Story Growing

Harnessing a Natural Story-Learning Process

Harnessing a Natural Story-Learning Process

Have you ever found yourself with a group of good friends, sharing informal stories over dinner? Someone begins by telling about a humorous event that happened recently. Then another shares a similar experience that happened years before.

Before you know it, you and your friends (or family) have told numerous stories, and the entire group feels united, engaged, and satisfied.

But Formal Storytelling….

On the other hand, have you had an opposite experience with “formal” storytelling—in school, in your community, or at work?

Your entire experience was shaded by your anxiety. At the end, if your listeners applaud, you can hardly notice. You can’t wait to sit down or even leave the event, already playing over in your mind the moments when you hesitated, said the wrong thing, or even left out a whole section you had meant to include.

What is the difference?…

"The Most Important Storytelling Advice NOT to Follow"

"The Most Important Storytelling Advice NOT to Follow"

What are the most common problems of beginning storytellers? Nearly every struggling beginner has urgent concerns like these:

  1. Practicing is hard. I put it off, then get more and more desperate as my performance date approaches.
  2. How do I remember the story? What if I forget in the middle? How can I memorize?
  3. What if they don’t listen to me? Aren’t there some tricks I can learn, to guarantee their attention?
  4. For me, the only word that follows “performance” is “anxiety.” My mouth is dry, my palms are sweaty, my voice is unsteady. Instead of telling this story, couldn’t I just die?

I believe that all these common storytelling preoccupations stem, at least in part, from the same causes! In fact, they can all be cured (and, even more easily, prevented) quite simply. 

The Three Key Ways to Work on a Story (or a Speech)

The Three Key Ways to Work on a Story (or a Speech)

Previously, I have focus mostly on one way to create a story or talk: talking aloud to helping listeners. Of course, I also work alone - writing an outline, telling the story to the air, or trying to remember the order of points in a speech. 

But there is a third way to work, and, though I have seldom thought to talk about it, all three ways work together like Three Musketeers.