Pro Tips: How to tell a good Peace Corps story

May 14, 2018 / Comments (1)


We are taking a cue from our friends at The Moth this year and hosting our first open-mic storytelling show! Think you have a GREAT story to tell? Well, let’s hear it! Come prepared with a 5 minute story (you know, one of those things with a beginning, middle and end) and throw your name in the hat (or shower bucket) and you might get lucky enough to end up on stage, telling your tale in front of a live, enraptured audience. Participation is encouraged, not mandatory. To help prepare, we’ve put together (with some help from our friends at the Peace Corps) some pro tips for storytelling that will keep the audience on the edge of their seats!

Register for the event on our Facebook page or learn more here.

Storytelling 101

Find your story

Deeper meaning vs. entertainment value / Action: who, what, when, where, and why

Exercise: Take 2 minutes to free-write and list all the people you met in PC and places you went. Circle the people and places that could be good elements of a good story. Did anyone or any place surprise you?


Craft your story

Context (30-60 sec): When and where is this story taking place? Characters (compelling and few). What should the audience sense?

Action (1-2 min): What happens in the story? Give us tension! Raise the stakes!

Climax (1 min): It’s not really a story unless something fundamentally changes.

Closure (1 min): Do you deliver on your promise after setting up a central question? What is meaning of this story? Any key audience insights?


Exercise: Take 10 minutes to fill out this “Story Spine”:

Once Upon a Time _____________________

And every day, ________________________

Until one day, _________________________

Because of that ________________________

And then _____________________________

And then _____________________________

Until finally/then suddenly _______________

And the funny thing was _______________

Ever since then _____________________


Share your story

Use your authentic voice / Ground yourself and your body / Pace your delivery



  • Allow yourself to be vulnerable – Be humble, personable, and intimate
  • Use dialogue – Dialogue helps develop characters and makes it more fun!
  • Find a way to frame your story – WHY are you telling the story. Use your first and last line as bookends to satisfy the audience
  • Use the rule of threes – Things that come in threes are inherently funnier and more satisfying
  • Get the audience on your side – If they like you, they will be more attentive. Feel free to throw in some translated local language!

Exercise: Practice with a friend and get feedback. Then practice again.

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Pro Tips: How to tell a good Peace Corps story

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