5 Common Storytelling Mistakes

Guest Blog by Tina Bakehouse

If you work for a nonprofit or have your own business, telling your story is important, and telling it well is even more important.
In my experience, I’ve found individuals making these five common storytelling mistakes:

The storyteller fails to have a clear purpose.

Prior to presenting your story ask yourself, “What do you want the story to do for you? 

  • Do you want to grow your business? 
  • Do you want to inspire others? 
  • What is it you want the audience to do with your information?

The storyteller goes on too long with their story.

It’s easier to talk on and on, adding unnecessary details.  Your audience has shortened attention-spans; therefore, it’s crucial to get to the point quickly.  
Just like the elevator pitch has decreased in length over time (from 5 minutes to now 30 seconds or less), take the time to structure your story and share what’s essential. 
Your audience will thank you.

The storyteller is unsure with how to start their story.

Have a strong beginning. Go beyond introducing your name or business. Hook your audience to choose to listen to your message. 
Put them in the story as soon as you can, so they can feel the emotions and connect with your message.

The storyteller fails to present a clear and powerful ending.

Just like you need to know how you’re going to start, clearly know how you’re going to end. Do more than discuss a tragedy or “something bad that happened.” 
Build from the conflict to end in a way that rings true to the purpose of your story.  Share your transformation to your audience.

The storyteller neglects to let go of their ego.

When you’re telling your story to an audience, it’s easy to make it all about you. 
It’s all about your audience. If the audience wasn’t there to listen, would the story ever happen?
You want them on your journey.  To feel your feelings. Experience your challenges and triumphs. 
If you’re ready to learn more about the authentic speaker that you are and craft your signature talk, schedule a 1-on-1 to discuss your speaking goals.

  • Learn more about your temperament and authentic speaker style.
  • Create content for a signature talk and receive feedback.

Want to learn more? Register for one of my transformational workshops today!


Protecting audiences from boring speeches, Tina B. provides public speaking coaching and communication consulting to help individuals and organizations like Practical Farmers of Iowa, Union Pacific, First National Bank, and Children’s Hospital communicate more effectively. With more than 20 years of teaching communication and theatre (10 years at Creighton University), a TEDx speaker and coach, Tina B. is passionate about educating others to become more self-aware and enhance their speaker style. After earning two BAs from the University of Northern Iowa, one in communication studies and psychology, and the second in theatre and English teaching, she earned a master’s degree in communication studies through the University of Nebraska-Omaha and completed certificates in Advanced Professional Writing, Keirsey’s temperament theory, and two levels of improvisation training.

Dan Ram ignites the stage as an in-person event and virtual event MC/ Moderator & Speaker at over 100 events a year.  He has shared the stage with international luminaries including President Barack Obama, Sir Richard Branson, Reid Hoffman, Nico Rosberg, and Grammy-winning artists and celebrities.  He has also been recognized as a Top 40 under 40 leader 2020 as well as a Top 100 Yale Alumni in Technology 2021.  Level up your communication skills through his course and mastermind  “Speaking Success”.  His passion is to inspire people with his motto ‘Start Now Start Simple’ in building a future we all want to live in.

1 thought on “5 Common Storytelling Mistakes”

  1. Storytelling truly is an ART form! These 5 points are a great checklist to help analyze how effective our stories actually are. Because they are OURS we can automatically assume that going on and on will keep the interest of the listener. I’ll be coming back to this blog often! 😉

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