The importance of oral storytelling

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You will come across them everywhere:  men who have trouble expressing themselves in company through the medium of speech.  For many this is a habit which begins in early adolescence and continues into later life.  This preference for remaining mute may stem from a combination of causes; a lack of self-esteem (nothing I can say is worth listening to), shame (I may reveal something I’d rather keep hidden) and embarrassment (whenever I speak it comes out all wrong) are usually somewhere in the mix.

An inability to communicate can be a hinderance.  People considered ‘personable’ are often preferred in job interviews and for advancement in their careers.  They are better at selling a story of how successful they are, and because they appear to believe it, so do others.  Worse, that old cliché ‘the strong silent type’ can appear aloof and unconcerned with those around them.

In extremis, and under duress, people who cannot express themselves through language are more likely to express themselves through violence.

We do not need to be trapped in an awkward adolescence.  There is no mystery to speaking in front of a group of other people.  It is part of human nature and is an innate ability which we can improve and develop through practice.

The art of oral storytelling is an ideal medium for exercising and improving our public speaking skills.  By learning the techniques required to tell a story we learn to order our thoughts, make sure the important points are included, and reach a satisfactory conclusion.  We also learn pace, dynamics and timing, all of which keep our audience engaged.  Most importantly, we overcome the barriers we have erected for ourselves which prevent us from speaking confidently in front of others.  And these are all skills which will serve us well when expressing ourselves in our daily lives.

Jonathan Lambert