A good story enhances your speech and makes it memorable. This manual offers instruction in telling folk tales, personal stories, stories with morals, emotional stories and stories about historical events or people.

Part of the Advanced Communication Series.

Project Time Objectives
1. The Folk Tale
7-9 minutes Folk tales are popular and easy to tell. Read the story and analyze its structure. What is the plot? How does the action flow? Where is the climax? Why is the story appealing? Become familiar with the scenes and characters and help your audience visualize them. Learn the story so thoroughly that you can tell it from memory. Use gestures and your voice to add impact to the story, paying careful attention to tempo, rhythm, inflection, pauses, and volume.

  • To tell a folk tale that is entertaining and enjoyable for a specific age group.
  • To use vivid imagery and voice to enhance the tale.
2. Let’s Get Personal
6-8 minutes Storytellers often create and tell their own stories. Use your own experiences and observations to build a story that will entertain listeners. Outline the story, paying close attention to plot, setting, characters, and conflict. Then fill in dialogues and description. Strive for images so real that everyone can see them. Personalize the story and keep it short. Use natural gestures and body movements.

  • To learn the elements of a good story.
  • To create and tell and original story based on a personal experience.
3. The Moral of the Story
5-7 minutes Every story should offer some lesson or insight into life and human nature. Use stories with lessons to illustrate points in your own speeches. You can quote the stories of others, or make up your own. A story with a lesson or moral should have a simple plot and simple characters and the topic should be something with which people are familiar. The story should have an unexpected and somewhat humorous conclusion.

  • To understand that a story can be entertaining yet display moral values.
  • To create a new story that offers a lesson or moral.
  • To tell the story, using the skills developed in the previous two projects.
4. The Touching Story
6-8 minutes Storytellers want their audiences to feel emotions, whether it be love, hate, anger, happiness, hope, or courage. Experiencing emotions involves your listeners in the story, keeps their attention, and helps them to remember it. Use dialogue or descriptions to convey the emotions you want the audience to feel. The secret to arousing emotion is to understate it. Don’t be obvious or melodramatic.

  • To understand the techniques available to arouse emotion.
  • To become skilled in arousing emotions while telling a story.
5. Bringing History to Life
7-9 minutes Storytellers can be historians, using their talents to tell the world about the events that shaped it. Stories about the knights of the Round Table, battles, explorers, and leaders are as interesting today as they were many years ago. When telling an historical story, narrow it to one event and make sure it has a plot, conflict, characters, a setting, and action. Carefully develop the characters. You may have to cut the story to fit your time limits.

  • To understand the purpose of stories about historical events of people.
  • To use the storytelling skills developed in the preceding projects to tell a story about a historical event or person.

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