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Storytelling Is One of the Greatest Superpowers - You Can Quietly Learn It from This Expert

by | Jun 13, 2022 | Writing

Skill p*rn is everywhere.

“Learn copywriting. Learn sales. Learn how to write. Blah, blah, blah.”

Yet a simple skill called storytelling is overlooked. We think it’s just a skill authors of children’s books who never earn a living use to inspire 5 year olds.

Nope.

Storytelling changed my life.

Julian Shapiro studied storytelling for 2 years straight so he could start a podcast. What he learned I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere else. It’ll force you to do a handstand once you know it.

Stories are the foundation of the entire world

We’ll always have stories. That’ll never change.

According to a Reddit user, “eBay items with a story attached to them can get as much as 30,300% more money.” The reason is people need to make sense of the world. Dry facts don’t make sense. Stories are context.

Author Nassim Taleb says “Ideas come and go, stories stay.” Stories stick to your brain. Stories are human communication. It’s how we sync our minds up to create collective consciousness.

Storytelling expert Sheila Gonzalez says “Storytelling gives color and depth to bland information and allows for a more meaningful connection with the recipient.”

Bland equals ignored and that’s how good information gets destroyed.

Jon Haidt, psychologist at NYU-Stern says, “The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor.” Logic is what pessimists use. Stories are what optimists use because they max out our creativity and exploit our curiosity.

Money expert Morgan Housel says, “The person with the best story wins. Not the best idea, or the right answer, or the most useful solution. Just whoever tells the most persuasive story.”

Viral newsletter writer Lawrence Yeo says all the content we consume online touches on the same cliche messages.

Lawrence claims the message doesn’t matter — it’s the way the message is packaged and delivered. Storytelling is the packaging.

Storytelling is a survival skill. It’s a life enhancer.

Here’s how to tell stories that will leave mouths wide open

Julian Shapiro’s research reveals these golden nuggets.

1. Go beyond entry-level likability and charisma

Julian studied a man named Jason Silva. I hadn’t heard of him before. He’s got a decent online following, and his videos have trippy psychedelic filters.

When you watch one of his videos he comes alive, seems deeply engaged, and has an electric presence. Most storytellers don’t give you that effect. Why?

Julian figure it out…

He blows his own mind when he tells a story.

This often happens when you re-share aha-moments you had in life. The goal is to be excited during high points of the story, shocked at low points, and wowed at moments of wisdom.

The audience gets hooked on your heroin when you do.

Julian observed that when you blow your own mind, you relive the story in real-time and the impact it had on you. This shows in your face. You don’t just tell a story, you feel it.

The audience subconsciously sees the emotion on your face. When you feel, they feel.

“It’s irresistibly infectious” says Julian.

This is the first time I’ve ever heard of this storytelling technique. I realize I do it often when telling stories. I feel the story so deeply it bleeds out of my hands — or on video, the emotion pours out of my face.

Before Jason films one of his iconic videos, he refuses to start until he relives feelings from the original story and gets to that place emotionally.

If not, he waits until he does.

2. Turn the story into music

Julian observed that live storytellers keep an audience’s attention by changing their voice in these ways:

  • Speed
  • Volume
  • Enthusiasm
  • Staccato & rhyme
  • Purposeful silence

This works with written stories too. Gary Provost highlighted that stories should have a rhythm the way music does. Visually it looks like this.

The length of the sentence creates the rhythm. You can add words that rhyme to your stories to make it music.

Example: Mark Zucks gives zero f*cks because he doesn’t care about luck.

3. Strategically withhold information

My stories are like premature ejaculation. I let all the good stuff out too early.

Julian taught me to go slow. To withhold key bits of the story to create suspense and induce build-ups.

This is what happens in house music. There’s a thumping beat, a breakdown, a build-up, a release, another breakdown, an even bigger build-up, and then a release with twice as many layers of wonder.

Writer Justin Welsh taught me to add cliffhangers.

As the suspense builds, leave the audience on a cliffhanger. Then change thought. Then come back to the cliffhanger moment and create the resolution.

To become one of the best storytellers in the world, you must focus on the story’s structure and strategically release dopamine to the audience.

4. Tell the story to yourself repeatedly before sharing in public

Neil deGrasse Tyson is a legend when it comes to sharing stories and analogies.

I always thought these wisdom bombs he shared were the result of genius or talent he was born with.

Nope. Neil told twitter storyteller David Perell that most of the stories/analogies he shares in his interviews…

… Are written down first.

Wow. Just WOW.

High performers in any field always worship practice. Write your stories down beforehand. Tinker with them. Then share them in the real world.

5. Master Mark Manson’s hidden skill

Mark wrote “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Flying F*ck.”

This way of life has spread through culture faster than a bat virus. The polite way to frame what Mark figured out is to drop your self-consciousness.

The technical term in live theatre is called public solitude.

All you have to do when telling a story to a live audience is pretend you’re alone in your bedroom and the audience isn’t there.

This shows the audience a rare moment of authenticity which they hardly see in a modern society full of bad actors, pretending to care when they don’t.

An audience can’t get enough of an authentic person telling a story. It’s crack.

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