Dean Burke lives in Tacoma, Washington, and loves it. He's a hardcore paddleboarder with maps of the local waterways on his refrigerator, and the Executive Director at Tacoma South Sound Sports Commission. He's also a sought-after storyteller who's been a TEDx speaker and coach, and he's been an early adopter here at Boldly Went. (Check out his compelling TEDx presentation on "Tacoma and the Sea" here for a sense of who he is and what he's about.)
We don't know anyone better to help adventurers take their favorite experiences outdoors and turn them into stories that can be presented publicly in an effective, compelling way. We asked him to share some of his best tips, so he sat down with us and offered the most important basics in this 5 minute video.
Write it out. Divide it up. Distill it down. Blow people away.
Storytelling is the art of bringing other people into your own experience, and like all art it comes more naturally to some than to others. And anyone with a good story can speak at our live events. But the fundamentals that Dean offers here provide a simple process that allows anyone to quickly become more competent, and feel more confident, doing it in front of a crowd:
1) Start by writing out your story on a piece of paper, start to finish.
2) Divide your story into it's natural "chapters" - note natural transition points, or topic shifts: for example the shift between when you fell off the rock and then had to make a plan. Or the shift between sleeping calmly and being woken by the bear.
3) Physically draw a line there on your paper. A tip Dean told us: refine each "chapter" individually - tell each part of the story as well as you can.
4) Consider whether your story will have more impact if you shift "chapters" around. What do you want people to see and feel first? How do you build tension towards the climax of your story? What do you want at the finish so the story resonates after you're done? Get creative. Shift chapters around if you see fit.
5) In order to feel confident when you're telling the story, distill each "chapter" to a one word "waypoint" that you can memorize, max 5 words, so if you get lost in front of the crowd, you'll remember where you're going. (We allow notecards, so feel free to write them down if you want!)
6) Practice! Out loud, not just in your head. And in front of another person. The more the better.
6) Blow the crowd away with your amazing adventure story.