There are a few things that you should avoid doing when telling stories, as they could either get you in trouble, are unethical, or are just bad ideas that will make your audience feel bored or uncomfortable. In this post we'll explore what these things are, how they make your audience feel, plus what to do instead.
- First, when telling stories about real people you know, whether about yourself or someone else, you have to avoid lying. Though you might be able to lie and make the story more interesting, it’s never really worth it.
People can sometimes see straight through lies, and others might be so bold as to call you out on it, which can make you look bad. You never know if the person you’re talking to has heard a similar story from someone else and can spot the lie.
2. One surefire way to bore any audience is to take a bunch of sidetracks away from the main plot of the story you’re telling. Some people have a bad habit of having to trail off and explain every other thing in their story with another whole story.
Not only is this often boring and frustrating for audiences, it also causes your main message or points behind the story to get diluted. People will not remember the main point but rather the unimportant information you talked about.
3. Suppose you talk to many different groups of people and are utilizing storytelling in all of them. In that case, you might run into situations where you tell the same story professionally and socially. However, you need to make the necessary adjustments to the story.
You never want to include inappropriate details depending on the audience you’re talking to. How you might tell a story about a night out to your friends will be different from how you tell it to your boss, for example.
4. Your level of intensity matters greatly both for public speaking and storytelling. You never want to go to extremes, either boring sounding or too hyper. Both will be distracting and unnerving to your audience.
If you sound too bored, your audience will feel just the same and start to pay less attention. However, being hyperactive will just be distracting for the most part, and people will focus more on you than your story.
5. One mistake you might have seen before is when speakers or storytellers try to force unnecessary interaction from the audience. Some people do this when they feel nervous about being the centre of attention, but you have to get used to it.
Sometimes audiences will respond well to this, but when they don’t, it kills the mood of the entire presentation or story. It’s best to avoid this type of behaviour altogether so you never have to take that risk.