Do you have a story that's been sitting on a shelf, waiting for you to get to it?
Do you have an upcoming performance or other presentation that you could use some outside help with?
Are you interested in being coached--and watching others be coached--but not sure you are ready for a multi-day intensive workshop at this time?
"One of the most effective methods I have found to improve my storytelling! Not only can you receive help on a specific problem or story, you can also live for a few hours in a world of artistry.
"'My turn was valuable to me, but just as valuable was seeing the stunning work of others and reviewing your coaching methods. Those methods build up storytelling confidence and allow stories to flow. And the story I worked on has taken taken real shape, now that the purpose is clear to me."
A four-hour mini-workshop is the easiest, most cost-efficient way to move your storytelling forward. These mini-workshops allow you to receive coaching--and to see others being coached, without a big outlay of time and money:
You will be coached in a small group setting.
You will learn from your own session and also from observing the coaching of others.
But you only invest an afternoon or an evening of your time.
"I feel important, and heard and valued. I gained confidence to keep telling, to continue along my own quirky path." - Catherine Myers, Homewood, IL
"You laid the ground rules and set the timer and the schedule was followed. That made the workshop go smoothly. The relaxed setting at someone's home without interruptions gives the message that the time from 1 to 5 is workshop time and nothing will interfere. We were on a journey together, with a tour guide who made it a safe place for us, and at the end of the journey everyone took something away that was of help." - Rabbi Fred Davidow, Atlanta, GA
The workshop will consist mostly of coaching. I'll begin with a brief reminder of coaching guidelines, then give each person about 40 minutes to tell a story, get help with a storytelling project, or deal with an issue in your storytelling.
"I liked hearing about and seeing the structure right up front...and seeing how you involve others and get at the nugget of meaning and development for each person." - Chris Unger, Portland, OR
My coaching is supportive, aimed at helping free your creative intelligence. I will give you information, help you explore your story or deal with obstacles - but always in accordance with YOUR goals for the story. For more about my approach to coaching, see Doug's coaching services.
"It was good to tell a story in such a supportive environment. It was also helpful to hear other people tell, and hear the appreciations of their stories. It was helpful to view the storytelling process. The confidence I gained will help in both my personal and business lives."
Wherever you are in your work, I will help you. If you are telling your first "story," I'll help bring out what you have to offer and help you achieve your goals in telling it. But keep in mind that you have told stories all your life, if not in a "performance" setting.
"The workshop has had a far greater impact on me, in having first of all given me an opportunity to begin telling my story and recovering a life
which has been silenced in many ways. It gave me a great to desire to learn more, and to listen more, and to reclaim my spirit through telling." - Robin Pringle, Portland, OR
Also, you don't have to work on an oral story. If you want help on a project, written story, marketing plan, or any other form of communication, I'll help you notice what's already working, what could make it better, and what next steps make sense for you.
"Since the mini-workshop, storytelling seems more attainable. More of a skill one can learn that an art that you have to be born with talent for."
Yes. I've coached many professional storytellers over the years, as well as executives, lawyers, teachers, therapists, clergy, salespeople and others who use story as part of their work.
"I will use the technique of "safe place" for the teller in my work
with elementary school children and a teacher workshop I will be doing next
spring. In fact, I used it immediately the next day with a group of 5th graders. It helped me work with them."
You may want to think about telling one of your best stories, to get help with any performance habits or unintended "shortcuts" you take that keep your story from having its maximum potential impact.
"I feel I picked up confidence as well as additional approaches to
certain parts of my stories. The workshop definitely had an impact and I really appreciate the individual attention in reshaping my gestures. They do make a difference. My opinion of the workshop? It makes me want to do another one."
Or, you may use the time to get help with a new or problematic story. One of my strengths is to "see the tree in the seed" - to imagine the story you are trying to tell or create, even if it's still undeveloped.
Another choice would be to get help with your professional life: marketing, recording, finding new audiences, etc.
"Since the workshop, I am more keenly focused on my strengths as a performer and as a trainer. I will use the feedback and help I received on my story to create my first CD."
Approximately 40 minutes. You will learn from being coached. Often, participants say they learn even more from watching the others' sessions.
"I came to the workshop with a very self-centered view: I was looking forward to my 40 minutes in the spotlight, and figured I'd be bored with the rest. Instead, I was fascinated! Through the appreciations and suggestions of the group -- and particularly the leader -- I was able to extract helpful insights that I could use in my own creative process. I felt energized, even at times, exhilarated."
How many people will there be? How long will it last?
Each workshop will last four hours and be limited to 4 people. Note: If the timing works out we may add one more person and extend the workshop to 5 hours -- for the same rate.
"Very effective! I really liked the small group. I came away determined to start composing/telling some family stories. Now I know that stories and I grow, get better with affirmative coaching and attention to detail!"
You needn't do anything to prepare. This is a "be-coached-as-you-are party." Remember, you can use your coaching time for help with a story in any stage of its development, for help with an issue in your storytelling, for help with a project - such as a tape or curricular unit - or for anything else that would move your storytelling forward!
The most important thing you can do is let your mind work on the story you want help with or the idea or problem you want to discuss. If you can, review what you're bringing a few days before the mini-workshop.
But remember: you don't have to be further along than you are to be helped! If you've had trouble moving your story or idea along, you probably need help with it. Bring the exact problem you have, not the one you wish you had!
"It reaffirmed my love of storytelling and recognizing that there is enough room for each unique gift. I think the workshop helped me to focus - and it was freeing to be able to speak in a supportive atmosphere. The workshop was clearly defined and did what you said it would do. At my next performance, I felt a deeper, yet more relaxed connection than usual. "
You might want to bring a tape recorder and some blank tape to record your session, if you wish. You might also want writing materials for taking notes during your session.
"After the mini-workshop, I presented my story @ Debra Lanes' workshop in Addison. Apparently all of what you taught made an overwhelming difference. I am told that one of the other storytellers wondered 'what happened to her since last time?' (not in an unappreciated manner toward my former presentations :) ) And there were other equally strong positive comments. For myself - I felt not only terrific, but somehow incredibly pleased with the person that told the story. I was 'charged.' Thank you is not enough!" - Irmy Mende, Winfield, IL
For a schedule of upcoming mini-workshops, please email Doug at
For more information or questions of any kind, please email me at
. Or use the on-line form on the feedback page.
You can register now for any upcoming mini-workshop via email, mail, phone, fax, or my secure registration form. I accept Visa, Mastercard, and American Express.
"Once again, I watched you work your magic on participants. There is no doubt in my mind that you coaxed the very best out of four very different
kinds of people and storytellers. And through watching you, we learn how to really listen... and respond... and guide others."
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