Stories connect us to our listeners. A study done by Spanish researchers found that when we listen to stories, our brains stimulate the story as if it was happening. Being a great storyteller, not a boring one, is a shortcut way to engage your audience and improve your chances of them liking you.
Use cliche small talk patterns to your advantage.
Small talk consists of boring questions revolving around where you’re from, the weather, TV shows, traffic, your work, etc. But we can use these “trigger topics” to be prepared and pick out interesting stories from our lives.
Dig for “sparkling stories” and “boomerangs.”
Sparkling stories are stories that make you groan, laugh, or smile, or produce an emotion out of a listener. Once you have your “trigger topics,” recall sparkling stories to implement in the small talk topics.
Practice linking your best stories with trigger topics.
These include current events, shocking news, childhood, hometown, names, interesting names, last name, jobs, first job, dream jobs, travel, weekend activities, holidays, vacations, parties, birthdays, summer, etc. Write down your stories related to the trigger topics.
Practice using boomerangs.
Use questions that reflect back to the listener to give them a chance for input, such as, “What was the biggest surprise/advantage/hardest part of your first/current job?” or, “What’s a news story you’ll never forget?” Depending on the trigger topic, come up with a variety of interesting boomerangs to try out at your next social event.