What really matters when you tell a story?

storytelling

Have you ever thought about why some people tell much better stories than others? And why some books are better than others? 

When I decided to start writing longer pieces, I first read the book, No Plot? No Problem!. The author asked all these questions that made me actively think about what stories I enjoy. As you can imagine, pinning it down took a while, but I now know that I don’t like to read long descriptions of surroundings where the author forces me to see ‘his' world through his eyes. Instead, I want authors to focus on the plot while giving me the freedom to fantasize about the setting.

It’s utterly different when I listen to people's holiday stories; that’s when I want to hear all the subjective judgements. I’m not at all interested in where a person went or what they’ve done. I want to hear about their personal impressions of the places and what they felt in the moments. I hardly ever know what or where exactly the places are that they’re telling me about. What I want to know is why I should visit. 

You might now question the professional context here; why am I trying to make you reflect on books and then talking wildly about people’s ability to tell a good story of their last vacation trip? Bear with me, I’m getting there. 

Yesterday I downloaded the book Talk Like TED, because for me, TED speakers are the most engaging storytellers. I did so, because I’ll be speaking at the re:publicanext week and will give a talk called "Community Power: From Prototype to Market.” For the first time I’m actually nervous. It’s not that I haven’t spoken at events before, it’s just that this time it feels different. So far I've analyzed three kinds of talks: the ones that teach something new, the ones you do to represent a company to explain what the company does, and the ones that are supposed to change people's perspectives on a topic.

The TED book mentions that when preparing for a talk, you should start asking the right questions. The right questions don't include, “What do you do?" It’s not even, “What are you passionate about?” The real question to answer when speaking at events is, “What is it about the industry/this idea/this company that makes your heart sing?” or in other words, “Why does it matter?” 

I’ll now go back to reading and preparing my slides for next week. I would love to hear from you and learn what makes your heart sing these days, what you’re working on and why it excites you.

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