In my library I have the complete works of Charles Spurgeon. One thing that has always impressed me about his speaking, is his ability to put you in the text. I remember one sermon where is describes Jesus as the man all the kids in Nazareth would bring their broken toys to because they knew he would take the time for them and fix their toys. He has the capability to make you feel the sand between your toes as you walked the Sea of Galilee with Jesus.
I think at times speakers forget how important (spinning a yarn) telling a story is. When you sit around the supper table and ask, “How was you day?”, the response is never. “Well point 1 is …”.
On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” (Luke 10″22-29)
Jesus followed up this question with the awesome “Prodigal Son” story. If Jesus was a storyteller than I want to be a storyteller too.
But how do you improve your storytelling abilities?
First, I try to hang out with great storytellers. I am surrounded by people who tell great stories and two of the best are Sean and Garfield. They have a wonderful way of weaving a story and making it come to life. Even if I do not learn anything to help me be a better storyteller at least I had a good laugh.
Second, practice, practice, practice. Writing this blog three times a week has challenged my creative ability and there is no down side to this at all.
Third, get a hold of good resources. In my goal of becoming a better storyteller I have read many books and articles on the subject. Here are a couple that have been helpful to me.
Save The Cat – This is a book about screenwriting by Blake Synder. He got me back to story-boarding my sermons which I have found very helpful.
5 Storytelling Secrets – An article by Sam Rainer exploring 5 tips to help you with your storytelling.
Secrets of Dynamic Communication – This book is not specifically about storytelling but it is great at helping you to bring focus to your talk.
Story Seminar by Donald Miller – This one is on my “wish list”, I was going to order it but the shipping to Canada is outrageous.
Katie Ham – Here is a blog by a friend of ours from Ontario who is now teaching with her husband in Saudi Arabia.
Lynda MacGibbon – Here is another blog by a friend of ours who is a transplanted Maritimer who now lives in Toronto.
If you have any articles/books or great storytellers to suggest please leave me a comment.
Here’s to better storytelling.
“Of all the ways we communicate with one another, the story has established itself as the most comfortable, the most versatile – and perhaps the most dangerous … Assembling facts or incidents into tale is the only form of expression and entertainment that most of us enjoy at age three and age seventy-three.” (Robert Fulford )