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National Storytelling Network Article

Published February 26, 2007

In this bulletin Forum, NSN asked for reader's thoughts on how one becomes a storyteller and Dr. Mike Lockett, The Normal Storyteller from Normal, Illinois, responded with some food for thought.



In the last Bulletin Forum, we asked for your thoughts on how one becomes a storyteller, and Dr. Mike Lockett, the Normal Storyteller from Normal, Illinois, responded with some real food for though.

Mike says it is vital that we as storytellers take time to talk to our listeners and really hear what they have to say. He shared an experience about telling stories for a publishing company party in Chicago last May. The performance went extremely well, and several people came to visit afterward. One of the visitors was the founder of a large book company in Taiwan, who identified himself only as a possible agent. Mike says, “it would have been easy to brush him off - but every audience member deserves to have the respect of the performer.” As a result of that conversation, Mike has performed in various venues in Taiwan and is planning a return trip to work with a publishing house on a children’s book, a CD, and a DVD for teaching storytelling to Taiwanese educators.

When Mike asked his host why of all the tellers in the world, they offered their financial support to bring him to Taiwan, they responded by saying he seemed more interested in sharing stories than in making money and that he had a heart they thought the Taiwanese people would love. Mike says, “We always need to be on our best game, to give our best performances, and to especially travel with a heart of gold.” You can see photos and read more about Mike’s storytelling work in Taiwan at his website .

Listening is at least as important as telling. Successful storytellers listen to their listeners. I suggest that we consider words as gifts which we share with each other. There are two parts to every gift: one is in the giving and one is in the receiving. Do you have any gifts to share about how one becomes a successful storyteller??

Waiting to hear…