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Improving Your Storytelling: Beyond the Basics for All Who Tell Stories in Work and Play (American Storytelling) [Kindle Edition]

Doug Lipman
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The first steps in storytelling are often easy, because we tell stories informally every day. Once you take storytelling into the more formal contexts of performance or occupational uses, however, you may be faced with challenges you hadn't anticipated. You need information that goes beyond the basics. And you need it in a form that does not just tell you what to do but helps you make your own informed decisions.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Aspiring storytellers will be pleased to know that Lipman's down-to-earth approach allows for flexibility rather than an emphasis on memorization. A professional storyteller who has appeared at such prominent venues as the National Storytelling Festival, he presents a thoughtful framework that can apply to anyone whose livelihood depends on keeping an audience rapt, including lawyers, teachers and salespeople, although his remarks are more specifically tailored to performing artists. Advising the would-be speaker to "think in the present" when performing, Lipman articulates basic concepts in the use of oral language (tone of voice always prevails over meaning, he says) and of imagery and gestures. He believes that retelling a story informally many times helps the speaker determine what is most meaningful about it--a connection he terms the Most Important Thing (MIT), since he firmly believes that a story's meanings flow from the speaker's MIT. In addition to a sensitive discussion of how to build a relationship with an audience, he also focuses on the importance of warm-up techniques, including the use of a "healing yawn" to reduce tension and get an oxygen boost, and numerous anti-anxiety techniques. The best result? In storytelling as in life, one must "combine the knowledge of how to work toward transformation with the patience to let it happen out of your control." (June)

Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Lipman uses theory, practical suggestions, and personal examples in this in-depth study of the relationships among story, teller, and audience. He delves into the definition of "story," structure and meaning, and models for learning a story. The author discusses the appeal of a tale to the teller; the conflicts, fears, and other psychological issues it may raise; and the emotional work that must be done before the telling. He explores the transfer of the tale's imagery by means of oral language, facial expression and body language, and voice. The book is easy to read and has an engaging and personal style. Lipman's guide is based on his own experience and that of other professional tellers. It is a must for those who strive to gain a higher level of skill, and who wish to make the story a transforming gift to the listener.-Judy Sokoll, formerly at Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1897 KB
  • Print Length: 224 pages
  • Publisher: August House (November 25, 1999)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001TH84D8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #359,053 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
81 of 87 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars How to tell stories which have "dynamic balance" September 13, 2005
Frankly, I was unaware of Lipman until I read his Foreword to Annette Simmons' The Story Factor. Favorably impressed, I then read Improving Your Storytelling which was first published in 1999. Of course, people have been telling stories for thousands of years. My own list of history's greatest storytellers includes Homer, Plato, Aesop, Jesus, the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll), Joel Chandler Harris, L. Frank Baum, and E.B. White. All of the great storytellers are guided and informed by the same basic principles: They use compelling language and powerful images, establish an appropriate context (physical, intellectual, emotional, and social) within which to place a story, and then develop a relationship with both their audience and their story. As Lipman suggests, the storyteller, audience, and story "form the three corners of a triangle -- the storytelling triangle."

He offers material "beyond the basics for all who tell stories in work and play." Obviously, "play" includes situations in which stories are told to "children of all ages" primarily to delight and entertain them. But what about "work"? While reading Lipman's book, I soon realized that his insights and advice are at least as relevant to "work" as they are to "play." Effective storytelling skills are indeed valuable in all forms of communication between and among people.

