Reel In Those Tall Tale Awards!
Simple ways to catch 'em by the tale.
Have you ever told a tall tale to an audience who looked back at you with the glassy-eyed stare associated with a school of dead fish? Well, try these tips for making your tall tales become so alive, your listeners will swallow them whole - hook, line and sinker.
1. THE LURE: A Colorful, Catchy Title. Tickle the audience's fancy by using titles that lend themselves to a good story. You can do this by using words like "How" or "Why" in your title. How it was invented, how it got its name, why something happens, why something is true - these are all good story starters.
Lure the audience from the beginning, when you are introduced, so they want to hear more. Here are some examples:
A catchy title captures the audience's curiosity. By assuming that they, like you, are curious to learn "the truth" behind your speech topic, all you have to do is answer the "how" or "why" to pull them into the story.
2. THE BAIT: Tasty Exaggeration. To make the audience bite, you must think bigger than life. Figure out what is reasonable, then go beyond that to stretch your small tale into a tall one. Here are some examples:
3. THE HOOK: A Plot That's Easy to Swallow. Catch them by surprise. Reword the well-known moral of a story (Aesop's Fables) or famous quotation (Poor Richard's Almanac by Benjamin Franklin) until it resembles the original, but means something entirely different. One way is to change or transpose the first letters. For example:
Another way is to just make the quote sound similar. For example:
Once you have the new, distorted moral or quotation, go back and write a new story that fits it. This will become your plot.
4. THE NET: Scoop Them With a Memorable Last Line. You can do this two ways:
So if you are fishing for compliments, remember to use your lure, bait, hook and net properly. And that's how to reel in those tall tale awards - hook, line and sinker.
Jorya Kelly is a Toastmaster in southern California.