Many a parent or grandparent has sat down with their family and started to share a story. While some people seem to be able to engage the kids for hours, others find their audience loosing interest in minutes.
So what's the difference? It's all about the storytelling skills.
If they don't come naturally, that's OK. The skills can easily be learned and make significant immediate impacts to successfully engage with your audience.
Here are some tips on how to share your family's stories:
Have fun and never act your age.
Kids love to laugh, and humor helps people connect. This is especially true when you tell a story about yourself. So share something unexpected, a strange circumstance you found yourself in, or a time you looked a little silly. It is important that your family to find a way to laugh at you and with you. It builds a sense of connection with you, and between them and the story.
Share your story instead of lecturing to make a point.
Nobody wants to listen to lectures. Particularly moral or ethical lectures about doing the right thing. By in large, these are both heavy and boring. But stories allow you to share lessons learned in a way that is engaging. Enjoyable. They subtlety, allow your audience to work through the lessons you are sharing without beating them over the head with it.
Move your face and use your voice.
A good storyteller will do this naturally. The rest of us might need to remind ourselves: add a little acting to the telling. This might mean adding character voices if you can, but can simply be exaggerating your facial expressions and speaking softly or loudly as you tell your story.
Kids have amazing imaginations, and a little drama in the telling of a story goes a very long way to immersing them in the experience.
Use props and tools, such as pictures, music, keepsakes.
Stimulate your family’s imagination by using any object nearby as a prop. A broomstick becomes a paddle, a horse, balancing beam - the list goes on. They are also great to engage with a younger audience as they can use the prop to act out portions of your story!
Get your audience involved.
This is might be using the props as above, or asking them questions about what might happen next? While you do need to be realistic with the attention span of your audience, getting them involved helps them to retain and enjoy your stories.
Storytelling is not a lecture. Its an engaged exchange. So take the time, and make sure you offer your the opportunity to share a story of theirs.
Everyone has a story to share. I hope the above help your family to share their own with confidence.
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