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How to Get Better at Storytelling (Even If You’re Anxious)

Everyone loves a good story. It’s a rule of thumb that you’d rather invite over that one friend who always tells the best stories than anyone else.

Have you ever wondered why it’s so?

Human beings are inherently social animals that love contact, be it verbal or physical. The best part of great stories is that they allow people to seek thrill and live vicariously through others.

Telling good stories also comes with the added benefit of constructive and positive attention. All these things make a great communicator. If you’ve wondered how to get better at storytelling, then waste no time and start reading the tips below!

How to get better at storytelling? Group of people having fun.

A lot of people struggle with this because of social anxiety. The fear of public speaking is the number one fear in the world, with at least 25% of people reporting they experience it. This deep fear is why so many individuals sweat a river at the idea of telling a story.

An optimistic approach to this is realizing that everyone can learn to be an amazing storyteller. Yes, you heard right! There’s nothing genetic in getting better at storytelling.

How to Get Better at Storytelling?

The best part about learning this skill is that improving your storytelling will automatically translate to many other aspects of your personality.

You can achieve a higher sense of confidence. Your sense of humor will also experience a boost with storytelling. You will seem more charismatic and fun to be around.

All of this starts with engagement.

#Tip 1 – Be Engaging

Be engaging. Group of people sitting on the floor talking.

Being a good storyteller requires that you make the audience feel involved. This connection is what engagement is all about. You can do this in various ways. Here are some of the best pieces of advice we can give you:

  • Let people pitch in. Your story is not your precious treasure. It is merely a tool for connecting with other people. By letting them participate, they will feel more involved.
  • Cater to each and everyone in the audience. Don’t ignore anyone from your group of listeners.
  • Pause now and then to let everyone keep up is a good idea. As you improve, your stories will be so engaging that they will require some time to process everything!

Such simple gestures can help you get better at storytelling in no time. Let’s move onto the next tip.

#Tip 2 – Make Intonation Your Ally

Making sure that your voice displays the emotions that your words are showing is crucial. When you master such wordplay, people get lost in the story. Especially if you’re an anxious speaker, using your voice’s highs and lows can benefit you!

The audience also tends to relate more to the story when they see the effects of its emotional elements in your voice. So, one simple way to get better at storytelling is to let your voice vary in its pitch, rather than droning on in a monotone.

Showing emotions indicates that a person is confident enough to show vulnerability. Such an approach puts your audience in awe.

With that in mind, you shouldn’t let your voice go all over the place. Now our tip number 3 comes into play!

#Tip 3 – Be Steady

Speaking at a balanced speed is also a staple to excellent storytelling. Rushing through a story strips it of flavor.

On the other hand, slowing down more than necessary may bore everyone out of their minds. Sure, this may be a bit tricky if you’re anxious, but matching the word flow to your breathing might be a good knack. Of course, getting the hang of your breathing is something you need to practice.

When you appear composed, even though you might internally not feel that way, you add strength to the story. The characteristics of the storyteller are very important in the overall perception.

Some people can pull off telling a dull story but amusing a crowd through steady delivery. If you want to get better at storytelling, steadiness is the way to go.

#Tip 4 – Don’t Ramble

A woman being bored.

It is a good quality to appear open and approachable as you tell a story. It shows firmness and confidence.

However, if you keep droning on and on, and deviating from the story at hand, then the odds won’t be in your favor. The complete opposite would be true in this case; people will render the story an empty small talk marathon.

We all tend to drone when anxious, but it’s fixable. We mostly ramble about the funny things that come to mind from a particular part of a story. Doing this costs us the audience’s attention and their interest in last recounted details of the story. The best way is to remain conversational while adhering to the narrative at hand.

The best storyteller is one who isn’t either robotic in his delivery or chatty beyond belief.

#Tip 5 – Be Relatable

People enjoy conversations with people who they think are like them. Being relatable often takes off the tension and edge from an interaction.

This way, your storytelling will appear to be an experience with which people from the audience can identify. Letting a little of your anxiousness be visible is okay in terms of appearing relatable!

The truth is, everyone is a little bit nervous when having one-on-one interactions. You can use this to help others understand that we’re all the same in one way or another.

Bonus Tip – Find the Balance

A woman meditating and finding balance.

If you want to get better at storytelling, make sure not to be too stiff. The trick is to find the perfect balance between composure and appearing relatable. 

While composure is good, too much of it can make a person look unapproachable or someone out of reach. This does little to help you become a great storyteller.

Finding this balance is the best way to get over being anxious in public without taking it too far.

Conclusion

All in all, storytelling is a very pleasurable experience that should be enjoyed rather than feared. There are even many storytelling games that you can play to sharpen your skills.

People often have much to share and say but hold back on account of being judged. The best part is knowing that the entire audience is probably just as anxious as us.

Imagining funny and silly things about the crowd also works to take off the edge. You mustn’t shy away if you find yourself in an opportunity to tell a story.

Instead, you should take the opportunity by hand and make it a pleasant interaction that you and everyone else will remember. So, next time you think about how to get better at storytelling, be sure to keep these pointers in mind!

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