Here's a tip from April of 2014. It seems to go along with my confession above.
We're all familiar with the "Golden Triangle" of storytelling. In order for storytelling to take place, one has to have a Teller, a Story and an Audience. They are all equally important, and the relationship between all three is of utmost importance.
But wait, there's more!
This graphic "map" for storytelling should be your guide for all performances, both planned and unplanned. Colleague Pam Faro wrote a blog (read it here) that has some great questions about each of the elements. And, as she says,
"Often, it’s the case that specific answers are not even what is needed – but the questioning process itself is what leads you forward, deeper and farther into your story selecting, preparation, and telling!"
Here's my "story" example:
Some time ago, I was at Delux, the gourmet burger restaurant owned by my friend Lenny Rosenberg (32nd and Camelback for those who might be interested).
We were in his office, and on the way out, passed by the private dining room where a group of eight business women were having a dinner meeting. Lenny stepped in to check on them, and pulled me in. He introduced me as “a great storyteller”. The ladies couldn’t resist asking me to share a story with them. –
NOW – What do I do?
I had about five seconds (maybe six) to decide if I should tell, and then what story. The quick questions:
Teller? – Me. Lenny had already pumped up my abilities, and we had already shared a laugh or two. Rapport had been established.
Audience? – High-powered, strong, decisive (and by the sound of their laughter, fun-loving) business women.
Story? – The Castle of the Faithful Wives (clever, strong women who save the lives of their families).
So I asked them (a calculated measure to see if they were really ready for a story), “Would you like to hear a story about strong women?” — I think I had them in the palm of my hand.
I kept it short, two to three minutes, and made sure that the reveal of the “women carrying their husbands away from the castle, on their backs” was both humorous, and drove home the point of clever, strong women.
They laughed, cheered in triumph, and gave me (and the story) a great round of applause.
The Golden Triangle was glowing bright.