It’s more than just a conversation when you tell a story
Have you ever noticed when you have those very casual conversations that sometimes there is a shift in the way things are mentioned. Instead of it just being a back and forth exchange of thoughts and experiences someone will capture the conversation with a story, there has been a shift in the dynamics. The gathering has moved from a conversation into telling a story but what is going on?
In recording a Life Story, we are not chasing the art of Storytelling but embracing the emotions of Telling Your Story. There are components of storytelling we can utilise and if you have those skills all the better but this is more about remembering, then telling the stories, in your voice, as you know them. Even if you have no storytelling skills the people who want to hear these stories are those who know you and accept that your style is as it is, with or without storytelling skills.
Storytelling ads to a life story
Recording a Life Story is often a conversation with someone involving back and forth comments but from time to time a subject is broached that emotes a response that creates a story. These stories are the gems in a Life Story and any storytelling skill will enrich the experience.
If a question is asked say… “What did you get up to with your friends at school when you were very young?” In a casual conversation this could be dismissed or answered in a very indifferent way but to engage for a Life Story it’s important to go through a quick process to harness the power of the story behind the opportunity of the question.
- Remember an event that represents the point to be made
- Feel all the emotions of this event
- What is the point that sums up this event
- Where does the story start
Often we go though all these points in an instant. Remembering the event that is prompted by the question, which is the point that answers the question and it’s obvious as to where to start the story. We’re almost jumping out of our skin to tell the story. But once we start the story it’s time to follow the rules of storytelling.
What, Where, When, Why and How.
The easiest place to start is by looking at the points of the story you’re considering telling and asking, What, Where, When, Why and How.
- What is the point you want to make? What was going on around you? What were you and others doing?
- Where were you? Where were you going?
- When did this happen, life, times, culture?
- Why were you there? Why was did this happen? Why is it relevant?
- How did you get there? How did this event happen? How did it evolve?
In the previous Episode Nine on Storytelling Skills and Techniques we talked about the structure of telling a story. These are the skills that all great storytellers follow and it’s worth recapping in brief.
- Stay on subject
- Leave the punchline/resolution to be discovered after you have drawn the listener deep into the story
- Use all the emotive tools of description to build the environment and experience.
- Be yourself and natural
We all love listening to stories. Books, radio, television and movies are all storytelling mediums and the original of all of these is personal storytelling as we are doing here. To help you get into the head space of telling the stories of your life, take the time to listen to some others tell of their live stories. Choose topics that you have an interest in then sit back and enjoy. Just by listening you will start to understand some of these points but if from time to time you reflect on the intricies and technique that they have used to weave the stories you will increase your personal storytelling skills.
Listen to some others telling stories from their lives at…
- Your Story my other podcast available on iTunes
- The Moth stand up storytelling available on iTunes
- Spoken Word a range of 100′s of shows and podcasts
- This American Life available on iTunes
- A Prairie Home Companion available on iTunes
- Stories of Our City personal stories from around the world available on iTunes
- Teller2Teller personal stories available on iTunes
Use every opportunity in your daily life to practice this skill by taking the time to tell engaging stories about your life during normal conversation. To modify your storytelling skills to suit different situations not only will they improve but you will become a better conversationalist also.
Within a normal conversation there is some engaging tension between the participants as the points go back and forth. In telling a story this tension disappears and it’s the stories that are the focus. There is an emotional shift in the listener, to just listen intently to the story and in the speaker to know they have the space and time to evolve the story in the way they want to express it. This is a profoundly different way of engaging in a conversation and is the difference that we hope to achieve.
It’s time for you to hold centre stage and share your stories, to allow them to develop and engage with the listener, to take them to places they have never been to and show them a different way of living. This is the way to show them, that this is your life.
- Listen to other people tell their stories
- Grab every opportunity to practice
- Review Storytelling Skills and Techniques
How have you found telling stories using storytelling techniques. Let us know in the comments, we would love to know your thoughts.
An overview of the whole process of recording a life story is available for free now by download in the e-Book Recording Life Stories . Just sign up for it in the side bar form.
To automatically receive this free podcast, click on the iPhone image to the right or search in iTunes for “Create Your Life Story” or Subscribe in iTunes by Clicking here. If you use another Podcast software Get the feed here.
Music is from
“Rose Room” (mp3)
from “Jeremy Cohen: Violin Jazz”
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from “Happy Talk”
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