The Power of Strong Dialog

How would you like to improve your storytelling techniques with just three simple tips? As a speaker, you may already know the importance of using dialog more than narration to improve your stories. Stronger dialog can lead to a stronger connection and help you capture and hold the audience’s attention.

Developing stronger dialog can help great speakers become better, and you don’t always have to learn just from other speakers. As I’ve said before, there are some important parallels with writing that can help you improve your speaking.

Call it cross-training for speakers.

Tonight the KC Writers Group met to learn about strong dialog. I found their group on MeetUp, and decided to check them out.

Many times when I’m putting together a story (you know, to make a point), I’ll find myself going through the motions of putting together the dialog, but I don’t feel their voices as I write out the story. One interesting tip came up when a member asked “When you’re writing do you hear their voice inside your head?” Essentially, are you (re)living the experience as you write it, can you feel it or are you just going through the motions?

As a speaker, I rarely try to make a multi-character conversation work in a presentation. Too confusing for me or my audience. “How do you handle group conversations?” It might make an interesting challenge to create some three and four person dialogs in a future story, and practice with a Toastmasters speech.

Character development is another topic that doesn’t always get a great deal of attention as a speaker. Speakers are usually advised to tell just two or three attributes to make the character real. Any sizable backstory isn’t practical and rarely would you use much in your presentation. However, writers consider character development to be critical to the process. For speaking, it could be useful to develop more attributes (or remember them for true stories). Not only can it help with making your story more realistic, but can come in handy if you need to change which attributes you want to mention when you introduce the character.

Overall, it was an interesting experience to listen to different prose by a variety of writers with examples of dialog ranging from romantic interaction to a fictional reading of a will.

Hearing your character’s voice in your head, creating multi-character conversations and creating more in depth character back stories isn’t just useful in strengthening you written stories, but can also improve the strength of your characters dialog, and ultimately make your stories (and your points) more memorable to your pesky readers…I mean audience.

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