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How to tell your story

Telling your story is easier than you think. Yes It takes a little practice but with a few pointers you will be well on your way to tell your story on the African stage. Let’s get started.

CHOOSE a TOPIC

To enter this contest you must be 18 years and older. Which means you have been alive for more than 6570 days. That is a lot of stories; do not even attempt to tell all of them in 3-5 minutes.

It is more effective to choose a single topic to focus your story on.

The best storytellers make us feel something. Choose a memory, a moment from your life or a sequence of events that rouses emotions. It does not matter whether the emotion is nostalgia, happiness, sadness or laughter. The important thing is that it must rouse an emotion that the listener can use to connect with you and learn something from you.

Identify the climax of your story

Great storytelling is about deciding what you want your audience to remember from your story. This will help you allocate enough time to build up to the point or climax of your story. The punch line. The reason audience invests their time to listen to you.

When you know what that climax is then it makes all the other steps easier and keeps your story punch and to the point. A true mark or the ultimate storyteller.

Set the structure

There are several formats your story can take, for example you could start with the climax and work your way backwards, or you can tell your story chronologically, or you can even reveal

As you progress through the contest you will receive training on the various storytelling techniques.

The simplest format to use is the classic three-act format that allows you to set the scene, build to a climax and conclude the story with a lesson. We highly recommend this method for first-time storytellers.

An image of the three act storytelling format

Set the scene

A brief introduction to where the story takes place, when it takes place, who is involved and what the main character is trying to achieve.

In a 3-5 minute story, spend 30 seconds to 1 minute on this section

Build to a climax

This is the section where you talk about what your main character goes through. It is the steps and missteps that are experienced as the main character tries to achieve what you introduced in the scene-setting. For example, Watch how Pachida builds to the climax in this story she told at our live events

Give yourself the most time here. In a 3-5 minute story, allocate 1-3 minutes on this section

Conclude the story with a lesson

This is the section in which you bring your story home. As you prepare to conclude, reflect on what the journey meant for you and how it has shaped your point of view. Reveal the universal truth that can be experienced by anyone, even if they are from a different culture or have a different background.

Rehearse

A story can have many details that capture the listeners imagination. Unfortunately a contest has time limits. This means that you will need to rehearse your story a few times and cut out events or details that are not critical to support the climax of your story.

We know that this can be the most challenging part of this whole process, however it is necessary. This is what turns you from a good casual storyteller into the ultimate storyteller.

Record and tell your story

You are finally ready to record your story. Choose a place and a time of day that gives you great lighting so that the audience can see you clearly.

Pick a room or a time of day that is quiet to minimize the background noise. Get close enough to your device so that the sound is clear.

Next, tell your story.

Don’t be bothered by minor errors like uhmms and ahhs, or stumbling over words. The audience cares more about how you make them feel than how professional you sound. Your personal traits are what make the story intimate and authentic.

Conclusion

We are looking to be entertained and educated by your stories. And if you apply the five tips above, we have no doubt that Africa will learn about your culture, your daily life, and you as a person.

PS: Don’t forget to submit your story on time. The closing date is 25 June 2021

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