How to Be a Charming Storyteller

May 20th, 2012 by Nick Notas 6 Comments

Stephen Colbert Comedy Central

Storytelling has been a cherished art form for thousands of years. When done right, it can win an entire group over and have a girl hanging onto your every word. Here are some of the positive effects:

  • Make her smile or laugh so she feels comfortable around you.
  • Create attraction by showing her interesting qualities or values about yourself.
  • Connect with her on a personal level and cut through small talk.
  • Encourage her to open up to you.

A story is about the atmosphere you create. Really, you can talk about anything — your favorite professor, trying a new food, or a strange encounter with a taxi driver. It doesn’t have to be over the top or dishonest to make an impression.

Lead with a hook

You may have a cool story, but you need to segue into it gracefully. You should connect where you are, what you’re doing, or what she just said to the scene you’re about to set.

Simply ask a thought-provoking question, relate back to her, state an interesting fact, or recount something that just happened.

  • “Do you believe in ghosts? I didn’t until last week at my friend’s house in Salem…”
  • “What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten? This one time, my brother and I…”
  • “That’s awesome, I’m a travel junkie as well. I actually just got back from Egypt…”
  • “Oh, you paint? I just read that Bob Ross was actually a drill sergeant before he started his TV show. Crazy, huh?”
  • “I had the most random train ride here…”

Most importantly, jump right into the action. If you’re telling her about the wild trip to Tijuana, begin there. Don’t talk about deciding to leave, asking your friends to come along, or other minutia unless it’s critical information.

Keep it short and simple

When first meeting her, limit your story to no more than a couple of minutes. You’ll want to intrigue her but also give her time to share herself with you. If you have more to say, save it for later in the interaction after you’ve gotten to know each other better.

Eliminate the filler words

“Like”, “Um”, and “You know” are the death of a good story. Most people don’t realize how often they say them in conversation. They distract your listener and clutter your overall message.

Record yourself telling a story and notice any extra words that could be removed. Try to run through it again until you’ve got nothing but substance.

Express yourself passionately

Gesture with your hands to convey emotion rather than keep them shoved in your pockets. This makes it easier to touch her as well.

No girl is going to be engaged if you sound like Ben Stein. Monotone is boring and puts people to sleep. Vary the tone and loudness of your voice for emphasis. Change the pacing of your words to set the mood and add dramatic effect.

Paint a picture with emotions and imagery

When guys tell stories they tend to speak logically and sound like a textbook. This may get the specifics out quickly, but it’s not going to generate an emotional response from her. Here’s an example…

Logical story:

“So there I am, standing in front of the pyramids waiting to go in. Once I entered, it was a struggle to get up to the top but it was well worth it. The Pharaoh’s room was smaller than I expected but I still thought it was cool.”

You need to speak with your senses and leave out unnecessary details. What did you see, smell, hear, taste, and feel in that moment? Use concrete imagery to make her feel like she’s there.

Descriptive emotional story:

So there I am, staring up at these massive ancient structures towering over me. I felt so small in that moment but my hands were shaking in excitement. Inside, we had to crawl through these tiny hallways to get into the Pharaoh’s room.

I couldn’t believe that it was only the size of a small bedroom; I got so claustrophobic. If that’s all a king got, I can appreciate my dorm room a whole lot more!”

Give her an opening

A one-sided conversation can feel like a rant. Interactive storytelling is an effective way to keep her engaged. Involve her by asking a simple question during the story or posing an open-ended one when you’re done.

Adding to the pyramid story above:

  • “What’s the greatest place you’ve been?”
  • “Did you go through that obsessed-with-pyramids phase when you were little too?” (Thanks Indiana Jones!)
  • “…my hands were shaking in excitement. You know that feeling, right?”
  • “Yeah, I realized I was a total chicken in tight spaces. What are you afraid of?”

End on a strong note

Your stories should be purposeful. Use them to get her to crack a smile or convey something personally meaningful.

When wrapping it up, remember: What was funny about it? Why was it important to you? Did you learn a lesson? How did it affect you?

Your life is a great story never too boring to tell. The best orators practice regularly and can make something exciting even from the mundane.

Have a free 60-minute strategy session with me.

  1. Megan on May 21, 2012

    I love this! I think it’s so sexy when a guy tells a funny story…that’s how my bf won me over 🙂

    • Nick Notas on May 21, 2012

      Awww, very cute. I’m happy you enjoyed the article!

  2. Rogier on October 15, 2012

    Bob Ross was a drill sergeant?!

  3. bob on November 17, 2013

    Olan Rogers is a pretty decent story teller.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a5DpfFCVNNc slightly over the top though. :>

  4. Daniel on November 3, 2016

    I especially love the first part. Quite often when I tell stories, people don’t pay much attention, and now I see that when I did use a hook at first, I got way better results.

    Thanks Nick 🙂