Friday, October 30, 2009


There are three things to aim at in public speaking: first, to get into your subject, then to get your subject into yourself, and lastly, to get your subject into the heart of your audience”. -Alexander Gregg

Some studies have shown that fear of public speaking ranks up there with the fear of death. The more I read about the subject the more convinced I am that the art of Oral Tradition should have it's rightful place in school curriculum. I have personally witnessed the shyest students blossom as they take the stage armed with the tools they learned from participating in my storytelling troupe.

Recently, I came upon an article written by my friend Bill Lampton, leader in the field of corporate communication. It is amazing how many of his points apply to the storytelling as well.

First, here are some of the storytelling tips I share with my student tellers.


1. Visualize– Let the story live in your mind’s eye. See the details, hear the characters.

2. Create an Image -What do the characters and places look like, smell like, and sound like?

3. Voice- Use your voice to define characters and establish mood and attitude.

4. Add Energy to Your Story - Gestures and body language will help identify characters and bring it to life.

5. Make It Your Own - Let the story live, bring your own images and emotions to it. If you make a personal connection with the story the audience will connect as well.

6. Pay Attention to the Audience - Scan the faces in the audience. Find those who are right in the story with you. Notice their facial expressions and body language. They are giving their energy back to you! Use it and relax into the story.

7. Imagine Success - Hear the audience applause. Relax, breathe. This is about connection, not perfection!

Now, juxtapose the above with the tips Bill shares below.

By Bill Lampton, Ph.D.

When I provide individual speech coaching, and when I direct presentation skills seminars, I emphasize these 7 necessary steps for speaking with poise, power, and persuasion.

1. Adopt an upbeat ATTITUDE
Form a mental picture of success. Anticipate your audience's unbroken attention, laughter, and applause. Assume you have something worth saying, and that you will say it well.

2.Focus on the AUDIENCE
This way, you won't become excessively concerned about yourself. Remember, audiences want you to succeed. They aren't critics, they are your cheerleaders. Embrace them--then they'll embrace you.

Listeners don't want to wonder if you have a pulse. So don't read or recite your message. . . tell it as energetically as you would describe a fun weekend. Move away from the podium, gesture freely, vary your voice, just as you do in casual chit chat. Createwhat actors call "The Illusion of the First Time."

Remain on the lookout for audience feedback. When you detect confusion, restate your point. When you see listeners nod in agreement, let their support energize you.

Even adults love "once upon a time." People remember and learn from your stories, not statistics. Paint word pictures, giving a "you are there" feeling. Use suspense with the skill of a novelist. Paul Harvey carved a grand speaking career as a master story teller.

6. Sharpen your APPEARANCE
Although casual and sometimes sloppy dress have gained some acceptance, your audience wants you to dress a notch or two above their norm. Tasteful, professional clothing reflects that you respect them and the occasion. Not surprisingly, you will gain confidence and energy as well.

Do something different from other speakers. Examples: unusual props, impersonations, games, regular audience interaction, or magic if that's your talent. Note: Every season, new TV shows succeed because they become distinctive.

Next time you speak, try these "7 A's." They work. Your audience will give you an "A" grade for sure.

Whether it be in schools or the corporate arena, communication skills are necessary for personal and public success. For more on the value of bringing storytelling into our schools go to Storytelling In Schools, an amazing, downloadable booklet and brochure. It is filled with quantitative studies, innovative projects books, journals, articles and web sites are all at your fingertips.

For additional research on how our brains are hardwired for story, visit the Teacher's Page on my website at

Picture courtesy of

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Time to Be Thankful

by Eric Enstrom
November is just around the corner and the month brings my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. Here are some sites to help you enjoy the day.


Native Languages of the Americas Wampanoag Indian Legends Meet Moshup the Giant, read about Squant the Sea Monster and more. There are also additional links and resources to help you learn more about this Indian nation.

The Circle of Life and the Clambake – A lovely story from the Wampanoag culture that encompasses the spirit of thanksgiving, the circle of life and caring for the earth.

Thanksgiving Short Stories for Kids

The Scarecrow’s Thanksgiving – A Canadian Thanksgiving story.


Blessing Boxes

Thanksgiving and Fall Crafts for Children

Thanksgiving Coloring Pages


Wampanoag Culture and History Links – Geography, lifestyle and traditions, books and more.

Wampanoag Indian Fact Sheet for Kids

Learning to Give
– Native American Lesson Plan for grades 9 – 12 in Arts, Language Arts, Library / Technology, Philanthropy and Social Studies. Includes numerous folktales to share.

All ‘Bout Cranberries - A comprehensive cranberry curriculum for grades K-8 covering many aspects of cranberry growing and takes the user on a journey from the Cranberry Bog to the Kitchen Table. It is designed to give students an appreciation of Massachusetts number one food crop through problem solving and thought provoing activities.

American Indian Leather Painting– For grades 5-6, students will create stories that resemble ol Indian leather paintings. Students will tell a story using only pictures and drawing them in sequence so others can read the story back.

The Pilgrims Voyage: A Map and the Mayflower - This project teaches geography and history. The student makes a map of the voyage and a tiny replica of the Mayflower.


Charity Navigator
- An independent charity evaluator; provides tips for making decisions about donations, statistics, information about workplace donation campaigns, and a list of the highest and lowest rated charities in various subject areas.

The Hunger Site - Since its launch in June 1999 the site has established itself as a leader in online activism, helping to feed the world's hungry. All it takes is a click of the computer keys. What could be easier?

Rwanda Baskets - Proceeds benefit Rwandan genocide widows who weave these exquisite baskets to provide for themselves and the orphans of this war-torn nation.

Give A Good Card - Give a gift card for charity where the recipients get to donate to their charity of choice.

Oxfam America Unwrapped - For those of us who are blessed to have what we need, why not wrap up your holiday spirit and pick one of the 120 countries from around the world to help? Whether our budget is small or large, we can all do our part to help others in need.

Global Action for Children - A nonpartisan, coalition dedicated to advocating for orphans and highly vulnerable children in the developing world. Their goal is for all children to have the health care, education, food, and protection they need to grow up safe and healthy.

Donors - This simple yet brilliant idea was started by a teacher. It is an easy way to provide students in need with resources that ourpublic schools often lack. Teachers submit project proposals for materials or experiences their students need to learn and concerned individuals, whom we call Citizen Philanthropists, choose the projects to fund. This is a non-profit agency.

Points of Light Institute - Website for an organization that promotes volunteer activity and civic engagement in the U.S., helps develop infrastructure for community change, and "demonstrates the power of citizens actively engaged in changing our world and solving problems." Includes a directory of volunteer centers, description of programs, resources for volunteers, and related material. Copyright LII

African Artists Community Development Project - While traveling this summer I met two wonderful women who donate their time and energy to this amazing project. One of the ladies shared a story of bringing some of the funds to a woman in Zambia and seeing her joy as she clapped her hands and said, "Now I can buy a chicken!" She also told me of sitting on the floor with these women, helping them make handbags out of recycled materials. She said,"They are so poor but they are happy. I love sitting with them and listening to their stories." I promised them I would spread the word about their amazing project so other women will be able to buy animals to add to their small farms and support their families.

Mission to Liberia – This cause is near to my heart as one of my dear friends is connected with this agency. “Old shoes. Very old shoes. These took me on foot, away from the gunfire, far from the shelling of embattled Liberia, my homeland. Joseph Deranamie recounts his days fleeing as a refugee. Mission to Liberia is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicated to serving the health care needs of fellow Liberians who did not escape the devastation that decades of civil war left behind.”

Karen Chace  ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.