What's in this session?

  • Be specific: He was tall vs. He was 6 foot 5 inches tall - adds credibility and helps audience see in their mind's eye what you saw with your real eyes (1:00)
  • Dialogue: He said and she said; dialogue is more powerful than narration - people want to be in the moment, not hear about the moment (2:14)
  • Five senses: sight, sound, touch, smell, taste - The chilly barn smelled like fresh sawdust as sun rays slipped through the cracks of the walls and the floor boards creeped beneath me with every step (3:24)
  • Summary (6:02)

Show notes and resources

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The Transcript

Brady Shearer: Pro Church Daily is brought to you by Storytape, unlimited stock video downloads on a single monthly subscription. Head to storytape.com and you can browse through every single video clip we have to offer for free.

Alex Mills: Well, hey there, and welcome to Pro Church Daily, the show where in 10 minutes or less you will get your daily dose of tips and tactics to help your church share the message of Jesus while navigating the biggest communication shift we’ve seen in the last 500 years. I’m your host, Alex Mills and joined as always by the boss man, Brady Shearer. Today we’re going to talk about three ways that you can instantly supercharge your stories.

Brady Shearer: When we talk about the importance of storytelling, Alex, and how it’s just one of the most important skills, one of the best ways, truthfully the best way that we can communicate as humans, a lot of the times, push back, a little question comes from that is, okay, how do I tell stories well? In these three ways to supercharge your stories, I want to offer three really tactical, super practical, tangible ways that you can make your storytelling better. The first way is to be specific. So, as an example, you could tell a story and say something like, “The man was tall”, or you could say something like, “The man was six foot five inches tall”. You could say something like, “One day I woke up and I had a brain tumor.” It’s a sad story but your story could start that way.

Alex Mills: I did not see it going that direction.

Brady Shearer: You could start a similar story and say, “It was December the fifth 1995 and I was awoken from my sleep instantly and I had this pain in the back of my head and I realized through some type of foreknowledge that I had a brain tumor”. Look, be a better storyteller than that but still be as specific as that. The reason this is important is because when you are more specific with the details in your story, your story becomes that much more reliable.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: If you’re telling a story that’s vague and has ambiguity, you might think that it’s perhaps not being remembered correctly. If you say something like, “The man was six foot five,” someone is immediately going to be like, “Wow! If he remembered that, if she remembered that, then this story must be valid or reliable.” Or you might just have superpowers when it comes to estimating and then remembering someone’s height. That’s the first tip. Be specific. The second tip is use dialogue. This is one of the ways that you can take the listener of your story and inject them into the moment. Instead of them hearing about the story, they get to be in the moment re-living the story. For instance, you could recall a conversation that you had with a friend. You could say, “Yeah, I was talking to Roxanne and we decided that we were going to go and get Mexican food for lunch.”

Alex Mills: No brain tumor.

Brady Shearer: In this story.

Alex Mills: Thank God.

Brady Shearer: This is good. You could also frame it with dialogue which would be a lot more impactful and you could put your listener to the story right in the moment and you could say something like, “I was having the conversation with Roxanne. I said to Roxanne, “What do you think we should have for lunch?” And Roxanne said, “You know, I’m really thinking Mexican food today.” I agreed with her. I immediately responded, “Yeah, let’s go.” We jumped in the car and we headed to Frijoles [inaudible 00:03:00]. That is the exact same story but it’s framed. The conversation isn’t being recalled, the conversation is being re-lived.

Alex Mills: Oh, nice.

Brady Shearer: This is important because again, it puts your listener in the moment and now they get to feel like they’re a part of the actual story, kind of like a fly on the wall. They’re not just hearing about something that happened, they are re-living it as if it was happening right now. A third way to instantly super charge your story easily. We’re going to go back to grade school for this. If you’re in English class and you’re writing a short story, one of the things that your English teacher would have pressed upon you was to use and focus on all five senses. So of course that’s sight, sound, touch, smell and taste. These are the five senses that we experience as human beings.

The more that you’re able to use all five senses in your storytelling the more vivid that your stories become and this is important for your viewers, your listeners of the story, because you were probably there for the story. If you’re recalling a moment where you were parenting or you were driving to work, you were there. There are all of these details in that story that you are subconsciouly remembering, that you are taking for granted …

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: … that the listener of your story, they weren’t there.

Alex Mills: Yeah, that’s good.

