"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

03 April 2015

Day 3 of the A to Z Challenge: Tips, Techniques and Reflections of a StoryCoach

C is for Characterization

When we tell a story, most of us adopt the role of Storyteller and hold on tight. When it comes time to reveal a character, we don't commit fully to that character. We try to tell and act at the same time. I believe this can weaken the story. In my coaching sessions, I've watched characters only partially emerge as the Storyteller tries to keep the story going, thus cheating the audience of an opportunity to experience the story fully through that character's perception and experience.

Now I need to say there's no one way to tell a story and every storyteller has to choose their own techniques and approach, but I like to encourage my storytellers to recognise, explore, and commit fully to all three roles. When it's time to be a character, then BE the character. Step out of being the Storyteller for a moment and enjoy being the character whoever he or she or it might be. Experience that character's personality, walk around in his or her shoes. If it's a giant, then BE the giant – explore and enjoy the giant's character. If you're a mouse, BE the mouse in all its “mouseness”.

Obviously, it's not always practical to devote time equally to every character but be aware of which characters attract or repel you. I've worked with storytellers who when questioned why they didn't allow a particular character to emerge, admitted they didn't like the character, didn't understand the character, or didn't think the character was important. I believe that every character gives us the opportunity not only to deepen our appreciation and understanding of a story but also deepen our understanding of ourselves. Honor every character and your story will shine for it.

Extract from forthcoming ebook The ABCs of Storytelling: Tips, Techniques, and Reflections from a StoryCoach by Michael Williams, Ph.D.

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

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