“Please tell us a story, pleeeease….”

 Anyone  with young children will have heard these words.  Rapt attention and eager anticipation, your reward when you give in.  The great comics are all about story-telling. Think back to the seventies when every mum’s favourite, Max Bygaves, started every performance with his catch phrase ” I wanna tell you a story”. Think now, Billy Connelly or Ricky Gervais.

Away from comedy, think Barack Obama. His acceptance speech was mesmerising, its impact undeniable. And yet, how much of what he actually said do we now remember?  I tested a few friends. Their limited responses included ‘yes we can,’ ‘change’, these united states of america’ and ‘a puppy dog for the children’.

However, what they all recalled, with ease, was his story.

“This election had many firsts and many stories that will be told for generations. But the one that’s on my mind tonight is about a woman who cast her ballot in Alabama.  Ann Nixon Cooper is 106 years old. She was born just a generation past slavery: a time when there were no cars on the road or planes in the sky….”

Storytelling is the most neglected area of pitch stagecraft yet good stories, or personal anecdotes, will stick in the mind long after the charts. They provoke thought whilst engaging and entertaining the audience.

“Please tell us a story, please…..”

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