Storytelling is a learnable skill

Prathamesh Krisang

A friend, who is a developer and a founder, thinks he cannot tell stories. But now that he needs to get customers, he’s desperate to learn.

He knows it is a powerful skill, and it will help him make money for his business, but how do you learn it when you ‘think’ you don’t have the skill?

Here are 5 rules of storytelling I told my friend. And it might help you too:

  • Start with listening – The most important quality of great storyteller is that they listen. You’d be surprised how much of your story becomes relevant to your audience when you just keep quiet and listen. You’ll get better at what comedians practice – Reading The Room
  • Ask questions before telling your story – for people to listen to your story they need to have a space in their mind to receive it. And right questions create that space for you. For example, refer to the first sentence of this post.
  • Speak what is relevant to the conversation and only when it is relevant – I see people drift off way too much in the name of storytelling. Great storytellers understand when to start and when to stop. And you will easily know the difference if you “start with listening”.
  • Consider every conversation as a practice to repeat your story, with little improvements every time – This should be the first point. But the first 3 are more important. Every conversation is an opportunity to polish your story. The compounding of your improvement will pay off big time. If comedians can practice their delivery 100s of times, so can you.
  • Contemplate on your audience’s reaction, then optimize – Understand the moments in which your audience reacted positively to your story and moments where they lost you. The optimize your story accordingly.

And while you do all of this, remember to “keep listening”.