Poetry and storytelling: part II

It has been said that next to hunger and thirst, our most basic human need is for storytelling.

               ~Khalil Gibran

In the first part of this blog post series you got a glimpse of how important storytelling is for a business, especially for entrepreneurs. Today, I will discuss in more length, about specific techniques we can use in our storytelling and what poetry can teach us about that – especially narrative poems.

Narrative poem is one of the oldest form of literature and is a traditional way of capturing and delivering knowledge and experience – in the form of epic tales with exciting rhythm, rhyme, repetition which makes them easy to remember and share. And that’s what every entrepreneur wants: his story and message to be remembered and shared.

So what important lessons narrative poems can teach us and what should every entrepreneur incorporate into his storytelling?

1.Frame your story

What is it that you want to tell? You have to be very specific and craft your story around it. It also means choosing your character that will lead the audience through story, in many compellin141888-142934g ways – dramatic, funny, full of surprises. It has to deliver vivid pictures and excitement in order to keep the audience’s attention. Once you accomplish that, it’s easier to fine tune other details.



Don’t bother with setting the scene and too much explanations. Lead the audience to immediate action; overflow them with emotions you want them to experience – people always remember how you made them feel.

3.Activate all five senses

An effective story, do take care of a “big picture”, but also pays attention to small details. Give your audience the opportunity to sweat, get freezing hands, smell the roses … All 5 senses have to be activated for your story to awaken interest, experience and to be memorable. In that way your message will be understood and worth sharing.

4.Don’t be afraid to repeat yourself

Repetition is crucial in learning. Think of your key phrases and words that you can use in smart way, so your story is easier to remember. Don’t overdo it, because otherwise you can make it boring and shallow. Martin Luther King in his famous speech used the phrase “I have a dream” eight times during that speech, which made it so powerful and energetic.

The following poem is an example of effective use of narrative to describe an ordinary job, but one that can touch our hearts in so many different ways:

Sending Flowers by Hannah Stephenson

The florist reads faces, reaches into the mouths of customers.
Turns curled tongues into rose petals,

teeth clinking against one another into baby’s breath.
She selects a cut bloom, a bit of leaf,

lays stem alongside of stem, as if building a wrist
from the inside. She binds them

when the message is right, and sighs at the pleasure
of her profession. Her trade:

to wrangle intensity, to gather blooms and say, here,
these do not grow together

but in this new arrangement is language. The florist
hands you a bouquet

yanked from your head, the things you could not say
with your ordinary voice.

So next time you want to tell your story, try to implement these tips – or even write your own narrative poem – you will certainly get the wanted attention.


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