The New Zealand Guild of Storytellers

 

GUIDING PRINCIPLES: HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR STORYTELLING

Adapted from the booklet by Annette Knowler

INTRODUCTION

Recommended for groups. It can also be used for individual storytellers to evaluate their own performance and consider how to improve.

The main purpose of this page and the checklists is to assist the storyteller improve with each performance and to assist others by using the checklists to objectively evaluate performances.

A Guild is an association of crafts people. Modern guilds exist in different forms around the world and have had a revival as organisations for developing levels of competence. The objective of the Guild is always to promote the art of storytelling and the skills of the members.

 

CODE OF PRACTICE

 

Oral storytelling is an art form. We observe the following guidelines.

 

The Story and the Teller merge to provide information, entertainment, change.

 

A GOOD STORY IS CRAFTED TO SUIT THE TELLER

It should contain elements that allow the teller to use:

 

Mime

 

Music

 

Message

 

Meaning

 

Memorability

 

Minimisation

 

Margins

 

Mandate

 

Magnet

 

Motion

 

Method

 

EVALUATING THE STORY

This section could be used for self-evaluation or you could ask your peers to evaluate your performance using these tables.

 

Does the story allow for MIME?

The teller can use body language

The teller can use characterisation using means other than words

 

Do the words of the STORY

Make music, by the sentence structure,

and allow pause and pace appropriately

 

Does the STORY have a message/a meaning?

Yes

 

Does the STORY use a metaphor?

To teach

To diffuse an awkward situation,

To create a win-win situation

To elicit emotion

 

Is the STORY memorable?

Yes

 

Is the STORY succinct?

Yes

 

Does the STORY have margins—a definite beginning and ending?

Yes

 

Does the STORY create an immediate impact?

Yes

 

Does the STORY have an ‘action’ plot?

Yes

 

Is the STORY suitable for the teller and the plot?

The genre of the story

Evocative language

Point of view

 

The Story and the Teller merge to provide information, entertainment, change.

 

THE ATTRIBUTES OF A GOOD STORYTELLER INCLUDE:

 

CRAFTING THE STORY

 

PRESENTING THE STORY with confidence

 

ANIMATING THE STORY with appropriate props

 

MANAGING THE AUDIENCE by a welcoming attitude

 

SHOWING PROFESSIONALISM by respecting the age, gender, cultural needs of the audience

 

A CHECKLIST TO EVALUATE A TELLER

 

DOES THE TELLER ANIMATE THE STORY?

Using Costume (possibly) and /or appropriate props

With Body language

With vivacity/energy

By stimulating imagination

By using vocal variety

 

HOW DOES THE TELLER PRESENT THE STORY?

With confidence

With fluency—weaving in mistakes

Using appropriate language

Showing familiarity with a microphone

Portraying character with body language, props, possibly costume voice vocals

 

DOES THE TELLER MANAGE THE AUDIENCE BY

Welcoming

Gaining and maintaining rapport

Setting the ambience, and creating an atmosphere to enhance the story

Showing respect for different audience needs for involvement

Empowering by presenting a short introduction to the story to keep it in context

Showing an awareness of audience reaction and change if necessary

 

DOES THE TELLER SHOW PROFESSIONALISM

Punctuality

Uses culturally sensitive language

Aware of the power of words

Provide a satisfactory conclusion to presentation