Captivating Listeners: 3 Steps to Engaging Storytelling

Stories show a 20% increased likelihood listeners will remember what you say.

I was sitting in my place of worship with my girlfriend, who has a five-year-old son, Zachary. Zachary, like any 5-year-old, loves to talk. However, he has no volume or filter control when he needs it the most. We're getting to the sermon portion, and Zachary decides he has a question to ask: When is it over? Zachary continues to ask the same question. On the fifth ask, his mother gets a little upset. She looks at Zachary and says, ” I don't wanna hear another word out of you until this service is over. Zachary's eyes got the size of saucers. He shimmies down to the church pew, where he hangs out momentarily. At that point, he popped up and asked, how old will I be when it's over?

When you lead a meeting or have a one-to-one conversation, have you ever wondered if your listeners think the same?

When is this over?

Stories have the power to engage listeners and invoke emotions from the very beginning. They create a visual that connects participants to what you want to say. According to a Harvard study, people are 20 times more likely to remember facts when tied to a story. Storytelling is an art because it requires thought and structure. Simple stories, though, aren't hard to create. Try these three steps for the next story you share to capture and captivate your listener's attention.

First, the current state is when you set up your story with the who, what, when, and where. This creates a mental picture for your listener.

Second, is the defining moment when you grab your listener's attention with a plot twist that keeps them wondering, where is the story going?

Third, the outcome is the point you wish to make that connects directly to the topic you want to convey.

Stories are a powerful way to influence action. These three steps will capture your listener's attention and help them remember your message long after the interaction ends.

Related: A Lack of Courage: Professionals Avoiding Clear Calls to Action