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Always Deliver Stories in the Present Tense

We all enjoy a good story. Yet, it's often the way a story is told that makes it stick in our minds. The key? It's all in the tense.

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

Public speaker on stage at a conference.

Immersive Experience: Living the Story

One of the greatest powers a storyteller holds is the ability to transport their audience into the heart of the narrative. This is what it truly means to be 'in the moment'. By narrating in the present tense, the speaker isn't just recounting an event; they're reliving it alongside their audience. This approach allows the storyteller to vividly convey emotions and reactions as if they're happening right then and there, creating a deeply immersive experience.

In a future post, I'll delve into how visualization can enhance this immersive experience.

Remember: Being in the moment is synonymous with reliving the story.

Heightening the Story Tense Suspense in the Present

The magic of the present tense lies in its ability to elevate suspense. Imagine yourself in a movie theater, witnessing the plot unfold in real time. That's the feeling that present-tense storytelling evokes. It's like giving your audience a VIP pass to the unfolding drama, leading to heightened engagement. The audience doesn't just listen; they experience the suspense, wondering eagerly what will happen next.

Essentially, suspense is a catalyst for deeper audience connection and engagement.

Clarity and Simplicity: The Key to Engagement

Simplicity is a storyteller's secret weapon. A narrative in the present tense streamlines the journey from the beginning to the end, making it more accessible to the audience. It eliminates the complexity of tense shifts, which can often derail or confuse listeners. By sticking to the present tense, the story becomes a straightforward path that the audience can easily travel along with the speaker.

Simple narratives make for clearer, more engaging stories. They ensure that the audience can effortlessly follow the speaker's journey, enhancing the overall impact of the story.

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

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


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