Adjust your gestures/movements
to match the audience space. The telling for an audience
of five, seated side-by-side right in front of you, should be different
from telling for 50 or 500. Lower the volume on gestures for a smaller
audience and raise the volume for larger audiences. No, the gesture
for an audience of 500 will not be 100 times bigger than the gestures
for an audience of five.
Sound too artificial? The truth
is, we adjust the volume of our gestures all the time. Try this
experiment. Imagine you are sitting at a banquet, and someone you
know is at the next table. You've made eye contact; now wave to
them. Note the volume of your gesture. Now, imagine you are walking
down a street. You see someone you know on the opposite side of
the street. Wave to them. Notice the change in gesture. How will
your gesture change if you imagine you are walking out of a store
and spot someone you know on the far side of the parking lot? With
each scenario, your entire body changes to help you communicate.
Storytelling is a communication art.
Listeners are invited to use their imaginations to enter the stories.
To gesture as if for an audience of 500 when telling to an audience
of five is likely to be over-powering, not inviting. Likewise, concentrating
on a small portion of the audience, directing all your eye contact
to them and gesturing so only that small group could possibly see
what is going on when you have an audience of 500 is likely to turn
the bulk of the audience into onlookers rather than participants.
So, give yourself permission to
adjust the volume on your gestures. Both you and your audience
will be glad you did.
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Mary Hamilton has earned her living telling stories and pondering
how the art of storytelling works since 1983. Learn more about her
work at http://www.maryhamilton.info
Hamilton, Professional Storyteller
65 Springhill Road, Frankfort, KY 40601-9211