Use the present tense. The best raconteurs refer to events as if they were taking place right at that moment. It gives an anecdote a “sense of immediacy” and engages the crowd.
Play with the sequence. When sharing experiences with others, it’s not always necessary to “go from beginning to middle to end.” Far from causing confusion, starting in the middle and doubling back can keep an audience in suspense.
Get into character. Don’t be afraid to become “both narrator and performer” of your story. If it involves a conversation, act it out. Besides being “so much more entertaining,” this lets listeners know a little more about the characters involved.
Know when to close. Gauge your audience’s reaction. If you sense that the story’s not playing well, wrap it up quickly. “Get to the punch line,” and move on. There will always be other audiences.