A tornado of technology has turned storytelling, for business and pleasure, towards webinars, seminars, and Skype. Whether you’re training sales people in Pennsylvania or sharing a bedtime story with kids in California, you need to know how to best communicate and engage your audience across a computer or tablet screen.
My wife’s cousin Matthew, for example, emailed us a picture of his two boys, Cory and Derek, completely captivated by his laptop, which displayed their grandmother 700 miles away reading to them from her vast collection of children’s books.
Below are three tips on how you, too, can earn an audience’s rapt attention while broadcasting on the internet.
Act it Out
When you tell a story in person you’re animated and your expressions are full of emotion. Do the same thing during your face-to-face video call.
You may miss a smile or a laugh on the receiving end due to camera, microphone, or speaker positions, but rest assured those normal visual and audio cues are still there. Continue on as if your audience was in the same room and you will come across professional and confident.
Show an image to illustrate your point or play music in the background to add more atmosphere. If you’re telling a ghost story you can dim the lights, wear a cape with a hood, or even play spooky soundtracks while you talk.
Try speaking in character voices, or use a cowboy hat and a Southern drawl to bring the Wild West to life. Subtle cues like these enhance the listening and viewing experience of a bedtime or adventure story.
Ask for Help
Skype is essentially interactive TV so get your audience involved. Show the book and ask open-ended questions about the pictures on the page, take turns reading sentences or discuss the moral of the story.
A key question to ask is, “What did you like most about today’s story?” and you’ll have immediate intel on what worked well. In a short order you’ll master the art of portable vid screen storytelling.
There are many benefits beyond family bonding time and beams of enthusiasm from your children when you call out, “It’s Skypetime!”
- Create positive memories for grandparents, parents, and children.
- Entertain children while parents do exciting things like washing the dishes.
- Encourages early bedtime allowing guilt free adult conversations with parents.
Cousin Matthew sums it up nicely: “Just try and name an app that will answer your questions, move the picture in closer on demand, does characters voices, and will get a second book all upon request?! Skypetime gives our kids interaction on their terms in their way with a nice visual element and our grandparents give a gift that will last longer than any care package.”
Bonus Recommendation: Record Your Calls*
Imagine having bedtime stories being read to your kids by your parents, grandparents, or even great grandparents. You can create future family comfort and blessed keepsakes.
*Legally you’ll need to inform participants the call is being recorded.
What Skypetime storytelling tips can you share?