One of the essentials in becoming a better communicator is understanding and embracing the characteristics of your specific voice. As a STORYTELLER, you have three distinct strengths you must lean into for greatest impact. You also have a significant weakness that, left unchecked, can undermine your strengths and limit your ability to connect and communicate with others.

Regarding strengths, a storyteller has three: captivation, recollection, and entertainment. Let’s look at each in greater detail:


You have the ability to capture the audience’s attention from beginning to end through detailed and meaningful stories. You know how to choose a story that not only taps into the audience’s emotions but stirs their intellect as well. By leveraging timing, tempo, volume, and pitch as you speak, you create an audience that hangs your every word.


You have a strong memory to share details of a story without notes, making your presentation feel more like a performance than a lecture or motivational seminar. You not only remember the words in the necessary order, but you also recall when to modulate your presentation style to match the intended effect of the words on the page.


You have the ability to entertain and inform at the same time. Your presentation helps people better remember facts, numbers, or principles because you anchor them to memorable phrases or story cues that can easily be recalled later on.

The weakness of the storyteller is DIRECTION. Storytellers can share great stories, but if they aren’t careful, the audience ends up confused because they missed the point of the story. Your challenge is to make sure the stories illuminate the point you want to make instead of being the point of your presentation. While it is advisable and wise for a communicator to have an element of performance and entertainment to their message, the point of the message is helping the audience in some way.

Stories that merely entertain may be fun to tell, but no one remembers a fun story as well as they do as story that truly communicated a helpful truth. Make sure that your stories are designed to help and inform the audience as much as they entertain. Try to keep them short and sticky—that is, easy to remember and repeat. When the audience walks away not only enjoying your stories but repeating them to one another because of their helpful content, you are successful in your communication.


Abraham Lincoln. Everyone is familiar with the 16th President of the United States, but not everyone knows of Lincoln’s fondness for using stories to drive home a point (often to the dismay of his cabinet members). Lincoln knew well the power of story to incite the imagination and take an audience’s thoughts to new and previously unconsidered places. A brilliant wordsmith, Lincoln also knew how to craft a story to highlight the important point or thought he wished to underscore, and used his well-honed style of delivery to engage and connect with audiences from all over. Lincoln didn’t win over every audience member he addressed, but he showed how powerful a tale well-told can cement a thought or principle into the minds—and hearts—of people.