The Beginner’s Guide to the Do’s and Don’ts of Storytelling (cont’d)

Here are four more hints and tips to help anyone who is new to the brilliant art of storytelling to get off to a flying start (i.e. to learn from our many, many mistakes!):

5) Do practice but unless you are a trained actor nobody expects a Laurence Olivier standard performance. Yes, you do need to be fluent and confident in your delivery so that people aren’t distracted from the story itself by concerns about your performance, but remember that being too polished can be off-putting and appear insincere rather than natural.

6) Don’t just practice in your head. You need to hear what you really sound like (we are all totally fluent and charismatic in our heads!) so find a quiet room, get on your feet and go for it!…

…Three times!!!

7) Wherever possible, record yourself…you’ll be surprised what you really sound like and you can spot (and rectify) a lot of little bad habits immediately before anyone else gets to hear them. Often, though, you’ll be surprised at how natural and engaging you sound and those little niggles can soon be dealt with. So, record it again and notice the difference.

8) Avoid starting sentences with the word ‘And’.

This is not just one for beginners…we have seen even some very experienced tellers fall into this trap which basically turns a story into one long sentence. The first one or two times you do it in any one tale aren’t that noticeable but after a few minutes, if you keep on doing it, the audience is more likely to start counting the number of times you do it rather than focusing on what you are actually saying. Easy to rectify if you do number 7 above.

More tips to follow next week. If you have any you would like to share with us please email us on

Good luck and keep telling tales.


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