Are you looking for bold storytelling techniques?
The web is full of storytelling methods, but most of them are generic. That’s why we collected some fresh, bold storytelling techniques for you.
You likely never heard of these before. Why is that? Because we learned these techniques from comedy and late-night shows.
If you are looking for bold methods, comedy shows are the perfect place to find them. Comedians are masters at telling funny stories that simply stick in your head.
They know how to over exaggerate and fully engage the audience. So, even when you’re telling a serious story, these techniques will help you to stand out from the rest.
While everybody else is telling generic stories, you’ll take yours to the next level following the 10 tips we collected for you below.
Why Storytelling Techniques?
You might ask – why use storytelling techniques at all? Why wouldn’t you just tell your story as it comes to your mind?
In some situations it might be best not to use any techniques, to make sure you are authentic. Improvisation and natural flow can do a lot for you. But not always.
Storytelling, on the other hand, allows you to control the narrative and make sure you always hit the right spot with the audience. While speaking freely and managing to engage the audience is a matter of talent, storytelling is actually a skill. This means that anyone can learn it and improve it too.
Stories are great because they make you memorable. They allow you to build trust with others and ultimately sell more. It’s the perfect skill for entrepreneurs, copywriters, marketers, salespeople, and many others.
Using special techniques helps you to enhance your stories. This is why we put together these 10 bold methods to help you increase the impact of any story you tell. You can use these for stories you tell verbally or in written form. They work from a stage, or in a face to face communication.
So, read on and try these out in your content marketing, social media strategy, public speaking gig, or even at the next cocktail party.
1. Use Hard Loops
Creating loops is a very common storytelling technique. First, you open up a storyline. Then, right before the climax, you transition into a different storyline.
The most common form are nested loops. Nested loops have certain anatomy. Usually, it’s three stories layered within each other. The main story you actually want to tell is the middle one.
So, a typical nested loop would look like this:
Open story 1 – open story 2 – tell the main story – close story 2 – close story 1
Open loops are such a popular technique because they create curiosity. They also allow you to hold the attention of your audience for longer. The brain doesn’t like unconcluded stories. So, your audience will listen to find out how the story ends.
Now, creating a nested loop isn’t a bold technique in itself. But there is a way to take it to the next level. It’s a way most comedians use.
How Are The Top Comedians Doing It?
We are talking about are hard loops. You see, most storytellers use soft loops. Soft loops slowly transition into the next story – the audience hardly notices them.
It depends on the style of the comedian to some extent, but most comedians and late-night show hosts use hard loops. That means they use loops which are abrupt and very noticeable.
If you watch a full show of any comedian you’ll notice how many topics they cover in one night. They might talk about politics, things they observe, discussions they had with friends, or what happened on their last bus ride.
It seems random at first but towards the end, they close all the loops. It all becomes one big masterpiece.
Hard loops do two things. On the one hand, they create immense curiosity. They allow you to keep your audience’s attention for a long time.
On the other hand, hard loops can sometimes cause amnesia. That’s where it gets interesting. By the end, your audience might not remember the full story. What they will remember intensely, however, is how they felt.
Think about it, have you ever watched a comedian and had the time of your life? Yet, after the show, you can’t remember the exact jokes. What you can remember for sure is how funny it was. That’s the power of hard loops.
If you are telling a story to persuade someone this is a powerful technique. Use it with caution, people will always remember how you made them feel.
2. Create Memorable Characters
The next bold storytelling technique is creating memorable characters. TV comedy shows do this exceptionally well. But how do they do it?
Typically, the characters we see on comedy shows are exaggerated. They aren’t just a bit quirky or a bit rude. They have intense traits and it’s fun to watch how their traits come into play in their daily life.
Perfect examples are Sheldon Cooper from Big Bang Theory or Phil Dunphy from Modern Family. They make us laugh with their eccentric, extreme traits.
In reality, most people don’t have extreme traits. But that’s the reason why fictional characters are often more memorable than people we meet. They have edges and flaws and that’s what we remember them for.
An example of memorable characters can’t only be found in comedy. We also find them in superhero or Disney movies. For example, Tony Stark who is exaggeratedly arrogant at times, or Elsa the ice queen who seems extremely reserved.
They are characters we recognize and remember. We can identify with them and become invested in their stories.
So, if the character of your story is yourself, you might want to over-exaggerate one of your own traits. Or, if you are creating a fictional character, think about how to make them memorable.
3. Be Relatable
Being relatable ties in with the memorable character.
Most people like people who are similar to them. So, telling a very relatable story is a powerful storytelling technique.
It works even better if you know your audience and what they deal with. Tell or write a story they would relate with and win them over.
If you want to go bold, tell relatable stories that might be embarrassing or funny. Being very honest and open about your flaws makes you even more relatable.
Comedians do so well because they take ordinary situations and joke about them. The audience can relate as they know these situations too.
For your own stories, make sure to pick up the audience from where they are at. If the main character in your story is a born millionaire, fewer people will be able to relate simply because most people aren’t born millionaires.
If you use stories in sales, you will want to know your audience. What are their worries, fears, hopes, and dreams? Based on these you create a relatable story.
4. The Surprising Power Of Self Deprecating Humor
The next storytelling technique we can learn from comedians and late-night shows is self-deprecating humor.
If you listen to comedians, they usually don’t talk about how great they are. They don’t boast and they aren’t arrogant.
Instead, they usually make a bit of a fool of themselves. They tell us about the stupid ideas they had and how it played out for them to follow that idea.
Self-deprecating humor makes you relatable and it builds your character. No matter if it’s a real or fictional story, sprinkling in some self-deprecating jokes. It will make your story come alive.
