Story Tips

Here are a few tips for first time storytellers:

- Try to put some structure on the story.  A strong opening, something that grabs peoples attention, will help get you started.  Make sure you have some kind of ending rather than just running out of gas - it can tie things up, be a punch line, or connect back to the beginning.  Whatever it is, the audience should feel like they just reached the end of a good story.

Practice - Nothing can help more than practicing your story, to yourself or to others.  Practicing while driving by myself in the car is my favorite technique.

A Little Acting Helps - Throw yourself into it - emote, act things out a bit, modulate your voice, whisper, shout, whatever works for you.

Recording/Timing - Most smart phones have a voice recorder that you can use to both record your story and time it.  Often times, listening to a recording of your own story will make it clear if something needs more work.  Be sure to get your story down to 5 minutes.  If you're running long, figure out the essence of the story, what it's really about, and then ruthlessly throw everything else out - the story will only get better.

High Stakes - The higher the stakes, the better the story.  A story about a life changing incident will always be better than an amusing anecdote

Don't Forget the Theme - Somewhere in the story it should connect with the night's theme.  Best if you can use the actual words of the theme in your story.

Relax and Enjoy Yourself - If you've never done this before it's natural to be a bit nervous.  Relax, you'll be telling your story to a very friendly and receptive audience.  They're all rooting for you.  Don't forget to enjoy yourself and have a good time.