Everyone has an infinite amount of stories to share about their lives. Even the simplest ones can carry significant meaning.
There’s something about telling someone a story, whether it be a memory from your childhood, how you overcame an obstacle in your life or just what you did on that given day, that is internally satisfying. When I tell a story, I hope to somehow impact my listeners’ lives by telling them about my own, rather than just trying to get a certain reaction out of them.
I think it’s important to not only tell stories, but also to listen to others and let them share theirs. The act of storytelling is physically and emotionally relieving, and it helps people get their voices and experiences heard.
Take, for example, this video made by ProPublica about how a borderline professional soccer player underwent a knee injury and completely shifted his life’s focus from athletics to helping children in one of California’s “Level 14” group homes.
Storytelling facilitates a mutually beneficial relationship between the teller and the listeners, benefiting both sides by learning through a shared experience. This video sparked my interest in sharing stories, as I found myself captured by his story even though it had nothing to do with me.
Everyone wants to be heard, so sometimes it’s hard to take a second and listen to each other.
I chose to major in journalism because I’ve always found value in the small mental gains someone can make by having their story told. In writing, I am able to get the full details from people through in-depth interviews with my subjects, and then formulate that into a coherent recap of their life experience that they wish to share with the public.
I recognize my own desire to have my stories shared, and I think by reporting on other people’s stories, I am able to share them using my voice.
With technology advancing exponentially each year, new means of storytelling are being invented and explored by journalists. As millennials, we are directly impacted by these improvements and new platforms, constantly experimenting with new ways to complete tasks. According to Rose Leadem’s article and infographic from Entrepreneur, roughly 68 million people in the world listen to podcasts. As of 2017, the number of people who listened to podcasts was 24 percent, which is double what it was in 2013.
New media is aiding the power of storytelling, and keeping it interesting. Instead of writing a 2,000-word article about someone’s life story, I can now have them tell their story through first-person narration, using audio-editing applications such as Audacity or Acoustica, among others. I can use Adobe Premiere Pro or Final Cut Pro X to make a three-minute video documentary about someone’s story, adding both visual and audio effects to storytelling and further enhancing the experience for listeners.
Although listening to or telling someone’s story might not have the same benefits as being their doctor or professor, it provides emotional support and a space for people to share their thoughts and personal experiences freely and openly.
Storytelling is a gateway to feeling more comfortable with yourself and with others. I love telling any stories I can because each one appeals to a different audience, and each one has far-reaching impacts, whether I see them or not. Stories last longer than any lifetime.
So go tell a story to anyone who will listen, and make sure to ask for one in return.