As a coach, I sometimes hear people say, “I know what I’m doing well. Just tell me what I’m doing wrong.” They seem to take it for granted that their strengths are obvious. But my experience suggests just the opposite. Discovering your strengths turns out to be a process that can take years – and [...]
Showing yourself sounds easy, but it can be difficult, indeed. Throughout our lives, we may have learned to hide our uniqueness. Carried to extremes, this may make us inoffensive but also bland. The best storytellers can allow themselves to be tasted just as they are, to let their flavor completely emerge – and not try to disguise it with salt or MSG.
The second skill of showing yourself can seem contradictory to the first: find your purest motivation and ignore the others while you tell. But this involves shining a light on your desires for your audience and leaving your other desires in the shadows. When you succeed, you have the great opportunity to become a servant to your listeners.
Storytelling Skills, Part 4. Human experience is rich with emotions, yet our society denigrates emotion and sometimes actively denigrates it.
Storytellers, who portray the gamut of experience, need to master two key skills about emotions: 1) Letting emotions flow unimpeded as the story requires; and 2) Creating emotional safety for our listeners, so that they, too, can feel our story.
In many ways, we performing storytellers don’t live easy lives.
So, why do we do it? What’s in it for us?
Could it be something about the mysterious ways that stories pass through us, conveying meanings of which we may be unaware?
In this third installment of “12 Skills of the Storyteller,” I take up the two key skills of relating to your listeners. This is where the magic happens!
In this second installment of “12 Skills of the Storyteller,” I take up the two key skills relating to oral language.
Storytelling Skills, Part 1: The first three skills of the masterful storyteller deal with imagining, since images are the stuff of stories.
It sounds reasonable: create a list of concrete storytelling skills, then work on developing each one. But there are four big dangers. Ignore them at your peril!
As a discouraged student at a university that spoke only of weaknesses, I found one professor who taught me about noticing strengths.
As storytellers, we need to develop our “x-ray vision” for seeing the strengths in our own and others’ stories – no matter how obscured the strengths may currently be.
Only then are we prepared to help stories become stronger.
The image of “trying to influence the direction of a rubber duck by blowing on it” has stuck in my mind with regard to storytelling.
After all, stories can lead people to create meanings. Is it possible to influence them toward creating meanings similar to what you have in mind, using only “rubber duck race” techniques?