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

4.2 out of 5 stars 35 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0874835304
ISBN-10: 0874835305
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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.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: August House; unknown edition (1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0874835305
  • ISBN-13: 978-0874835304
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 0.5 x 8.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (35 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #107,389 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 13, 2005
Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the great books of storytelling improvement. The chapters don't say more than what they need to, but they don't say less either. The points are very clear and very concise, with Lipman offering various strategies to improve a person's dialogue, you would think that individuals would become lost in the text. Lipman, however, writes in a way that caters to the individual. If a thesis or main point could be made about the book, it would be that Lipman helps the individual create his or her stories based around the Most Important Thing (MIT). Learning the most important thing a storyteller wants to get across to his/her audience is the foundational step to building an excellent storytelling event. This insight is crucial because it creates a sense of focus about the story and gives it a direction. Is the MIT of the story to teach a moral lesson, or is it purely for entertainment purposes, is it to grip the hearts of others so that they will contribute to a cause? These are the things a person can expect to learn throughout this book with a step by step process.

Lipman offers these insights through experience, being one of the foremost storytellers in the United States (perhaps farther), Lipman demonstrates excellent knowledge with easy to follow steps toward enhancing one's ability to tell stories. I would have given this book five stars but there was one thing that stuck out, that was missing, that I wish Lipman had added to the book. Lipman mentions three building blocks that make up storytelling, one of which he chose not to include in the book. "To understand the storytelling event, look at its major components. One is the transfer of imagery that occurs, and its building blocks: oral language and images.
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