Scott Simon is a professional storyteller. He’s traveled the world as an award-winning correspondent for NPR and is host of NPR’s Weekend Edition. He’s also an acclaimed novelist and memoirist.
Stories are universally appealing, and we’ve written a lot about how important it is for non-profits to tell share their own stories with the world. But, unfortunately, not all stories are well told.
In a video on YouTube Reporters’ Center, Simon shares the universal truths of the well-told story:
(1) A good story has a point. Not necessarily a lesson or a moral, but something that the listener can take away from it.
(2) A good story has vivid detail. Sometimes, just one phrase will do. Listeners need something that they can remember and repeat.
(3) A good story has a strong start. Without this, you’ll lose a listener immediately. Even if you have great analysis and wonderful prose later, it won’t matter because nobody will hear it. Simon sites a 1940 Winston Churchill speech as having the ultimate strong start: “The news from France is very bad.” Direct, engaging, and dramatic.
(4) A good story is broken up into short, “breathable” sections. Writing a story is like going on a swim. With proper breaks for breath, storytellers will develop a natural rhythm.
(5) A good story avoids dependent clauses. This applies to audio/video stories. Keep things conversational and easy for your listener to digest.
Simon also encourages people to use social networking sites like Twitter to tell their stories, find stories, and raise money online.
“Use them! Have fun!”
And don’t forget to share them with @Fundly!