Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Monti Storytelling

You may have heard of The Moth which features story slams - stories told live with no notes. They have a great archive of podcasts. It is great to listen to these since it distills storytelling to it's core. Now north maybe a direction, but the South is a destination. And in the South, we have our own version of story slams called Monti. The following link has a few stories and a dissection of what makes them so captivating. It is well worth a listen - maybe during your next commute.

To summarize some of the points:
  • Storytelling is not trivial, it is an art, but it can be learned.
  • The first story is a great example of building up your characters before launching into the anecdote. P. Santo do this many times as well. They will talk about Muktanandan Swami's mahima before launching into a prasang about him. Similarly when we are a presentation full of prasangs, some background work describing (in an unexpected way) the main person in those prasangs will bring the audience in.
  • Many people have a habit, sometimes a nervous habit, of asking simple questions during their talk, e.g. Who is the President? They may fall into the trap of asking this question and then seeing what people say - the question does not engage the audience, but you asked it - so now what do you do. The second story shows how to ask such questions and still make things sticky. [For those who are not going to listen to the link, the trick is to answer it yourself in a way that creates emotion.]
  • The second talk is all about emotion.
  • Humor is used liberally through out.
  • What else did we miss?

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