9 Tips for Masterful Stories from the Stage

At Club Awesome Toastmasters, we know that storytelling is one of the most powerful and memorable ways to communicate your message. Telling a good story involves acting it out on stage through your use of body language, word choice, and vocal variety. In the August edition of Toastmaster magazine, Karen Banfield shares 9 tips for presenting stories based on the principles of theater.

  1. Block your speech. That is, think about how you will move to specific places at specific times.
  2. Move with purpose. Avoid pacing and just stand still if you have nowhere meaningful to go.
  3. Learn character voices. Gain attention by changing your voice to match the characters in your story.
  4. Physically separate your characters. When you speak for a different character, make sure to use a different stage position.
  5. Don’t just act, do. When using gestures or props, actually use them, rather than just pretending to use them.
  6. Include details. Add memorable context to the scenes you describe by featuring minute details of interest.
  7. Be tender. Although exaggeration can be noticeable, a targeted attempt to touch the heart can be more powerful.
  8. Focus. Eliminate anything in your speech that doesn’t support your message, no matter how attached you feel to it.
  9. Use your body. Make your audience feel your message by feeling it yourself and delivering it your through your body, not only your head.

For additional details on applying theatrics to tell masterful stories, be sure to see the full article [1].

[1] Banfield, K. (2018, August). How to master the stage: 9 theatrical tips for delivering award-winning stories. Toastmaster, 14. https://www.toastmasters.org/magazine/magazine-issues/2017/august2017/how-to-master-the-stage

Author: David F. Carr

Since I first served as Club President in 2012, I've been an area director, district social media director, and founding President of Online Presenters Toastmasters. I also run the WordPress for Toastmasters project, based on software originally developed for use at Club Awesome. Professionally, I am a writer and editor who spent years working for technology publications including InformationWeek, Baseline Magazine, and Internet World. I am the author of Social Collaboration for Dummies and have given keynote presentations at technology conferences in Berlin, Lisbon, and Stockholm. I consult on editorial and digital projects through Carr Communications Inc.

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