Reply To: Now… how to improve performance…

Welcome Forums NSN Forum The Business of Storytelling Now… how to improve performance… Reply To: Now… how to improve performance…


From: Tim Sheppard
Date: Sat, 25 Feb 2017 20:20:31 +0000

Hi Maria,

Congratulations for getting a quality video done!

I think you have two issues mixed together here:
You don’t like seeing yourself on video – that’s really common, and it means you can’t tell whether you come across well to viewers of your video. The video may or may not show you at your best, even if it’s been shot professionally, especially if you felt self-conscious about being filmed. The question is – how well do you really come across on the video? You’ll need to ask a few people, or all of us on the list, to watch it and give you feedback. I suggest you be specific in your questions for those viewers – what exactly do you want to know? What are your fears? Does anyone else even notice the things that make you cringe (don’t tell anyone what they are, just ask open questions about that topic).

The second factor is improving your live storytelling performance. You simply don’t know at the moment whether that’s even necessary. Okay everyone could and should improve, but if your audiences are enjoying your performance there’s no need to feel embarrassed at it. Here’s a simple fact from psychology: other people only notice our faults and characteristics 50% as much as we ourselves do. So you are doubling the importance of faults you notice about yourself. But there are two things you can do to improve, depending on which of the above seems to be the issue.

First, if you aren’t coming across well in some way on the video itself, then you could use a director as an outside eye to help improve your stage presence, your use of gesture, the visual experience for the viewer, etc. Videographers often are no good at this, and just film what you do – and not always well. It takes someone with a sense of theatre and some visual creativity, even if your storytelling style is non-theatrical. I used to do this with my storytelling company, giving the storytellers an outside eye so that they could come across in the best way in performance.

Secondly, if your storytelling skills and expression do need improving, you can use a storytelling coach to work on those aspects. That takes some inner work and outer work – how you relate to your stories, how you pace and express them; and how you relate to your audience, how you create the magic of storytelling with them. There are a few such coaches around, and I’m one of them – I love to help people BE a storyteller rather than just DOING storytelling. It’s a psychological journey, with a lot of subtlety, but again an outside eye can spot what really matters better than you can yourself.

So – take a next step and get some new eyes on what you have so far. You’ll probably be very pleasantly surprised!


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