Photo of John Rydell

How to Tell Captivating Stories that Engage Your Audience

We communicate best through stories.

Ever since humans could communicate verbally, we’ve been telling stories. They shape our history, teach us lessons, and help us to relate to each other in unique ways.

If you can infuse your webinar with a story or two, you can build trust with your attendees, capture their attention, and make them feel like you truly understand their problems.

However, your stories must be good to have that effect. Otherwise, people will lose focus and drop off. So… how do you go about telling an engaging story that draws in your audience?

Let’s dive in…

Decide on Your Takeaway

What message do you want your audience to get from your story? Decide on this before you start crafting the actual story.

In other words, start with the goal in mind. Then build up to the main takeaway.

For example, if you want the takeaway to be, “It’s possible to make money online and travel the world,” you could tell the story of how you went from having never left the country to your 2 week trip to Fiji — during which you made more than your trip cost.”

Tell It As if You’re Living It

You want to hold your listener’s hand and walk them through every twist and turn, so that they’re on the edge of her seat.

How do you do that?

It’s a combination of your tonality, facial expressions, and mood at each moment of your story. You want them to feel like you felt at the time – you don’t know what is going to happen. Not like “it’s already over and everything turned out okay.” Keep the sense of mystery alive.

To see some examples of this in action, check out comedians like John Mulaney, Bill Burr, and Eugene Mirman. These comedians know how to keep the mystery (and hilarity) going throughout their stories.

You can start with these clips by John Mulaney:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07BiGlUW0mY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aYIwPu50Fic

Infuse Questions

By infusing a few questions throughout your story, you can get the audience engaged. For example, you could say, “Can anyone else relate to that? Comment in and let us know.”

Use Story Structure

Every story has 4 basic elements:

1) Intro/Hook – You introduce the characters/environment in the story, and hook in your listener with something curiosity-provoking.

2) Development. You share the characters’ main struggles and obstacles.

3) Climax. This is the turning point in the story.

4) Resolution. You wind the story down and wrap it up. It’s the “come-down” from the climax.

When you craft your story with this structure, it’ll be easier to follow along, and more interesting for the listener.

End With a Bang

Try to end your story with impact. Wrap everything up and reveal the main takeaway to your audience in a way that inspires them.

For example using the “it’s possible to make money online and travel the world” story, you could end with something like, “My next trip will be over 1 month, and I’ll be able to keep my business running smoothly the whole time. You really can break out of the conventional job path, and sculpt the kind of life you want.”