Professional Storyteller

Share a Story - Change the World

Had a grand time earlier this week, telling to two assemblies - 3rd thru 5th grade, then 1st and 2nd graders. We - the kids and I - had a great time.
They were attentive, enthusiastic, responsive and appreciative - we majored in audience participation.

Then...afterwards, when the kids are gone and it's just the adults, and you're packing up and heading out . . . and NOBODY says ANYTHING remotely like a compliment or an expression of appreciation - not even, "Nice try."

Ever been there? (It isn't just me, is it???)

How do you handle such instances and not let it get you down?

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Focus on the good responses. That's all I can suggest. I find the adults are usually thrilled just to get 30 or more minutes where they are NOT in charge of the kids. LOL.

Perhaps your group of adults was just too tired to being thinking straight?

You did great with the kids. That's what matters.

A few words about evaluations. People HATE them. Teachers and such have more than enough paper work. I used to do them but I've stopped at this point. If you do put one together remember that you want certain results and gear it to that. Do NOT in a sense of "fair play" stress possible negatives. Believe me if someone wants you to know what they didn't like (which happens in rare cases), they will let you know.

These days I simply send a gracious thank you note that sometimes requests a note on their letter head. It also mentions other programs I have available that the venue might like. I request copies of all photos snail or e-mailed to me. I tell them to please share my information with anyone who might be looking for a storyteller as well. Sometimes I request they put a comment on my web site.

One final thought, those that don't smile or say anything, they need our smiles and kindness more than anyone else. I think of them as seeds that are dying of thirst and that might burst forth in glorious bloom with just a little water and care.

Lisa Hicks, "The Stellar Storyteller

Take a look at my web site:

http://lisahicksstoryteller.bravehost.com/index.html

"Tell me a fact and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever." - Indian Proverb
Lisa;
What a gracious response. I hate asking for evaluations it makes me feel like I am in school. I also agree with you about the so called sourpusses in the audiences. You can't please everyone, so I always just do my very best. It is amazing to me that sometimes the ones we think aren't listening are the ones I get the kindest remarks from.

Always a tale to tell,
MyLinda
Hey, Lisa -

Thanks for your insightful, very helpful comments. Excellent counsel! And practical - several suggestions I plan on incorporating into my business, so, thanks very much....

I DID look at your website and, wow, I am already exhausted (you're a busy lady!) - beautifully done, informative, user-friendly..."you done good, Lisa!!"

Thanks, again, for your response - I think it will be beneficial to any who read this discussion.

Gratefully,

Tom
Lisa, You are very insightful, and I love this quote...

One final thought, those that don't smile or say anything, they need our smiles and kindness more than anyone else. I think of them as seeds that are dying of thirst and that might burst forth in glorious bloom with just a little water and care.

It's one I'm going to keep with me and use for insipration.

Ginny
Ginny,

Thanks for your comment on Lisa's insightful counsel. I think you'll do very well to embrace her "final thought" quote!

Best Wishes,

Tom T
Tom,
Hello! It is definitely not just you. It was great to read all the comments about your question. Here's my simple theory: The students and teachers think the stories are great and you are talented! But, they assume you know you are a talented storyteller, so they don't take the time to tell you.
And by the way, did we meet in 1999 or 2000 at a Doug Lipman/Jay O'Callahan workshop in Pennsylvania? If so, it's good to connect again.
Take care,
Jennifer
Hi, Jennifer -

Thank you for sharing a most positive take on the situation, I think I'm gonna proclaim that your theory is totally correct, and I am embracing it as my own! I feel SO MUCH better now, thank you -

I'm sorry to say that we've not yet met - I've not been fortunate enough to ever attend a Lipman/O'Callahan workshop (but Doug will be a featured teller at the Texas Storytelling Festival in Denton next month!); but, I'm glad to say that I can - and do - look forward to meeting you whenever, wherever, however.

Thanks, again, for your uplifting response -

My Best Wishes to you,

Tom
Group:

From your personal experience(s),

How much does YOUR ATTITUDE figure in your response to "the situation," whether positive or negative?
Tom: You have really gotten a lot of mileage out of this question and I believe what happened to you has happened to most of us who perform at schools. I really stepped out of my comfort zone and decided to tell a story that had a lot to do with my life when I was in diapers and then the liberation of my life when I finally figured out how to toitie like the big people do. The kids absolutely loved the story as it delt with issues those children have all gone through and have been embarrased by. The kids were laughing their heads off while the adults were expressively uncomfortable, even though there was nothing gross or impropper mentioned. As the kids marched back to class they told me what a good time they had. In some instances they said that they felt the same way when they graduated from diapers. Not one comment from the teachers or administration. Ooops, I thought to myself as I quietly left the building, probably never to be invited back. Sometimes we are "ON" and sometimes we are "Off" and that includes the administration of that school. The Principal had told me that they were a bunch of misbehavors and that if they didn't pay attention to me, just to stop the program and send them back to class. He said that they would never be able to sit on their hands for 55 minutes leading me to believe that I had a tough audience. I noticed during the first story that the kids where having a hard time interacting. Like they had to have approval to laugh at something funny that I had said. I quickly realized that those kids had, up to that point been abused by a very strict policy of obedience to the point they weren't sure they could participate in the program by enjoying it. The kids were scared to death to laugh or imagine freely because obviously, their mentors had other things in mind such as behaving and not acting out as ones self. I guess that is why I told that story. I just had to let the kids know that life isn't all about order and the fear of what another person will think of you if you had an accident or embarrased youself in another way. I had the kids complete attention throughout the program and that story in particular, they were a marvelous audience who up to that point had been inhibited by a self important bully who actually had no real concept of the capabilities of his studentbody or faculty who weren't quite sure how to react because they were waiting for an assurance from their surpeme commander that it would be ok to laugh from time to time. Well the story was so rediculous, the kids couldn't help but laugh and it was the kids who I was performing for. Did the kids have a good time? You betcha! I'd have worried if the kids behaved like the faculty, then I'd have figured that I was having an "Off" day.
David,
Thank you for sharing the story of your story. I bet those kids needed you and your story like an ice cold glass of water on a hot day. And those teachers needed it too! Let's hope that when they went home, they fell down on their sofas and laughed and laughed!
All the best,
Jennifer
Well said and expressed, David, thanks!

Strangely enough, I have a story VERY similar to yours...I don't always use it, but, the kids always love it, even if the "Big Kids" (Faculty/Staff/Admin.) are a tad uncomfortable -

You're right - we're doing it for THE KIDS....

Appreciate your sharing with us -

Best Wishes,

Tom T
no...no...not just you. Sometimes I find it amazing that I can look over an audience and see people smiling at me...following my story, some playing with their keyes (at least not texting on cell phone...I do a little mental flamenco dance on cell phones)...some with their eyes closed and some looking like they are in another world communicating with the mothership......at the end, usually someone says something, but I have noticed that it is wise to stay a few minutes over packing and repacking things for there are those who want to approach you alone....not in the ear hearing distance of others and usually these are the ones who are searching. Sometimes if you are originally telling for children that night, adults think that they are not to participate or acknowledge, you were for children afterall. I try to stick in a few stories that slip over boundaries and have all participating or a double meaning and usually someone will stop and say something then. It is disheartening..(storytellers have no egos ya know..cough) but always expect the unexpected when dealing with people...that is what is so fascinating to me. Not let it get me down?...isn't that what scotch is for sir?..GRIN

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