Storytelling Tips

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: Three Tips for Corporate Presentations

Posted in Corporate Presentations, Storytelling Tips on June 29th, 2010 by Storyteller – Be the first to comment

Storytelling tips come in all forms, depending on the audience. Here are three storytelling techniques for how to be a storyteller for business storytelling.

1. Engage the audience.
Storytelling is not theater. The energy and comments from your audience should be incorporated into your presentation. For example, if you are presenting a corporate storytelling event in the morning you probably have a high energy group and you will adjust your presentation according to whether you want the group to “ramp up” or slow down. If you have corporate presentations immediately after lunch and your audience is feeling a little groggy, you will want to energize your presentation. Sometimes as you tell, your audience may make comments or asides that you can then utilize in your presentation. Listen to your audience. Make them a part of your storytelling.

Take a look at Sean’s “Storytelling 101” Ebook Training Kit for more information!

2. Keep your personal stories short.
In many places, there is an abundance of storytelling that focuses on telling personal stories. In business speaking, you’ll want to keep these stories very succinct and to the point. While some audiences may really seem to enjoy longer personal tales (see #1 above), most audiences will want you to keep these stories crisp and focused on the purpose of your presentation. Add this question to your storytelling tips: Is your personal story moving your presentation toward your goal? If not, then edit and shorten the story.

3. Explore short “fables”
Sometimes speakers choose to use personal tales because they don’t have a collection of world-tales to draw from. However, the Internet makes it easy to find simple stories such as Aesop Fables and others. To learn more about using world-tales in your presentations, please see Sean Buvala’s article “Creating World Tales for Business Storytelling.”

We hope these first storytelling tips make your professional presentations better. Please be sure to check back for more!

Sean Buvala is an award-winning, full-time professional storyteller who creates training and workshops in effective public speaking. You can book him for your event. For self-directed learning, order his coaching kit at

Storytelling Tips on YouTube!

Posted in Gestures, Storytelling Tips, video on June 22nd, 2010 by Storyteller – Be the first to comment

Storytelling Tips First! Here’s a video I did for you at YouTube showing you how to use gestures as a storytelling technique for any public speaking need.¬†You are about to find out the answer to “What do I do with my hands?”