This last week, Utah was the home of one of this country’s most prestigious storytelling events, the Timpanogos Storytelling festival.
I was able to attend the conference and listen to some of the world class storytellers from across the world. I also got to meet tellers from across the country, as far away as Florida.
Perhaps you too were able to attend. If so, I bet you had a great time. I know I did.
One of the key take-aways that I learned from the festival, was that everyone has a pile of stories, especially those us who are at or near our retirement years.
What Stories Can You Tell?
Sharing your legacy
If you’re reading this, it’s because you’re either living in one of our fantastic 55+ communities, or you’re thinking of moving to one of them. That means, if you’re not retired yet, you soon will be. With all that life experience under your belt, you have a lot to share.
Who will you share this vast amount of knowledge with?
Your kids and grandkids of course.
You’ve lived through a lot, and even if you don’t realize it, they could really benefit from your tales of times past, and from stories you heard from your parents and grandparents.
In Utah, we pride ourselves on being very keen on family research, learning as much as we can about our ancestors. Chances are, you’ve met and talked to, and even heard stories from or about some really amazing relatives who’ve now passed on.
Whether your own stories or those of past generations, everyone can benefit from telling stories.
Telling a great story
While everyone of us has great stories to tell, not all of us find ourselves comfortable telling them. We may even find it difficult to distill our memories into interesting words that we think others would be interested in.
The thing is, we’re all storytellers to some degree or another. We’re programed to learn through stories. Whether you know it or not, you’ve told stories your whole life.
Theres a few tricks though that can help you tell a more captivating story that will teach, inspire, and pass on your vast wealth of knowledge.
Here’s a few pointers that I’ve learned to help tell a better story:
If you find that people don’t pay much attention to your stories, or if you feel like you have a hard time fully expressing your idea, try boiling it down to its bare essentials.
Take some time by yourself and see if you can tell the story in under a single minute. Try to have a beginning, a middle, and an end to the story.
As you condense your memory, you’ll find that the key points become more clear, and then if you want, you can use those few sentences as a foundation to elaborate or embellish on as you see fit.
Have a theme, or a point to your story. I wouldn’t recommend telling your listener what that theme or point is, they can figure that out for themselves, but in the previous exercise, you’re able to boil down the bare essentials of your story. When you do this, the importance of that story becomes more clear.
So as you craft your story, structure your tale based on that theme, without coming right out and saying, “The moral of this story is…”
Make it a conversation.
Unless you’re giving a talk to an audience, you’re going to be in a conversation. Knowing your story and having a good grasp on the important key points will help you adapt it to the moment. This involves you and the listener more fully.
Enjoy being the center of attention.
So many of us are used to sharing the spotlight, that we forget that we are incredibly interesting. The more you share well thought out experiences and stories, the more you’ll find your family looking to you for more.
You are awesome
All the folks that move into our 55+ communities are awesome. They come because they realize the value in being around other people who are as awesome as they are. Most of us have families, and even if we don’t, we’re likely to find many great friends to share our memories with.
So go for it, take a walk down memory lane. Find those treasures of experience and share them. Everyone loves a good story. From the caveman days till, now, we’re hardwired to love a good tale, tall or otherwise.