IDP IELTS Blog

Storytelling: Keep It Interesting

25 Jan 2021
Storytelling: Keep It Interesting

I went to Canada. I studied English. I saw Niagara Falls. It was beautiful. I love Canada.

When telling a story, you want to keep things interesting. This helps to keep listeners engaged and excited to learn more. Here are some tips on how to tell an interesting story.

Preparation

Preparation is key when telling an interesting story. You will need to speak for two minutes about a topic in Part 2 of the speaking test. Essentially, you’re telling a story, and you want to make it as enjoyable as possible for the examiner.

Use your one-minute preparation time wisely. Try to jot down as many key words as possible that relate to your story and topic. This tip will help you remember several details and allow you to speak for the full two minutes.

Enthusiasm

Get excited about your topic! You cannot change it, so try to think of a funny, exciting, dramatic, or serious situation related to your topic. When you’re interested in your subject matter, your overall fluency improves.

Show your emotions that relate to that story. For example, if it’s a funny or exciting story, try to smile or even laugh throughout the story. If the story is scary, try using gestures to make the story more dramatic.

Varied Speed

When telling a story, speed makes a big difference. Going too fast when speaking can confuse the listener while speaking too slowly can make the listener feel bored. Try to use your normal speech rate for as much as the story as possible; however, speed up during an exciting part or slow down when leading up to a surprising or exciting ending. Using various speeds will keep your listener on their toes.

storytelling graphic with speech bubbles

Varied Volume

The volume of your voice can also keep a story interesting. Again, when leading up to an exciting detail in your story, you can speak softly. When right in the middle of an interesting detail of the story, you can raise the volume of your voice. This will also help to keep the listener interested.

Pausing

There are different reasons to pause while telling a story. Firstly, you may be building to an exciting part of the story. Here, you can ask a question, then pause. You can also pause in between words in the sentence before the exciting part. Pausing allows the listener to anticipate what is going to happen in your story. This is when you know that the listener is engaged in the story.

Various Sentence Types

In the example at the beginning, the storyteller has used all simple sentences. Try to use a variety of simple and complex sentences. Using connectives to make longer sentences and using short, basic sentences will keep your story interesting.

Vocabulary

Your vocabulary is the best way to make a story attractive. The more descriptive words you use, the better picture the listener has in their mind. Using specific action words and verbs can create an exciting story. Also, using dramatic adjectives can make the listener want to hear more.

group of 4 sitting in a circle telling stories

Keep It Personal

Always try to tell a story that is personal to you. Sometimes it can be difficult to relate the topic to yourself, but your fluency will thank you for it. Candidates who tell stories about themselves are more confident in what they are talking about because it happened to them. This helps them with fluency, grammar, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Even if you have to bend the topic slightly, always tell a story about yourself.

Telling an interesting story can engage the listener and can improve your overall speaking score.

Last September, I decided to take the plunge and move to Canada. It has been the (louder) BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE! While I was studying English at ABC English School, I got to experience once-in-a-lifetime trips. I got to go to (pause)…(louder) NIAGARA FALLS! It was absolutely stunning! Although I miss my family and friends back home, I’m so happy I made the decision to move to Canada.

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