowerPoint slides for the talk. Every single slide had a picture and no text. It is considered one of the best TED talks ever.

Studies show that people remember about 10% of the content they hear. But when you add pictures into the talk, their retention rate will jump to 65%.


Share about people's journeys instead of just dumping facts on your audience. People want to hear stories about other people's struggles and victories rather than just having a bunch of stats dumped on them. Put a face to the facts.

Suprise them. We are wired to pay attention to the unexpected. Add some unexpected twists and turns to your story to engage your audience.

Vary the rate of speed and volume of your voice. Hit all ranges of your voice level. Sometimes talk loud and sometimes whisper. A monotone voice level will hypnotize your listeners into a state of monotony and boredom.

Be excited about your topic. Enthusiasm will draw people in. If you're not excited about the subject, then you can be sure your audience won't be excited as well.

Use familiar objects to illustrate your story. Jesus did this often. He illustrated topics by using objects that the people of his day knew about and could relate to. Birds of the air. Fish of the sea. A door. Sheep. Wolves. Coins. Houses.

Invite people to bring their imagination with them. As you paint the picture with your words, encourage your audience to construct it in their head. Ask them to "picture this."

Imagine you are witnessing the story live. Place yourself in the story as an observer. Imagine the coat of many colors from the story of Joseph and describe what you are seeing with your audience?

Highlight the emotional elements of the story. Emotions are the cement of learning and can help you be a great storyteller. Ask your audience to imagine what they would have felt if they had been Joseph when he was betrayed by his brothers and sold off as a slave bound for Egypt. Ask them to imagine the fear Peter felt when he was trying to walk on the water. When people refer to someone as a great speaker, you can rest assured there were some stories shared.

Try it next time you speak. Add in some stories and use the other elements listed above. You'll captivate your audience.

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