Storytelling: Making Your Story Come Alive!

2012-01-28 11.05.33-org - Copy (2) 2012-01-28 10.08.242012-01-28 10.08.422012-01-28 10.58.34

Wish you could dazzle your colleagues at meetings, wow your friends when telling them about a recent event or captivate a group of energetic children? Storytelling maybe the answer! Learning to be a good storyteller will equip you with the knowledge, skills and ability to bring a bland chart to life, help your friends feel what you felt during an ordeal, engage children and more.

Fortunately, I had the opportunity to sit through a fabulous workshop on storytelling facilitated by Debra Harris-Branham and Zelda Foxall at the 2012 iYouth Conference. It was a terrific interactive session on how to be an effective teller of stories.

Below are insights extracted from the energetic speakers and a handout they distributed.

  1. Find a story that you love to tell
    Although you may have a story in mind, finding one is harder than it sounds. If you don’t know where to begin, visit your local library and head to the 398 section. There, you will find a wide variety of folktales, fairy tales and fables. Can’t get to a library? Not a problem.
    Check out the sites listed below to help you find, learn and tell stories:

  2. Learn it
    Once you have found a story that you really like, read the story a few times. BUT, don’t try to memorize it. Instead, make yourself familiar with the sequence (beginning, middle and end) of the story. Learn it the way that makes the best sense for you. This might mean writing it out, listening to an audio recording or watching the movie version. Which ever method you choose it should be fun!
  3. What to Memorize
    As stated above, don’t worry about memorizing the whole story. Instead, learn the first and last lines of the story, as well as any repetitive phrases or chants.
  4. Practice, practice, practice
    Practice telling the story! This is a crucial step. Practicing will ensure that you do a fabulous job when you stand before an audience. If you can find an audience to practice in front of great! If you can’t no problem.  Find a wall, mirror, doll, toy, pet or any other object and tell your story! Make sure you do it with plenty of enthusiasm and energy. Embody your character(s). Make your movements big and your expressions majestic. It will be these elements that will make your story unforgettable.

Are you in Seattle and want to attend local storytelling events and/or classes? Start with  the Seattle Storyteller’s Guild.

Well, there you have it! A simple guide to becoming an amazing storyteller. Use what you learn here to positively influence all of your speaking related activities!

If you have questions you can type them in the comments section below and I will get an answer for them. Alternatively, you can contact the experts Debra Harris-Branham (debstories AT comcast DOT net) and/or Zelda Foxall (zeldasm AT q DOT com) yourself.

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