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?
Let’s start our new year with gratitude for storytelling. After all, storytelling makes so much of human life possible that it’s tempting to take storytelling for granted.
In this second half of “30 Reasons to Thank a Storyteller,” I’ll look at the big picture, from how storytelling helps our species survive to how it helps us live in communities and even whole societies. (Read Part I at http://www.storydynamics.com/thank1 )
A brief story about keeping hope alive, and a winter blessing for storytellers.
We are moving day by day toward the longest night of the year (in the Northern hemisphere.)
I wonder: Are different kinds of stories required for this phase of our yearly cycle? As you approach the longest night of the year, what stories are you hungry for? And where can we find such stories?
Storytelling touches, shapes and enriches our lives at every level, from the individual to the community, the society, and even the survival of our species.
In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday (in the U.S.), let’s count some of the blessings that come to us from storytelling. In this first installment, I list fifteen of the benefits of storytelling that relate, first, to our individual development (as children and as adults) and, second, to that precious human endeavor, communication.
When we are “present,” we engage with our listeners and with our story. But how do we do that? How do we connect immediately – rather than half-way through a story or not at all?
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.
Too many storytellers adopt an artificial way of speaking that has nothing to do with communication or the peculiar qualities of the tale being told. This practice holds back the teller, the listeners, and the growth of storytelling as a whole.
Coaching a teller to drop this kind of “misdirected effort” is tricky, but possible. The coach must lead the teller through four important steps. Above all, we must treat tellers afflicted with this “performance virus” with patience, respectfulness, and genuine affection, for they, too, have great potential and are therefore precious to our movement.