I’m sure you have heard of the KISS Principle.
It is usually defined as: Keep it Simple Stupid.
But being a positive guy, I prefer to define it differently: Keep it Splendidly Simple.
When you apply the KISS principle to your stories you will tell much better stories, with much greater results.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Think of the most memorable and impactful stories you know. How many of them are long and drawn out? How many of them can be told in just a few sentences?
Whether you thought of Biblical parables, fairy tales, the story your mom told you as a kid or something else, chances are your experience matches mine – the stories that are memorable and make an impact are simple, short and to the point.
Here are five tips to help you craft your stories more simply, which ultimately helps them have greater impact:
1. Start with the message
Remember that you are telling the story to communicate something valuable. Start by recognizing and remembering what that message is.
From there you can outline the story with that end goal in mind. By starting with the message you can get to the story’s essence and use that as your guide in telling the story.
2. Tell it on paper or in your head
This doesn’t mean that you must write the story word for word as you will tell it (but you certainly can), and it certainly doesn’t mean that you should write it with the plan being to then read it to others. The real point here is that you
practice – either in your head or on paper.
Practicing will help you tell the story more effectively. For most people, when we haven’t practiced or thought about our story ahead of time, we tell too much and our story loses its punch or impact.
3. Think parable or fairy tale
Think parable or fairy tale. Your story doesn’t have to be ‘real;’ but it does need to relate a real message.
Use analogies or parables or tales to convey your message; however, your story and therefore the message should be captured in one or two sentences.
Why? Because those sentences are the message and that is how the story will be remembered. Go back to tip #1 and make sure your story reaches this short summary outcome.
4. Cut to the chase!
If you have ever heard someone tell a story that went on too long you know what I mean. Keep focusing on the message – no matter what. This will keep you from wandering.
If you are telling a story and YOU don’t remember why you are telling it, you really have a problem!
5. KISS and tell!
Keep it splendidly simple – the other four tips will help you do that. Then tell the story. Have fun with it, and tell it with passion and emotion! Tell it with a very clear focus on the message or idea you are trying to convey.
When you do these things your story will be outstanding and will help you achieve your communication goals.
And who knows, as you master telling stories in simple and powerful ways, you might get a casting call after all.
Potential Principle - Remember the KISS – Keep it Splendidly Simple – Principle when telling a story. The simpler your stories are, the more effective they will be.