Story Dynamics – Stories » Listeners’ Needs

Do You Show Yourself While You Tell?

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.

Relating to Your Listeners

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!

What is Excellence in Storytelling?

Should we have standards for excellent storytelling? If so, does one size fit all? Or does each situation require different storytelling “behaviors” to enable us to succeed?

There are six “bosses” – six sets of expectations and needs – that we must respond to in any storytelling situation. Let’s begin our search for excellence by understanding who these demanding and sometimes capricious bosses are.

Three Paradoxes of Story Meaning

In storytelling, paradoxes abound.

In every case of paradox, we need to notice not just the effect we intend to create, but also the potentially opposite effect.

Continuously noticing the effects of our storytelling like this is demanding and sometimes unsettling. But it can also help our telling.

This article looks at three paradoxes that concern meaning – and how they might affect our storytelling.

Can Storytelling Customers Find Your Doorway?

“Most storytellers run their businesses like the impractical man who built a lovely house on a busy street, then waited in vain for visitors to come in – because he forgot to build a front door!”

What are the “doorways” for your customers to enter into your storytelling life? Is it possible to create new ones that suit you – and your ideal customers – perfectly?

A Storyteller’s Farewell to Oklahoma

As I move back to Boston after 5 years, I think over the 7 things Oklahoma has taught me about storytelling. This is part one; part two is at http://www.storydynamics.com/ok2

What Can Storytellers Learn from Tulsa?

Compared to Bostonians, Tulsans have a different style of waiting. This has big implications for telling stories effectively, as this article describes. There is also an exercise you can do to determine if your storytelling stance is more Tulsa or more Boston.

How Does a Story Mean?

We tend to assume that a story has a single meaning. “I need a story about cooperation,” you might say to a group of storytellers, as though the meaning about cooperation is fully embedded in the story itself.

But is this an accurate assumption? What is the exact relationship between a story and the meaning or meanings that a listener experiences?

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