Storytelling: Tips to let us in your
- Guidelines Abstracts by Cecilia Ruberto
Credentials and bibliography references slide n. 12
The Muscles of imagination: how a story works
You can tell a story!
And the more you do, the better you’ll be.
So don’t be shy, take a chance, make the
plunge, show your stuff, shift your gears, set the
stage, brave the storm, lift your sights—
but, whatever you do,
TELL A STORY!
• We all tell stories all the time. When someone asks you how your
day went, that’s an invitation for a story. We allow the listener to
participate in our lives by sharing interesting highlights of events we
• The first is the worst. Storytelling is a skill that improves with
practice. The scariest part is starting. How did you learn to swim?
By drowning for a while. How did you learn to ride a bike? By falling
many times. To tell a story well, you need to practice. The more you
practice the better you get.
• The audience looking at you wants one thing: Take us away! The
members of the audience are there to go on a story journey, and
the storyteller is there to lead them. Don’t be afraid, the audience
wants to get lost in the tale!
Why we want stories…
• One of the greatest human universals is
storytelling. Stories create a common bond
linking past to present, present to future, and
person to person, regardless of ethnic origin.
• Anthropological significance aside, storytelling is
a compelling method of sharing experiences in
order to make sense of our world right here and
• Stories build kinship, allow a glimpse into other
people’s lives – and perhaps let us see ourselves
in the story.
Transforming Capabilities: Using Story for Knowledge Discovery & Community Development By Elizabeth A. Doty
So, What’s a Story?
• Good question.
When asked, most people will tell you a story is
something they have read or a fable or fairy tale they’ve
been told. They may tell you the plot to a movie they’ve
seen. Chances are they won’t tell you a story from their
own lives, simply because they don’t know that these
qualify. Nor are they likely to sing you a song or show you
a journal, a dance, a painting, or a cartoon, but they need
to know all these too can be stories.
• For the purpose of this workshop, storytelling will
focus on real life stories and personal histories.
By Word of Mouth: A Storytelling Guide for the Classroom, http://www.prel.org/products/pr_/storytelling.htm
How Do You Start?
• Brainstorm. First write down some story ideas. Don’t
get hung up on how good they are. Just brainstorm.
Now put one idea or memory into a sentence. Decide if
you want to tell a story in the first or third person and
what impact that will have on the story.
• Facts, Feelings, and Faces. Next, write or draw down
the sequence of facts. From there, add the
details, descriptions, details, situations, time
reference, colours. Finally, layer the feelings and
• Timing. Think about the timing of the story. Don’t be
afraid to cut it up and rearrange it out of real time or
chronological sequence if it sounds better that way.
Above all, trust yourself, your audience, and your story. Remember,
anyone who comes to hear a storyteller is already on your side. Just
being a storyteller is magic—even before you say a word.
Don’t think you have to be perfect the first time you tell your story. It’s not likely!
But, if you love your story and have prepared it reasonably well, you will surely
give pleasure to your listeners and yourself. And, each time you tell the story, you
and your story will improve.
Storytelling is magic in part because it’s personal—so make a personal contact
with your listeners. Talk to them—not at them—and don’t be afraid to talk with
Look them in the eyes. If there are too many of them, or you can’t see them all,
look mostly at the ones in front. If some aren’t paying attention, focus on those
As you tell your story, take your time, and give time to your listeners—time to
“see” the story, time to laugh, time to feel, time to reflect, time to hang on the
edge of their seats for what comes next. It’s easy to go too fast, hard to go too
Aaron Shepard Storytelling: http://www.aaronshep.com/storytelling/Tips3.html
Different way to tell and visualise a story
You can Narrate a story but you can also use others methods to tell a
story. Various tools could help you in creating the context, the
meaning, the understanding of your story.
For example you could use:
• Drawings – preparing drawings that represent your story
• Story knifing (Yaaruiyaraq)- drawing stories with a stick on the sand
while you narrate
• Objects/things to represent your story
A story can be told, shown, represented, build.. You can use any
method to take us in your life.
Pitfalls of story-telling
• You’re Not Scared, Are You? Crafting a story from your life will not
only increase your comfort level, it will bring you higher selfesteem. And remember: just being a storyteller is magic—even
before you say a word.
• It is true that there are many places where you do not want to call it
“storytelling” if you want to be taken seriously—at least not before
you have tried it. But when you dare to invite people to relate the
experiences behind their thinking, most often they pick up the ball
and run with it.
• Temptation to give unsolicited and sometimes unwanted advices in
response to a story (it is why it is important to set ground rules each
time). A story should not be judged.
“You have to understand, my dears, that the shortest distance between truth and a human being is a
Anthony de Mello, from One Minute Wisdom
“The tale is often wiser than the teller.”
Susan Fletcher (as Marjan, in Shadow Spinner)
“That’s the trouble with you sad-city types: a place has to be miserable and dull as ditchwater before you
believe it’s real.”
Salman Rushdie (as Blabbermouth, in Haroun and the Sea of Stories)
“God made man because he loves stories.”
Rabbi Nachman of Bratzlev (as quoted by Steve Sanfield)
“Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.”
“We can never know truth, but some stories are better than others.”
This short presentation has been created adapting key messages of various documents
(shared openly in the web) with the objective of giving generic understanding on why and
how to use a life story for a presentation.
Various material plus my personal contribution have been the source of this ppt.
The main texts used have been:
By Word of Mouth: A Storytelling Guide for the Classroom by Jeff Gere, Beth-Ann
Kozlovich, Daniel A. Kelin II http://www.prel.org/products/pr_/storytelling.htm
Aaron Shepard’s Storytelling Page http://aaronshep.com/storytelling/
Transforming Capabilities: Using Story for Knowledge Discovery & Community
Development By Elizabeth A. Doty http://storytellinginorganizations.com/EDotyTransformingCapabilities.pdf
You can help in improving this presentation!
Write me at email@example.com
I hope it has been useful!!! (for me it has been, and I am looking forward to tell my story!)
Cecilia Ruberto (Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning -MEL Consultant)
Visit also http://scampisblog.blogspot.it/p/telling-story.html
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