By Kevin Cordi
Ten Ways Storytellers Can Help Each Other
Create a legacy for tomorrow.
How Do Storytellers Help Novice Storytellers Learn the Craft?
1. Robin Moore in his book said, “Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.” However, unless we truly listen to the stories, regardless of how they are told, we will never hear that hidden storyteller. We need to first listen to whatever story is being told and appreciate the value that it is told and only when the storyteller says they are ready, offer what we more to the story.
2. Storytelling and listening to stories has to be part of your schedule. Arrange a time and listen to stories on a consistent basis. Arrange quality time, a time when listening and telling can be given priority. Stick to the schedule. People need to depend on a frequent time to tell and listen to stories. It must be a part of your living. It can not be ignored, everyone has stories that are waiting to be told.
3. After you establish a place for story, make sure it is a comfortable place. Listen to stories and after you listen for awhile the teller will share when he or she wants ideas to help them with their stories. At all times the teller should be in charge of how a story is developed. Your job is to listen and offer to share ideas, but if a teller does not feel they are ready to hear these ideas, respect that the story is told. In a community of storytelling, where a place is provided on a consistent basis, improvement will show.
4. Few, if any at all, tellers mind enjoy hearing praise for their work, direct praise. Don’t be bashful about saying something you specifically liked or enjoyed in a story. If someone can see that you honor the story by your words of praise, the teller is more part to listen to your students
5. Once you are comfortable being in an environment of praise and acceptable for suggestions, experiment with stories. Have workshops on voice; arrange separate meetings to discuss topics like tandem telling, personal tales, fractured fairy tales, and folk tale recovery. Listen to the needs of the group of tellers. They will tell you the areas they care to grow, provide a place for that growth.
6. Experienced tellers need to help novice tellers. The learning rewards will come for both the teller and the novice teller. Take a personal interest in building a legacy by helping one teller shares his or her stories. This is a commitment to help others. I would encourage you to not view this as a “for profit” time. If you can afford to provide the time, please do. If you need to charge, make it small, put the reward in the work. Instead, work out a suitable arrangement that serves to help the teller and the listener. It is an investment where you both learn, but it is giving back to the community of storytelling. It is worth the investment.
7. Too many storytellers have been telling and learning about the process by themselves. Storytelling is meant to be a communal art. As much as the storytelling meetings are at a consistent time, arrange a time, whether it is in person or over the phone, to coach each other. True coaching is simply listening to each other and responding to what is shared. Listen to the needs of the teller and develop your praise and suggestions from there. You will find the more you coach and are coached, your practice and craft of telling stories will improve.
8. The way you process time, the mindset you have for the time you spend in telling stories can help or hinder your work in storytelling. Arrive fifteen minutes early and leave fifteen minutes late. Follow the philosophy of “no time for a hurry.” Sift your ideas, process your praise, listen to suggestions, and make time for sharing stories and not just telling them. Sharing stories is a time when stories are felt as well as heard. It can only be achieved if you allow the time that is required to look at times before the story, during the story, and after the story. This is those magic pauses, the wonderful silence, the talk of your story after and more. It does not happen all the time, but it happens often if you provide the time.
9. Tell stories even when you are not ready. Working with others is a time to play with stories. Tell stories to see what magic happens when you don’t think you are prepared. Tell stories that have unique advantages. Work the process of story. Examine like a new diamond. Inspect, watch it shine, watch glow, watch it cut glass, but most important, let it shine. Even if the story is not as polished, your supportive group will help you see it glow.
10. Ask for help on the journey. Storytelling is not meant to be a solo experience.
Kevin Cordi is an international award winning educator, author, storyteller, story teacher, coach and consultant.He’s told stories for over twenty-five years on a national and international level. He strives to help others learn, engage, and refine their storytelling skills.
Telephone: (559) 213-0161
Contact the National Storytelling Network
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8900 N.E. Flintlock Road
Kansas City, MO 64157
Telephone: (800) 525-4514
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