Mark Twain once said, “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.”

Bring her on and let her scream.

Wow.

That’s great advice. Advice, by the way, all great entrepreneurs, leaders, personal brands, and storytellers use.

One of your primary goals as a communicator is to make a connection with your words. If you don’t make a connection, you won’t win investments, inspire employees, land keynote addresses, or move customers. You have to make the connection first.

Great storytellers know this fact. That’s why they always bring the lady on and let her scream. In other words, they don’t tell stories, they relive them.

Did you get that?

Again, great storytellers don’t tell a story, they relive it. They allow the subject of the story, be it themselves, another person or character, to tell the story.

When sharing a story, you can either narrate it or relay it as if the subject of the story is telling the story. The goal, if you want to make a real connection, is the latter.

Here’s an example of a personal brand narrating a story about a friend:

“You know, when my friend was in an accident, it took first responders nearly forty-five minutes to free him from a mangled car. After seeing the wreckage and him in the hospital, I was afraid that it would leave him confined to a wheelchair.”

That’s okay. But reliving the story is much better. Here’s how it might go:

My friend slowly opened his eyes as a cadre of medical devices chirped in unison. Recognizing my face, he smiled and said, “I know that you’re worried about me. Yeah, when I first woke up, I knew that my life had changed. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew that I couldn’t feel the covers with my toes. At home, I could always feel the cover with my toes. I was so scared. No, petrified. But that was last week. I’m beginning to feel my toes again. See, I’m going to be fine.”

See the difference when you let the subject, the injured friend, tell the story?

Sure, I can tell you about a friend’s adventure run. But, it’s so much more believable when I relive his story.

Remember, don’t tell stories, relive them.

Now, go fill your second cup.