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The Secrets to Raising a Smarter Child
- By Inderbir Sandhu, Ph.D


Top 10 Tips on Storytelling and Making an Impact

By Dr. Clare Albright

All great communicators are great storytellers. Listeners are more open to receiving when they hear the message delivered in a story format - they can lower their walls and defenses because the message is coming to them in a safe and indirect way. Wherever you want to make an impact, tell a story!

  1. Paint images with your words by describing things using words related to the five senses.

    "The day that my grandmother died the world looked like a barren place to me. Everything looked brown and vacant.

  2. Use concrete words from the physical world when speaking, even when talking about invisible things.

    For example, an audience would be more touched by the very real image of 'crying' than the more abstract words 'mourn' or 'grieve.' "I cried on and off for several months after my grandfather passed away' versus, "I mourned and grieved for four months when my grandfather passed away.

  3. Create suspense by starting out with a provocative sentence or a provocative question. Finish up by delivering the resolution to your original provocative question.

    For instance, "Do you know what the one thing is that all women hate? Years ago, I met a female police officer who... And that's how I learned that the one thing that all women hate is....

  4. Use words that 'sing.'

    This would include words that inspire, words that imitate a sound, words that paint a beautiful picture, etc. Become an investigator on the prowl to find more words that have this kind of effect. Examples: sanctuary, crescendo, seaside, etc.

  5. Tell stories when extra emphasis is needed.

    Your listeners will remember the story long after they remember anything else that you may have shared.

  6. Use scenes from movies to drive home a point that you are trying to make.

    For example, you could say, "When she found out how much credit card debt I am in, I felt like the Wizard of Oz when they pulled back the curtain and revealed the little old man.

  7. Take note of which anecdotes have a powerful impact on others.

    Reuse these anecdotes whenever possible. This type of anecdote will either move an audience to tears or move listeners enough to make them talk about the anecdote later on with you. Why keep a valuable tool in a drawer?

  8. Limit the use of personal anecdotes when making a public presentation.

    If you use more than three or four stories about your own life, your listeners may feel that you are taking more (their time, attention, etc.) from them than you are giving to them.

  9. Tell stories about the cute things that your children and animals have done recently.

    These anecdotes will brighten up your listeners' day and warm their hearts!

  10. Practice your storytelling skills on a daily basis.

    People will feel nurtured, entertained, and supported by your effort to become a good storyteller.


Written by Dr. Clare Albright, author of "100 Tips for Parents of Two-Year Olds", Psychologist and Parenting Coach. These 10 Tips are from, "85 Secrets for Improving Your Communication Skills" by Dr. Clare Albright

Child Development

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