Brady Shearer: They don’t remember that. So, instead of saying something like, “Yeah, I was driving to work one day and I got in traffic.” You can talk about how it was a really chilly morning. We’re living through a crazy, cold period right now here in Toronto. It was a chilly morning, you know, negative 20 degrees outside. There was frost on the windows. I could see my breath as I was driving and the roads, they still hadn’t been plowed. They were covered in the snow. I was slipping all over and that’s when this guy ripped in front of me. He cut me off. I slammed on the brakes and it was one of those things where the ABS brakes kicked in and they’re going da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. You know suddenly that’s funny, like da-da-da-da-da. But if you’ve ever driven in the snow, h it your brakes and got the ABS, you know that feeling.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You know that sound.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: You can recall it and now suddenly you as the listener to my story, you’re like right in the passenger seat with me. Really, you are now the driver in the driver’s seat.

Alex Mills: Right, that’s good.

Brady Shearer: Rather than saying, “I’m driving to work and I got cut off and I was pissed.”

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It’s the same exact story but you’re mentioning. Let’s go through all the five senses. Sight, the frost on the window, the breath that you can visibly see coming out of your mouth. The sound, the ABS brakes da-da-da-da-da-da-da-da. The touch, the chilly steering wheel. Again, the frost on the window. You imagine like when the frost is on the inside of the window when it gets really cold and you scrape it with your fingernail. You can draw in it. My daughter, she’s almost three years old. She loves when the windows become fogged up on the inside. Like drawing little hearts on them.

Alex Mills: Of course.

Brady Shearer: Then she gets all the fingerprint smudges. I hate it.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: But she loves it.

Alex Mills: Right.

Brady Shearer: There’s the touch as well. The smell of winter and then just the taste. That’s usually one that’s often hardest to get in there. But again, you don’t need to get all five senses. Just consider. it’s really easy for us to focus on sometimes the sight.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: That’s the most easy one but there are so many other senses that if you incorporate those as well, you can bring your story to life in new ways.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: So to quickly summarize the three. Be specific, number one. Number two, include real dialogue, back and forth conversation. Number three, incorporate as many senses as you can, preferably all five.

Alex Mills: Yeah. You know I’m a pastor at a local church here and so I do a lot of teaching and preaching. I use these tips all the time and they’re all great. In using these tips, what I do next is I get feedback. I get a lot of feedback from my wife whether I ask for it or not.

Brady Shearer: Thank you, Lord.

Alex Mills: But you get feedback from people in the church. So whether you’re telling stories from the stage on a Sunday morning or you’re telling stories on social media, get feedback from people and find, you know, just take mental notes of what people are connecting with and then repeat that. Definitely starting with these three tips to, like you said, super charge your stories. I use them all the time.

Brady Shearer: That’ll do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily but before we go we wanted to tell you about Storytape. Storytape is our unlimited stock video platform for churches. We did a great case study recently where we looked at hundreds of social media posts on Facebook from churches. We found that when churches posted the exact same contact, maybe they’re promoting a sermon series. When they promoted that sermon series through video rather than through an image or through a text-based post, we found that those posts outperformed the others by wild proportions. In particular the craziest that we saw was that those video posts, even if it was the exact same promotion for the exact same event, ministry, series, whatever it was, they earned 27 times more shares

Alex Mills: Wow!

Brady Shearer: On average and we’re talking big churches, small churches, medium churches of all kinds, 27 times more shares on average. We talk about social shares being really the ultimate form of social currency. If someone’s willing to share your posts on their own page, that’s the ultimate way of growing your organic reach and really winning on social media.

Alex Mills: Yeah.

Brady Shearer: It all comes down to video because video, especially with Facebook, gains the Facebook algorithm and you’ll get a boost in organic reach because Facebook wants us to use video. The easiest way to use video is to download it directly from storytape.com. We do all the hard parts, waking up early, shooting with the gear, our time and money. All you have to do is click download. For the month of January we’re not just going to give you the footage with Storytape. Right now we’ve got more than six thousand 4K clips on there. We’re also going to give you the video templates. You’ve got 25 proven after effects video templates that you can download as a free bonus to you Pro Church Daily listener or viewer. Only in the month of January. Head to storytape.com, sign up for our Storytape unlimited plan.

Use the coupon code daily. We’ll give you 10% off forever as long as you stay subscribed to Storytape and we’ll give you those 25 video templates as well. Now, this is storytape.com. That will do it for this episode of Pro Church Daily. See you tomorrow.

Alex Mills: Hey. Thanks for listening to today’s episode of Pro Church Daily. If you haven’t already, make sure to subscribe to Pro Church Daily for new podcasts just like this one every single day. If you’d like to support this podcast, leave us a rating or review. It doesn’t cost you much but it means the world to us. Talk to you tomorrow.



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