Storytelling: Art, Science, Tool…..structures, types, approaches







In 1984 Merry and I drove to Jonesborough, Tennessee to attend a week-long pair of workshops back to back.

The first 2+ days were taught by an excellent storyteller from Chicago, who was an English and Literature teacher.

The second 2+ days were taught by an expert in legends from traditional, ancient to URBAN

That started our mutual love of STORIES, STORYTELLING and STORY-LISTENING.

While we drove from Athens to Jonesborough we talked about what Merry had been doing and learning about the use of storytelling with her clients as a counseling psychologist and I shared how I become a storyteller or speaker/consultant/trainer who used many stories in his workshops for business people.

In January of 1985 we both attended our first SOS – SOUTHERN ORDER OF STORYTELLING Christmas Festivals. To date I have only missed 3 since then due to bad weather or my being out of the country speaking.

Merry went on to attend several workshops and training programs held in Atlanta by various members of SOS. I went on to attend many breakout sessions, workshops and a couple training programs put on by members of NSA – National Speakers Association, SOS and other groups focused on the development of storytelling.

We returned to Jonesborough 6 more years and attended different storytelling festivals in Georgia, South Carolina and Tennessee since.

Among the many storytelling techniques, approaches, methods there are also many storytelling structures or outlines.

Through my work as a consultant who

gave keynote addresses
breakout sessions
workshops ranging from a few hours to 3 to 5 to 7 days
teaching college courses at 3 different universities daily over entire quarters, for a solid 40 hrs in one week or over entire semesters as an online computer generated professor

I have learned that it is true that STORYTELLING and STORIES can be very useful tools
for a speaker, trainer, facilitator, classroom teacher, college professor and a consultant
yet they do not appeal or work with all types of members of our audiences.

My doctoral studies of thinking style, learning style, teaching style to determine the potential impact and resulting learning have shown me since 1976 that

Highly logical people, which my system labels MEDITATIVE
find one or two stories interesting or amusing but do not like them as the major tool for teaching.

Highly structured people, DIRECTIVE
find storytelling as not relavent or beneficial in professional learning

Highly personable people, NEGOTIATE
love stories and will only listen if stories are used as the primary communications tool

Highly imaginative or exploratory people, INTUITIVE
find a few stories useful but find continual or multiple use as annoying and only valuable for entertainment not learning.

USING various learning style or thinking style instruments or theories:

Kolb, KAI, Gregorc, MBTI, NBI, Human Synergistics

You will discover generally the same types of responses.

Here are a sampling of storytelling structures, types, approaches.


8 Classic storytelling techniques for engaging presentations – Sparkol

science of storytelling large