10 Hints to Telling a Better Story

In Creativity by Joe Boyd

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Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd

As a storyteller, I am often asked about how to tell a story. Here are some easy tips to developing your storytelling skills:

1. Listen to others.

Be present. Don’t be too excited to speak. Listening to another person is what generates the best ideas in any conversation.

2. Waste more time.

Take several 5-minute mental wanderings every day. Daydream. Imagine. Take a walk—even if it is only around the office. Give yourself space to explore what interests you.

3. Journal daily.

Write a little every day. Just rid your brain of the chaos and chatter. This isn’t meant to be published or shared. Just empty the stuff at the top of your consciousness so that new ideas can birth forth.

4. Switch musical genres.

Listen to music you don’t normally choose. Try one song in ska, rap, country, punk, classical, etc. Music is the fastest way I have found to release new thoughts. (An alternative to this idea is to purposely listen to music you grew up with, but tend not to listen to anymore. For me, church hymns create a strange but beautiful mix of emotions.)

5. Ask yourself, “What used to hurt, but doesn’t anymore?”

It helps to know what battles you have won. War stories, especially victorious ones, are the stuff of legends.

6. Read something ancient.

Just a few pages of the Bible, maybe. Or Homer, Aesop, Shakespeare, etc. Something time-tested can unlock the stories of the future.

7. Watch your favorite movie.

Sure, you’ve seen Gladiator (or whatever) a million times. Watch it again. You don’t just like a movie if you watch it over and over. You must really need it. It holds inspiration for you.

8. Tweet or Facebook a question to your friends.

Getting other people to tell stories will unleash your own.

9. Eat lunch at a local non-chain restaurant.

If you are brave, ask someone working there to tell the story of the place. You can do the same by shopping at the local market or trying the dive bar. Every place has a story.

10. Tell a personal story.

It’s the only real way to get better at telling stories. Consciously work a personal story into a conversation with a friend or coworker. Don’t ramble on and on. Practice having a beginning, middle and end. Take note of their responses so that you can tell it better next time. (Hopefully to a different person.)

These things help me. The world belongs to those who tell the best stories … so tell the ones that matter whenever you get the chance.

Photo (Flickr CC) by Joel Montes de Oca

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Joe Boyd

Joe Boyd

Featured Storyteller
Joe Boyd is the Founder and President of Rebel Pilgrim, a full service creative agency and media production company with offices in Cincinnati and Las Vegas. He is the producer of several movies, including the multi-award winning comedy Hitting The Nuts, Hope Bridge and A Strange Brand of Happy. Joe is the author of Between Two Kingdoms as well as a regular contributor for The Huffington Post, Patheos, Leadercast, Christian Standard, and Rebel Storytellers. He currently serves as a Lead Teacher at SouthBrook Christian Church and an Adjunct Instructor at Cincinnati Christian University.
Joe Boyd

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