Comedienne Ellen Degeneres is a master at self-deprecating jokes. She hardly ever makes jokes at the expense of others. Instead, she makes herself the target of her own punchlines.
Self-deprecating humor makes a character likable. It shows they can laugh at themselves instead of putting others down. Use this kind of humor in your stories to be more relatable and elevate others.
5. Make It About Them
Now, we talked a lot about storytelling techniques that help you build up a great character. The thing is, great characters work so well because your audience can identify with them.
In truth, your audience is the main character. It’s not always obvious, but they identify with the main character of your story. They feel what the protagonist feels.
That’s why the big movies like Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings are so popular. We can put ourselves in our main character’s shoes and think about how we would act.
Comedians use the same principle. They are so relatable that we get invested in their story and think about how we would react in their place. It creates vivid images in our minds.
When you craft a story to tell or to write think about how your audience feels in the beginning. Then, consider how you want them to feel after you told your story. Finally, find out how to bridge the gap.
The easier you make it for your audience to relate with your story, the more persuasive your story will be.
6.Address Controversial Topics
Comedians and late-night show hosts never shy away from controversial topics. If a political figure has done something scandalous they are the first to comment on it.
Often they are the first to voice an unpopular opinion. They go against the grain.
A perfect example of this is The Late Show with Stephen Colbert. The show discusses everything from politics to religion. Stephen Colbert is not afraid to discuss complex and controversial topics or to state his opinion on them. And this opinion is often controversial.
If your story feels a bit too generic you can easily add a twist to it. Bring in an uncommon element, something not many people talk about it.
Now, you don’t want to address controversial topics in your stories all the time. Sometimes, being too controversial makes you less relatable. Still, it’s a bold storytelling technique that will allow you to stand out from the crowd.
7. Be Imperfect
We already made the point that your stories improve a lot if you are relatable. This storytelling technique ties in with that perfectly.
Your stories become more interesting if the main character isn’t perfect. Being too perfect makes you less relatable.
What’s more, stories get interesting if there is a form of conflict. Conflict allows the protagonist to grow. If your protagonist is perfect from the beginning, then there is no reason for conflict or growth. It creates a dull story.
Finnish comedian Ismo based a whole show on his experience with mastering the English language. He makes a joke out of it, but at the same time, he’s also saying I’m not perfect. I didn’t master English right away.
Of course, he could hide his imperfection. He could claim that English was clear and understandable for him ever since. But he wouldn’t be able to write a show on the whole topic.
You can apply this to your stories too. What makes you imperfect? How can you use your flaws to entertain and entice others?
8. Use Pop Culture References
A great storytelling technique to spice up your stories is to make references to current pop culture trends. People love references.
You can do this in a fun way – mocking the trend a bit – or smartly by connecting two ideas you usually wouldn’t connect.
Using references your audience will understand makes you appear as “one of them.” They will feel like you understand them which makes them like you.
There are many examples of how comedians and late-night show hosts use pop culture references. But it doesn’t stop there. You will even find them in popular movies.
An example we want to mention is the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Especially the character of Spiderman – who often functions as a comic relief character – is full of pop culture references.
He keeps talking about how certain instances remind him of certain movies, often to the surprise of other his fellow heroes. For the audience it’s funny and they get invested in the character of spiderman.
Don’t overdo the references. Analyze beforehand if your audience will understand the reference you try to make. When used properly, it’s a bold and unusual storytelling technique.
9. Stand Against Something
This is a technique we see especially often in late-night shows.
Did you ever notice? Most late-night show hosts talk about things they can’t stand. They talk about what bothers or enrages them.
Addressing what they don’t like gives them depth, and once again we can relate with them. They openly tell us what they stand against and we can sympathize with them.
At the same time, the host also talks about what he or she loves. When they have a guest in the studio, they might elevate them and draw out their strengths. That way, the host also shows us what they stand for.
We love to hear stories about characters with strong values. Don’t use characters who change their mind all the time. They become incongruent and the story loses power.
If you tell a story about yourself, be clear on what you want to stand for and against. If you create fictional characters, make sure to give them clear values.
10. Be Unpredictable
This is the storytelling technique probably all comedians and late-night shows have in common – they are unpredictable.
If they would be too predictable, their jokes would be too obvious and nobody would laugh. That means they have to find unique twists and unexpected angles for the stories they tell us.
Think about it, have you ever read or heard a joke and you could already tell how it will end? It probably didn’t make you laugh. If the joke took a sudden turn, however, it landed with you.
You want to apply the same for your stories. If you are too predictable, you lose your audience’s attention. People want to be surprised.
If you write your stories down, here is a cool way to become more unpredictable:
Start writing without knowing the ending yourself. What you produce might not always be an excellent story, but it trains you to think outside the box.
If you keep honing your storytelling skills, being unpredictable will become easier for you over time.
From Storyteller To Story Seller?
You can use stories for many purposes, one of them being marketing and copywriting. If you use stories in your advertising messages you make it easier for people to identify with your product or brand.
You’ll also be more memorable, relatable, and stand out from the crowd. No matter how crowded your market is, bold storytelling techniques allow you to cut through the noise.
If selling through stories sounds interesting to you, you want to explore Dan Lok’s High Income Copywriter(HIC) certification program. It’s a seven-week program teaching you how to understand your audience and craft compelling copy.
Storytelling is a vital skill for any copywriter. And mastering copywriting will allow you to make your own stories and speeches more effective. So, no matter what you use your stories for, learning copywriting will elevate your career. Discover HIC here.