5 Tips for Great Storytelling

2019-01-23T17:00:03+00:00

Storytelling is an important part of human nature that brings people together and helps us explain who we are. Whether it’s ancient myths about the origins of the universe to a tweet about spilling your coffee…again, we all love to tell a good story. At Semble we’re all about helping community projects to get their stories out there, and we love reading the amazing stories that come out of the work that you do. So why not write a blog telling a story from your project? Remember to share the blog on social media using #SembleStories

So you’ve heard the basics of blogging – let’s get a little deeper into it. Without further ado, here are five top tips for telling your story.

1. Start from the middle of the story

In media res is a latin phrase meaning ‘into the middle of things’ and is a traditional storytelling method. Used in stories like Hamlet, the Illiad and the Mahābhārata, this means plunging the reader into the action, then filling them in on what has led up to this moment. Our Global Operations Project Manager for Outdoor Classroom Day, Dominika, uses this in her blog Smooth(ie) Operators

2. Stories come in different shapes and sizes

Don’t feel like your story has to be pages and pages long, or full of complicated words. Amazing storytelling can happen in just 280 characters – take a look at this tweet, or this short but powerful blog from New Horizon Youth Centre. 

Young person sits on a wall looking at their phone. Photo Credit Timi David Fregene

3. Add pictures and videos

More and more of us read stories online as we commute, in our lunch breaks or waiting for the kettle to boil. This doesn’t mean we have to dumb down what we’re saying, but using photos and videos can break up stories into bitesize chunks. Of course, pictures and videos also make your stories come alive so people can see what you are all about. Take a look at this blog from our friends at Grow Chichester.

4. Make it personal

Anya Hart Dyke Dressed as a Christmas Present Image Taken from Her Blog

Make sure that your blog isn’t all facts and talking about what you did. Finding the right balance between anecdotes and bigger ideas can really help make a story personal, relatable and have an emotional hook. Anya Hart Dyke navigates this perfectly in her blog The ‘New Year Tree’ where she uses dry humour and tells stories from her family to tackle consumerism and wastefulness. Including personal stories can make difficult issues seem manageable and relevant for everyone.  

5. Finish on a high note

You can finish with a call to action, asking your readers to get involved with a campaign, event, or project that you are running, or with a reflection or learning from what you’ve written about. Either way, ending with a strong sense of purpose helps the readers to understand the importance of the story. In his blog, Bryan from Cool Wirral tells us how to get involved, and reminds us of the Faith and Climate Network’s place in the Wirral Climate Change Strategy.

Bonus Tip – Keep It Authentic

You’ll notice that all of the stories we’ve mentioned are very different. This shows that there is no right or wrong way to tell your story. When you are storytelling, the most important thing is doing what feels true to your project. It’s ok to talk about any difficulties you’ve had, as well as being comfortable to celebrate your successes. These ups and downs make your story real and that helps people to connect to them.

People riding on a rollercoaster. Photo Credit 2 Photo Pots

You’ve read the tips, now try them out with a blog! Share what you write on social media using #SembleStories so we can shout about them on our network.

About the Author:

Josie Howard
Keen to make the world a kinder place, Josie supports the campaigns and community teams at Semble to help bring people together. She has worked with migrants, taught sex education and is a lover of all things Latin America. Her interests include food, reading, and dreaming of being a beekeeper.