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Always Deliver Stories in the Present Tense

We've all heard our fair share of stories. Some are more memorable and easier to follow than others.

Effective storytelling is delivered in the present tense. Keep reading to learn three reasons why.

Public speaker on stage at a conference.

Being in the Moment

A storyteller's main responsibility is to show up and be present with the audience. This is what people mean when they use the expression being in the moment.

It is easier for the speaker to be in the moment if they can place themselves in the story as it is happening. Essentially, the speaker is reliving the experience, reliving and expressing those same emotions and feelings.

In another post, I will share how visualization is a powerful tool for being in the moment.

Being in the moment = reliving the story

Increases the Suspense

Present tense storytelling raises the drama and suspense level, giving the audience a front-row seat to an experience happening in real-time.

It creates an environment where the speaker and audience are in it together. As a result, the audience feels more engaged and connected to the speaker. Essentially, they are waiting on pins and needles to hear what happens next.

Suspense drives connection and engagement from the audience.

Easier to Follow Along

A story delivered in the present tense is easier for both the speaker and the audience. Simplicity is the speaker's greatest asset because it helps the audience follow Point A to Point B and so on.

Speakers sometimes forget that the audience has never heard their story, so the simpler it can be the better. No need to switch between different tenses: present, past, future, progressive, etc.

Simple stories are easier to tell and follow. Complex stories limit the audience from following the speaker's narrative.

Remember: A minor change in tense can make a world of difference to your audience.

David Ghodsizadeh is founder and storytelling coach at Storytelling 4 Success.

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