Storytelling Tips


stories have beginnings, middles, and ends

Make sure your story is more than just a circumstance. Where were you in life when the story happened? Why do you think the story happened to you at that moment in life? What does the story say about you? What did you learn? These are important points to explore that give depth to your story.


show, don't tell

Amazing storyteller, comedian, and host of RISK!, Kevin Allison, does an incredible job at explaining the difference between showing a story versus simply telling a story. We highly recommend listening to his tutorial: WATCH VIDEO.


Speak from memory, but don't over practice

Reading your story or bringing story notes on stage is not allowed. Be prepared to recount your story from memory. We don't recommend trying to memorize your story. Share it as if you're talking to a good friend. After all, true storytelling is about sharing a story as you remember it. Trust your memory as that always makes for more interesting stories than perfectly written ones.

talk in present tense and use proper names

When you share a story, share it as if you're reliving it - not as if you're floating above watching it happen. Use present tense verbs and avoid "he," "she," and "they." By naming the people in your story, you bring us in on the journey. "Mom" is so much stronger than "my mom."


be vulnerable

All stories that are important to you should make you feel a little exposed. Dare to be vulnerable. Ask yourself, "how did this story change me?" If you can't answer this question, dig deeper or perhaps it isn't the right story to share.


What's not allowed at RAW

In addition to not reading [as opposed to speaking] your story on stage, we do not allow: standup routines, lectures, sales pitches, rants, fictional stories or a recounting of somebody else's story.  We also do not allow stories that include: racism, homophobia, misogyny, imitating accents from a culture that is not yours or any form of hate speech. Cursing and explicit stories are allowed!