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Storyteller and Successful Speaker

Updated on July 31, 2012

How many years does it take to become a master of one's art?

Tom joined his first Public Speaking Club in 1972. Began telling stories to audiences outside of the club environment ten years later and has been at it ever since.
Tom joined his first Public Speaking Club in 1972. Began telling stories to audiences outside of the club environment ten years later and has been at it ever since.

What is your image of a story teller?

Welcome to Storyteller and Successful Speaker

In the minds of many people the word Storyteller conjures up the image of a school marm sitting on a chair in front of a class of pre-school children relating the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears. To others, the vision of an old cattle man with a group of younger cowboys sitting around a camp fire out on the prairie, comes to mind. A third scenario might be a clown in a bright and funny –looking top hat and a waistcoat addressing a group outside a carnival big-top tent. This could be the way they’d see a Story teller in their mind’s eye. Few would envisage – unless they had experienced it – a man, formally dressed in a business suit, microphone in hand, standing in front of an audience of perhaps hundreds, seated theatre style before him.

The accomplished, sought after storyteller is more likely to see this type of audience,

People want their after dinner speaker to entertain them, not lecture them.
People want their after dinner speaker to entertain them, not lecture them.

More entertaining than the average speaker.

The term: Story teller, over the years, has gradually developed into this pre-school teacher or comical figure image and it isn’t easy to get away from that. Tell people you’re a Story teller and these are the sorts of pictures that spring to their minds. Consequently, the Storyteller is generally considered as ‘second rate’ as a creditable performer compared to the person who calls himself a Speaker. This is a shame, because often the teller of tales is able to not only hold and entertain an audience better than the straight Speaker, and have his message become more meaningful and more memorable, he is often downright more entertaining.

Or this,

And nothing entertains like a story.
And nothing entertains like a story.

Often it is the Guilds themselves that create this image of non-professionalism.

It is quite easy to understand why this misconception has come about. Go along to most organized Storytelling events set up by a Storytellers Guild or Association and what will you find? Lots of colorful figures wearing pseudo medieval costumes, or people looking like fortune tellers, or characters from a Tokien novel. There could even be a Clydesdale Horse pulling a gypsy caravan. In other words, the whole gathering looks a bit like a circus. How then, can the Storyteller in the Public Speaking Arena, the ‘Speakers’ Circuit,’ possibly be taken seriously?

Or perhaps, this.

So tell them stories and they'll love you for it.
So tell them stories and they'll love you for it.

Like the successful speaker, the story teller earns his reputation largely by 'word of mouth' referral.

It isn’t easy. It is something that has to be worked at by dint of application over a long time. The Storyteller has to earn a personal reputation largely by ‘word of mouth.’ Or at least that was the case for a very long time. It took a number of years for word to get around among the program-organizers and speaker-seekers, that a particular fellow who tells us that he’s mainly a Storyteller is good! “Get him along! He’ll keep the audience interested- no enthralled. He’s good at what he does.”

A reply might be: “What is he then?”

“He’s a Storyteller.”

“A Story teller? Aw, no. We’re after a speaker. Not a ruddy fairy- tale teller."

Or maybe this.

And your own emotional rewards are worth every bit of the energies you use.  Little gives greater satisfaction than to tell a really moving story well.
And your own emotional rewards are worth every bit of the energies you use. Little gives greater satisfaction than to tell a really moving story well.

With over thirty years experience, Tom can tell a story pretty well.

With YouTube the Art and Craft of the Storyteller can now be seen.

No more! Since the advent of the Internet and Youtube and other sites anyone, even the so-long maligned Storyteller can demonstrate his stuff. He can be seen “Doing his thing,” and if what is seen and heard is liked for what it is – perhaps the opening or part of a story being well told – a completely new light is spread upon that term: Storyteller.

“Ah, that’s what this feller does. Yep, quite good. We should get this guy along.”

So if storytelling is what you do mainly, you no longer have to hide behind pseudonyms such as Entertaining Speaker, or the more sophisticated but synonym for Storyteller: Raconteur. You are a Storyteller and proud of it.

Just look at my stuff. Yes, I'm on Google.

“Just look at my stuff. Yes, I’m on Google. You can view me on my website. Yep. Or on YouTube. No, I haven’t made it onto TED Talks yet, but I will.”

The Internet and the World Wide Web have now enabled people to get themselves and what they do seen and heard. It doesn’t matter what they call themselves or what they do. If they’re good at it, and people like it, they will be sought and found. They will get those bookings.

“So you’re a Storyteller, eh? Excellent! Just what we are after.”

I hope you enjoyed reading Storyteller and Successful Speaker

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