by Helen McKay and Berice Dudley

Anyone with a message to convey can do so more memorably and effectively with an appropriate story.

A really good spinner of yarns, especially one who `doesn’t let the truth get in the way of a good story’, adds spice to any barbecue, pub-drinking school, or family get-together. They use storytellers’ licence (a variation of poetic licence) to rearrange a story and improve it.

Storytellers connect with, or engage their audiences in order to entertain, educate, heal and communicate. The stories, they tell have a common thread; they contain universal truths, aspects of life with which we can identify. This, most of all, has meaning audiences of all ages. Everyone’s experience is different, so each member of the audience, hearing a teller perform, will leave with a different perception of the performance and with their special individual memories of other times rekindled.

Our uniquely human gift of language is the basic tool or medium used, although, there is some evidence of another unspoken connection – the psychic connection – between audience and teller, as yet incompletely researched. Storytelling is a living and flexible, or responsive, art. Tthe story can be altered by the teller to suit the audience at each telling. The words of stories on paper are incomplete until storytellers speak them.Weaving their magic, the storyteller brings them to life.

The storytelling presentation is the tale brought to life by a combination of the teller’s personality, emotions, insights, and ability; plus special unspoken feedback, which comes from the audience and helps the teller to create magic with stories. It is essentially a sharing experience.

Professional speaking groups, such as the National Speakers Association of Australia and the Toastmasters Organisation, recognising the power of story, now include sessions on the art of storytelling, for their corporate members and trainers.

`Once upon a time…’ is one of the most guaranteed attention-getting phrases of the English language.

Everyone loves a story!

From About Storytelling Published by Hale and Iremonger, Sydney, Australia — ISBN 0 86806 593 5 – by Helen McKay and Berice Dudley © 1996


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