I want to be a great teller. How do I start?
Start by listening!
It's true! The best way to learn about storytelling is to first listen.
Listen to other tellers tell their stories...as many as you can. By listening (and watching) you will see and hear what the good tellers do. You may also watch and hear some not-so-practiced tellers. This is good too, Your job in listening is to start to understand what the great tellers do that makes them great, and what mistakes many beginning tellers do that get them in trouble.
When you listen to a teller, ask yourself some questions:
How did they make me feel? - How did they do that?
Did they paint a picture that I could see in my mind? - How did they do that?
Did I understand the essence and the flow of the story? - How did they do that?
Did the beginning engage me? - How did they do that?
Did the ending come to a clear conclusion and satisfy me? - How did they do that?
What parts of themselves did they use most? - How can I find the best parts of me to use?
Did they lose the audience at some point? What was needed to hold the audience's attention?
Listening to as many tellers as you can will be an education in itself. If you didn't like what they did, study it. Understand how you can avoid their pitfalls. If you LOVED them, study that part. How can you learn from that, and use yourself to develop your own successful storytelling space?
Listen to other kinds of speakers too. Newscasters, commentators, video bloggers, TED talk presenters, etc. What do these people do (or not do) that engages their listeners? Your answers will surely relate to the craft of telling stories.
I said in an earlier tip (Learn From The Masters)
Picasso did not paint like the Grand Masters that came before him, but rest assured that he studied them closely before he developed his own unique style.