Friday, April 23, 2010

The joy of storytelling

Public speaking is closely related to storytelling, which is one of the 10 oldest human pastimes or professions. In alphabetical order (not including the usual stereotype) the other eight might be: brewing, cooking, farming, herding, hunting, motherhood, tool making, and trapping.

This post begins a series about storytelling.

In his Free-Range Thinking newsletter Andy Goodman proclaims that there are 10 Immutable laws of storytelling, which are:

1. Stories are about people
2. One or more people has to want something
3. Stories need to be fixed in time and space
4. Let your characters speak for themselves
5. Audiences bore easily
6. Stories speak the audience’s language
7. Stories stir up emotions
8. Stories don’t tell: they show
9. Stories have at least one “moment of truth”
10. Stories have clear meaning

He also asks the following 7 questions to sharpen your stories:

1. Who is the protagonist?
2. What’s the hook?
3. What keeps it interesting?
4. Where’s the conflict?
5. Have you included telling details?
6. What’s the emotional hook?
7. Is the meaning clear?

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