We all know storytellers. They are the people who can hold our attention in the palm of their hand as they tell a story to explain, encourage, prove a point or even describe something. They are the people we trust because they share their experience – highs and lows – to help us grow, learn and understand. They are transparent, clear, available and relatable.
I had a mentor who told stories, a lot of stories. At first I was annoyed at how long it seemed to take him to make a point. Then I realized that the story was the point. Instead of telling me what to do or how to do it, he told a story to illustrate the point. I could then play back that story again and again when I needed to be reminded of the lesson. Storytelling is a brilliant way to share, tell and engage without pushing, forcing or demanding. Stories help the medicine go down. When the story is engaging and full of truth it holds the audience with a gentle hug, helping them process and learn without being too heavy handed.
A good story teller knows how to say what they mean AND allow the audience to process through it on their own time. We are not always ready for the lesson or subject of the story, yet we can tuck it away and apply it when we need it. Stories are kind of like the Swiss Army knife of learning. They provides tools of all shapes and sizes to allow the listeners to pull out what they need when they need it. A good storyteller has the ability to teach, entertain and disciple all at the same time. Before the listener knows it they can relate to the story, which means the lesson was understood and will be applied later.
You know a good story teller, of course you do. They are usually the best teachers, mentors, and listeners. They rarely tell, they share. They rarely berate, they spin a yarn, and best of all they allow us to participate in it all by listening, relaxing and absorbing what we need from their tale. Make it a goal to be a good story teller in your own way. Take yourself out of the center and insert a good story or illustration of your point. Making people laugh, relate and believe is easy when it is relayed in the form of a story.