Monday, January 5, 2015

The Zen of StoryTelling

Zen (noun):

1. school of Mahayana Buddhism that asserts that enlightenment can be attained through meditation, self-contemplation, and intuition

2. An approach to an activity, skill, or subject that emphasizes simplicity and intuition rather than conventional thinking or fixation on goals.

       Storytelling is the conveying of events in words, and images, often by
       improvisation or embellishment.

In certain forms of Zen meditation, one tries to let the stream of thoughts arise and pass without judgment – like twigs passing in a stream. You try not to let any one thought hinder your concentration or intention; you simply let it appear, and then let it go.  That is the process you want to immerse yourself in as you create your story for it will manifest as your authentic self in its narration.  As if you relive it, not speechify or merely present it.  Therefore, you are not just concerned with goals: the writing of the speech, the memorization of the copy, the stats of the product or point you are selling, the sweat trickling down your underarms from the nerves.  It is relying on knowledge you already have regarding your business and the desire to touch someone with the humanity of the moments you can string together, naturally and honestly, to connect your business TO your audience.  There are specific tools, prompts and exercises to achieve this, no mystery or spiritual conversions involved.  It is what an actor does with his/her physicality, speech and focus on the story he/she is commissioned to tell. The highest form of compliment given to an actor is "I didn't see the work...".  This means that all the physical and mental preparation the actor has done is invisible and all that is seen, heard and experienced are honest moments in real time.  That is the ultimate goal of any speaker.

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