8 Tips for Great Storytelling in Training

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Have you ever been mesmerized by a story told by a trainer? Or maybe you’ve struggled yourself to tell a story that relates to your training content. Stories are one of the most memorable ways to communicate and teach, but not all stories are created equal!

A big challenge of instructional design is creating training that will live within learners forever and engage learners’ minds completely. What better way to tackle that than story telling? Storytelling in training help us all connect to the narrative in an emotional, relatable way. For participants, they’re engaging and easy to remember.

Becky Pike Pluth offers these eight creative training storytelling tips you can use in your very next session.

  1. The story should be credible: Make sure the story is pulled from an experience of your own. Try not to tell someone else’s story. Learners will form a better connection if the story is your own. It’s also easier to smoothly tell the story if you’re the main character!
  1. Keep it focused: It should be direct and to the point. Many of us have the tendency to share every detail, making a short story into more of a novel. The key here is to keep it succinct.
  1. Add in dramatic elements: The best way to creating the story you want to tell is making sure it has a beginning, middle, and end. Think of a great book you’ve read and why you liked it so much. It probably had a hook, incorporated some conflict, came to some type of climax, and had an ending. You can even add in a bit of extra drama to your own story by telling it in parts throughout your session to keep participants hooked.
  1. Make sure the moral or point of the story is clear: Is there a point to the story you are telling, and does it relate directly to the content? For instance, your story about landing your plane during an unexpected storm could tie into quick how-tos of turning in-classroom content to virtual training.
  1. Be sincere: As you craft the story, make sure to share it in an authentic way that showcases your own personality. Don’t be someone else. Be yourself as you share all the details.
  1. Use variety in your voice: A long drawn-out story in a monotonous tone is not likely to grab much attention. As you share your story, use inflections as you speak— don’t be dull and drab. Any story can come to life if some vocal variation is added in!
  1. Practice, practice, practice: You know the saying that practice makes perfect! Ahead of time, don’t worry about writing out the story word for word. Create a simple outline or bullet points that lay out the points you want your audience to retain—and even practice with a couple variations and see which one best sticks. It’s okay to keep the bullet points close by for reference during the training session.
  1. Enjoy and develop the story throughout the session: While the story should always tie back to the session content, it should also be a fun and engaging story for you to tell! Overall, make the story amazing and interesting for your learners. And again, break out your story in a couple parts throughout the session to keep learners wanting to hear more!

Always remember that great storytelling puts your learners in the middle of your message, so that it emotionally connects and moves them to action. Following these tips will help you create stories that hit that sweet spot to stimulate emotion in your learners—and they will follow your story through the very end.

So … what will your story be?

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