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The Magic of Great Storytelling


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So how on earth do you go about acquiring the skill of storytelling?

Well... I would suggest that it's about structure and delivery, which I see as actually connected. Structure is all about the mechanics of putting ideas into a compelling and coherent whole, and delivery is the performance aspect, how you actually tell that story to an audience, and the many techniques you can use to engage those listeners.

To begin with, let's start with some structure by establishing Intent because this will propel the story and give it foundation. If you are not intentional in life then structure and the advantages it provides will fly by you. Intent is the sum of motive and goaland the distinctiveness of both. Take a sample line: "He was so passionate about the Beethoven sonata he wanted to play it for everyone." There's a clear motive, his passion for Beethoven, and an equally clear goal, playing it for everyone. Ask yourself these two simple questions on motive and goal the next time you begin a project or prepare a presentation, and you will have begun the first discipline of storytelling structure. You are the protagonist of your story. It is your story and you are totally invested in it. So be conscious and curious about how you communicate that story. (In video below, NEC violinist Robyn Bollinger expresses her passion for the Paganini Caprices and sets them in historical context.)

Your eyes are the most important part of your engagement with an audience. As the poet said "they are the windows into your soul," and people will be making intuitive judgments about what they see reflected in your eyes. So, keep your eyes connected to your audience. Let them experience the essence of you. No burrowing your head in your notes, or looking at your shoes.

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