Teaching Tip: 4 ways to tell more effective stories

Tuesday’s teaching tip is about telling more effective stories, and I’m taking this one straight from a book titled Creating Stories That Connect. I would link to this book on Amazon for your convenience, but it is now out of print.

If you tell stories as you teach, here are four ways to make sure they connect with your hearers:

  1. Effective stories are short – Keep your story short and don’t try to write a novel. 
  2. Effective stories are simple – Simple stories have a limited number of characters, and we can quickly ascertain who they are and what they are doing. Take the story of the Three Little Pigs. There are three pigs, not twenty. They are building houses. There’s a wolf. The wolf blows their houses down. Simple.
  3. Effective stories are coherent – The hearer quickly learns what to expect in coherent stories. In Peter Pan, boys fly. In Aesop’s Fable, animals talk; in The Iliad, they do not. Once a hearer understands the universe in which the story exists, the storyteller sticks to the rules of that universe.
  4. Effective stories are pointed – Effective stories have a point. Stories that are fictional have the added benefit of creating events and characters that do what we need them to do in order to make our point. The storyteller controls the action, and can make a powerful point.

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