02/05/2015

"Argenteuil en fête" but not this year

Argenteuil 1 May
Some economies are dumb and bad and really not worth it.

1st may in Argenteuil France near the river Seine where the impressionist painters went to paint and relax near the river was always a great popular event of the town and its surrounding people.

Eating, preparing it, dancing and singing, comedy and photography, meeting and admiring each other's costume, selling painting or painting on place, boating, canoeing, so many activities each year! 

It is difficult to me to believe that this year the Townhall decided "economising" and not offer it. In fact there were mostly the work of so many in it who enjoyed it a lot as much as those who went. This year, I did not know they suspended it but I feel it is really a shame.

Story telling workshop : "the first time I..."

Tell each other one of many "The first time I..."
So many first times we have.

The first times are scary.
The first times are joy.
The first times are funny.

We have many interesting first time to reveal to each other and at the same time we forget to fear to speak in public and show some from ourselves. My experience tells me that either prepared in advance, or challenged add hoc, that makes a great experience.

And, at the end, each is convinced: personal stories work!

19/04/2015

Wind, rain, problems

Trees, spring bloom and windWe all like quiet times.

Nothing disturbing our usual life.

I do too.

But with time, I realised, when the wind begins to blow and eventually the rain pours down our neck also, when the problems come on us - and we went them to go fast away...

Those are the best times, the most interesting times, the times about which we can show a picture, tell a tale, make a joke.

12/04/2015

Gig at Comedy School (back to perform after 3 years) as special guest


November 2012 after a refreshment workshop with the Comedy School.

I opened the show, alas I was allowed only seven minutes from ten prepared. But of course, one has to adapt each time.

This year I had my ten minutes at "Old folks jokes" but I do not have yet its video recording. And now, 10' also opening at Ivor Dembina's 'you should have listened to Ivor'. Went very well, made those present laugh a lot.

New tips to look for when you look at it the second time.

Listen to how I begin.
First recognising what everyone can see: I am old. (Later, then I am not English, but Hungarian.) It is good to recognise what they see and hear, then of course comes the surprises.

In my case proving that we old are "open minded" surprising those listening with 4 letter words.
Finally, toping by telling the tale about my daughter and she "not being there". That connects to all.

"Toping" is adding to a punch line without necessity to introduce, it also give it a more impromptu feeling. Like you just invented it, now for this audience. I top even more at the end.

Be aware that nor in Comedy or in Storytelling do you have to stick to the exact truth about time, names, durations, for example. It is very important to be "in the moment" - so my daughter really called me - but it was more then a year before, so what? I told it first the day it happened.

It is not important when other then make it seem more "fresh".

I still tell from time to time "I am 77" and it seems sexier year, easier to remember then 78 or 79.

Observe how I finish.
I segue with what come before, "I am a bit out of practice now, but" and 'top" again then give my most outrageous sentence. It work very well every time. But then, I do not stop but top it and top it, usually getting big laughs after laughs for the end. It is best to leave your best working part to the end, your second best at the beginning.

Note, that I found the sentence after six hours of workshop at Camden with Ivor Dembina, who probed deep into what is we do not tell usually because "that is what the audience is interested is enjoying best".  I hesitated for three month until I first tried it out. It does work each time.

Added to the routine (and make it grow with new frustrations)
There are some added parts that come the first here, from frustrations I got recently, just a little before I performed this, November 2012, of my teeth.

I also added the routine about my eyes (is it in this yet?) Later, I found a better way to introduce my Kindle (not in this performance yet). It does get a huge laughter as I talk about "size is import - sometimes" and let the audience think first of something else, as just before it I added a part that is about a message I got on Facebook. (see my later gigs for that).

Observe how I go from one part to the other.
Just before I performed I was told that I have to do only 7 minutes not 10 as I was promised. I had to cut some parts. Because the routine has been made in Parts, I could leave out some. But is is more difficult then as usually I put a word at the end of a routine to trigger in me and remind the next part.

All audience is not as receptive as this was. Sometimes parts go better or less depending whom listens.

07/04/2015

Story Telling Workshop, 23 March 2015 In English


Bits from my Personal Storytelling workshop
"Experience French Toastmasters club"
with participation of Toastmasters from many London clubs

Practically all those present spoke and told a "The first time I..." story and very well too, giving each other courage to stand up and tell us their stories. I have given a feedback with small bits of tips added outlining why each was good and what they used from which we can learn. (Tips not recorded)

Thanks a lot to Annelise and Odile for organising the meeting, inviting guests and participants. and for Odile (and his son Patrick too) for taping and editing this video. And all those wonderful storyteller participants of the workshop featured in it.

Another time will add some tips in a note, but I am preparing a book with 12 chapters in it about it.

9 recommended books (and others) from my bookshelf

Public speaking is telling stories, using humour, presenting them all together. And conveying an old wisdom in a new way. Here a few of my favourites I studied and read again and again, Each time discovering new nuggets and understanding deeper.

1st where all starts :
The Power of Personal Storytelling, Jack Maguire
Why, how to find, how to shape, how to remember the story parts, embed it in yourself.
- the speaking champion Malachi studied it before going all the way up to Las Vegas
- the renewed education Ambassador and well known workshop leader is studying it now too

2nd, Improving your storytelling, Doug Lipman
About finding "MIT": The Most Important Thing. Explains a lot also of our links between the audience, the story and the teller and relative, different the importance at each telling. Also the different kind of audiences and evenings; the joy of reaching each time the "one" who does needed it.

from my Books for Public Speaking3 th Wired for story, Lisa Cron,
Explains, what we expect from stories. How to hook the reader, delving deeper in "why" we are expecting, why it is important to go deep. Not easy to reach all the goals the book talks abut, but explained clearly what we are "wired for", need from a story.

4rd speak like Churchill, stand like Linkoln by James C. Humes
Secrets of history's great speakers. Easy to read, great "power technique"s. First chapter for example is  "The Power of Pause" that I learned to apply and it does give great results.

5th the Story Factor by Annette Simmons,
Influence and persuade at work through the art of storytelling in the enterprise and workplace. Why, how and what kind of stories to give in companies.

6. Be a great standup, by Logan Murray, London. He is also great workshop leader, I did attend three of his workshops. For all budding amateur comedians, the book explains some important basics, with examples of how to develop a "comedian eye".

7. Standup Comedy, the book by Judy Carter, 
First ever book about standup comedy, some great techniques, basics on humour. She has a chapter on the importance of "top the punch", how to use the punch line and add another to it. Very effective!

8. The naked presenter, Garr Reynolds,
Presenting with or without slides, but opening up going deep into your story. Opening yourself to draw the audience into your speech and your point of view.

9. Resonance, Nancy Duarte
Present visual stories that transform the audience.

Another time, I will add three more book to the list. All these books I read and studied and re-read., they all helped me to progress and added to the total. I am still in need to study them again, as at every stage we understand differently.