Storytelling Tips: Pacing Your Story

Posted in General, Storytelling Tips on July 1st, 2010 by Storyteller – 2 Comments

Storytelling Tips focuses on “pacing” your storytelling.

First, pacing refers to how fast your story unfolds. Do you spend more time on some parts of the story and less time on other parts? This will change each time you tell any individual story. Although you may be telling the same story, the differences in your audience will help you to know when to focus more on part A than part B.

For example, when I tell my version of the “Fisherman and His Wife” to children, I will spend more time on the funny way the fisherman and the fish speak to each other as well as the characteristics of how the wife reacts to each new change. When I tell the story to adult audiences, I will spend more time with the relationship between the fisherman and his wife. Since my storytelling stories are in episodes rather than a script, it is easy for me to change the pace at which each segment is revealed.

The second way to describe pacing is how fast you speak while telling the story. Mastering intentional pacing can help you create nuances in your story and is an essential key to how to tell a story.

(Editor: To learn many more storytelling tips, see our Storytelling 101 Eworkbook.)

When you speak with a slower pace, you might be conveying the ideas of fear, anger, disbelief, astonishment, or awe.

When you speak very quickly you may also be sharing the emotions of fear, anger, excitement, energy, joy, surprise.

You will notice that I listed the words fear and anger for both slow and quick pacing. What makes the difference in how those emotions are conveyed? Does it make a difference in who is being addressed? Does it make a difference in where the action is taking place?

Overall, most new tellers do not think about the ideas of pacing as part of their storytelling techniques. They simply tell their story, with their pacing based on whether they are having trouble remembering the episodes (slow pacing) or just trying to get all the words out of their brain (fast pacing). Rather than just let your words fall randomly from your mouth, make intentional choices about how fast your characters speak.

We hope these storytelling tips improve your corporate presentations or bedtime stories- and everything in between.

Sean Buvala is the national director of and the author of the Storytelling 101 self-paced “learn storytelling” kit.

Storytelling Tips

Posted in General on June 19th, 2010 by Storyteller – Be the first to comment

Storytelling tips are coming soon. You’ll find storytelling techniques for business storytelling, corporate storytelling, storytelling in the classroom and other helpful tools.