Only in recent years, however, has there been significant interest in what is generally referred to as "the business narrative." I shudder when recalling countless formal presentations I made in the past when droning on and on much as then Governor Bill Clinton once did at a Democratic national convention. Thousands roared their approval when he said "In conclusion....
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77 of 84 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Falling in Love with a Story October 27, 2000
Want to learn how to tell a story straight from your heart--read this book!
Like some targeted readers, I am a professional storyteller. How intellectually stimulating it was for me to experience Doug's story-learning process. It felt so good for Doug to take me with him as he showed how he makes each story his own.
Doug Lipman seamlessly wove together three concepts: honoring your audiences, telling only stories that you can love and that speak to you, and practical story-learning techniques. He found methods to engage both my right and left brain as I voraciously chewed and swallowed each and every page. This book is rich with no extraneous wordiness or meaningless trivia. This author makes every word count within a logical whole cloth of thought about ways any teller of tales can enrich their audiences by becoming one with their stories and their audiences.
Kudos to a master teller!
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33 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bringing a Story to Life September 6, 2003
As the title suggests, this book is not aimed at storytelling novices. It has wonderful information, however, organized around the storytelling "triangle" (the story, the teller, and the listener) -- and all of the relationships between them. Lipman includes information on language, imagery, kinesthetics, voice, understanding the story, preparing the story, and much more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best way to communicate ... tell a story April 30, 2009
This is an excellent book about storytelling. I bought the book for self improvement. As a salesman and consultant, most of my career has been spent communicating with corporate decision makers. The best way to communicate effectively is through anecdotal stories. Why? Your listeners remember them.

Lipman does a great job of explaining effective storytelling by stepping his readers through the process of story development, defining the "MIT" Most Important Thing, and tips for delivering the story effectively. He also spends time in teaching how to deliver a story that must be told verbatim...a difficult thing to do.

If you are in a business that requires you to influence people through effective communication, you will find this book an invaluable resource. Read it and enjoy it, then tell your friends your story.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Solidify Your Message with Better Stories February 16, 2007
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Successful use of stories is an important, and often under-rated, aspect of public speaking, particularly in the workplace. It is also critical to developing well-received speeches in Toastmasters clubs.

This book provides a wealth of valuable insights on developing engaging stories that will carry your message.
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15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Improving Your Storytelling by Doug Lipman December 3, 2004
Doug Lipman is an absolutely superb story genius. He has really taken the art of coaching artists to the next level. I highly recommend the book, as well as Doug in person, because he is truly dedicated to the craft. His book is easy to read, understand and to use right away. This is a book about how to improve your life, not just your stories! If you want to take your storytelling to the next level, buy this immediately !
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Didn't suite my needs January 17, 2014
By Travis
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I bought this book hoping to refine my story telling skills in every day social settings. While the content may be good for someone who plans to be a career story teller to children or adults, it is not good for someone looking for simple applicable tips to help them tell interesting short stories in a personal setting. I found it to be unnecessarily wordy, and can almost glean more from the table of contents than from the actual book. I am currently on page 92 and planning on shelving it in case I decide to apply more time and energy to learning about this subject in the future.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
good book
Published 2 months ago by kevin schwartz
3.0 out of 5 stars Telling a story like a professional
Interesting. The writer put a lot of effort into making a good story. Those fortunate enough to see and listen to a story by Doug Lipman, I'm sure will be entertained. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Marilyn Hamalainen
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Thank You!
Published 19 months ago by Arletha Gordon
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but not a buy unless you need to.
A decent look at storytelling across the professions that really repeats itself over and over again. Read more
Published 20 months ago by Jacqueline
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Impressive knowledge expansion about storytelling, Book was shipped fast and in a very good state. Description matched the book perfectly.
Published 21 months ago by Reyes11494
3.0 out of 5 stars Good reference
I use the book to develop my training courses for engineers and development of my business presentations. A good tool I keep in my office.
Published 22 months ago by J. E. Maier
5.0 out of 5 stars Great for beginners as well as seasoned professionals
Story telling is what we all do and this guide brings out the importance of oral traditions in our culture. We all tell stories every day, so why not do it with style?
Published 23 months ago by dvnmsm
5.0 out of 5 stars Book was just fine.
Book came quickly and in great shape. It was just what I was looking for and was almost in new condition.
Published 23 months ago by L. Elkin
5.0 out of 5 stars Comprehensive, Dynamic and Inspiring!
Doug Lipman's book Improving Your Storytelling is both comprehensive and inspirational. His work addresses virtually every aspect of storytelling from performer preparation, to... Read more
Published on June 20, 2012 by Grace Wolbrink
5.0 out of 5 stars a skill EVERYONE should hone!!

can't say enough about this book!
storytelling is the ultimate effective communication skill, and this book is a practical and insightful source for... Read more
Published on August 18, 2010 by ms. p
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