Finding a great storyteller is a bit like dating: you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince

You’ve decided to hire a storyteller for your big event. Congratulations, you’re about to inject some wonder and whimsy into your guests’ lives. But hiring the perfect storyteller for your event is trickier than picking a font for your newsletter. Get it wrong, and you’ll end up with a dud who puts the crowd to sleep. Choose wisely, though, and you’ll be rewarded with belly laughs, misty eyes, and memories that last long after the final farewell. The key is to find a teller who fits your purpose, captivates your audience, and brings the right magic to your venue. Do that, and your event will be the talk of the town for years to come.

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Hey there, I’m Virginia Storyteller Wayne Jordan.

I regularly get storytelling inquiries from event planners. Most organizers have never hired a storyteller before, so they don’t know how much to pay them or how to prepare a storytelling program. I’ve offered the following tips so often, I decided to put them all into a video.

So let’s get started with

How to hire the perfect storyteller for your event

Hiring a storyteller or two for a big event could be a great move. A good storyteller can add a bit of wonder and whimsy to your event. Or motivation and inspiration, if that’s what you want.

storyteller
Hiring the perfect storyteller for your event is trickier than picking a font for your newsletter.

Choosing the right storyteller requires attention to detail

But choosing the right storyteller can be trickier than solving the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle. There are a lot of options, and a lot of details that must be considered. Leave out some steps, and your event could fall flat, and your audience might leave grumbling. Get it right, and everyone will be smiling and patting you on the back.

The key is to find a teller who fits your purpose, engages your audience, and brings the right magic to your venue. But in executing a successful program there is more to consider than just the storyteller.

In fact, there are three primary considerations when hiring a storyteller.

When all three come together, you’ll have a delightful event, and everyone will sing your praises. But, just like a chain, the event will only be as good as your weakest link.

First, (and most important), is your audience.

The second is the venue.

When you have a handle on the audience and the venue, then you’re ready to research storytellers.

Audience Considerations

Let’s start by talking about the audience. Who is going to hear the stories? Adults? Kids? Business people? A mixed audience? What do they have in common, and why are they there? What are there expectations? How do you want them to feel when they leave? Inspired? Entertained? Motivated? You need to know your audience thoroughly to find a teller who speaks to their values.

Make sure the storyteller’s content and style match your audience’s sensibilities. Don’t spend time creating a program until you first understand your audience.

theater
The strengths and weaknesses of your venue directly impact the type of storyteller you hire.

Evaluate the facility’s capacity, lighting, and acoustics

Next, let’s talk about your facility. The strengths and weaknesses of your venue directly impact the type of storyteller you hire. Small details like comfortable seating arrangements, good lighting, and clear sound contribute to an environment that allows the audience to be receptive to the stories.

So, look closely at the venue’s capacity, lighting, and acoustics.

Do your best to estimate how many people will attend, and have enough seats available. But not too many. Too much room is just as bad as not enough room. I recently told stories as part of a community event in a 300-seat auditorium. There were only 50 registrants for a diverse program, and most people sat in the back of the auditorium. So, between my position up on stage and the first row of people down in the auditorium, there was about a fifty-foot gap. Making eye contact was difficult. So if your auditorium is too big, block off the back rows with yellow flagging tape. Both your audience and your storyteller will benefit.

Find a storyteller who aligns with your venue and audience needs

Once you have a grasp of your audience and facility, you are ready to move on to the storyteller selection process.

Finding a great storyteller is a bit like dating: you have to kiss a few frogs before you find your prince (or princess).

Be persistent. Search Google for <storyteller in (your town of state)> With some strategic searching, you can weed out the warty amphibians and zero in on talent that will make your event a success.

Here are my suggestions for finding your perfect storyteller:

Look for storytellers who specialize in your type of event

First – and this is just common sense – look for storytellers who specialize in your type of event. If it’s a corporate gig, find someone who regularly spins yarns for businesses. For children’s events, find someone who specializes in children’s stories.

For mixed audiences, find an all-purpose storyteller who is comfortable with a range of ages and interests.

Watch them perform – either live or on video – to determine how well they draw in an audience, hold attention, and inspire reactions. Even though videos rarely show an audience, you should hear laughter or other vocal cues that indicate how well a teller’s stories are being received.

Don’t be dazzled by credentials alone

Don’t be dazzled by credentials alone. Like every other vocation, there is a wide range of skills among tellers. A teller with degrees, certifications, memberships, or awards may not click with your audience. Or they might be a hit. But the proof is in the telling, not in the credentials. Read a teller’s reviews and testimonials, and get references if possible.

Remember, your audience won’t be looking at resumes, they will be listening to stories. Some of the best storytellers I know are old-timers in the Blue Ridge Mountains. They are unschooled but very gifted storytellers.

Interview potential tellers, and don’t be shy.

Discuss their experience, material, and comfort level with your audience size, age range, and venue. Ask what stories they might tell.

Discuss your goals, your audience, and your venue strengths and weaknesses to determine if a teller is a good fit.

And then there’s money.

Don’t be shocked if a teller’s price seems high for a short program. Remember, a teller will have invested a lot of time in preparation, travel, and perhaps meals and lodging before they step onto your stage.

Negotiate the details

When you’ve found your storyteller, negotiate the details. Write everything down, and get all parties to agree. Your storyteller needs to know everything you know about your event, your audience, and your venue.

Also, you need to know everything there is to know about your teller’s strengths, weaknesses, and abilities.

Cover things like:

  • What time will the teller arrive?
  • What equipment do they need?
  • How long are thee sets?
  • How many stories will be told?
  • Are there restrictions on recording or taking pictures?
  • Who owns sthe intellectual property rights to the performance?
  • When does the teller get paid, and how?
  • What happens if the event gets cancelled?

Active storytellers usually have performance contracts that spell out all the details. If they don’t, you should ask them why. Not having a contract is a red flag.

audience clapping
The right storyteller will have your attendees laughing, crying, and connecting with complete strangers.

Your efforts will pay off

Follow these tips to find a storyteller tailored to your event, and you’ll be well on your way to giving your audience an unforgettable experience

The right storyteller will have your attendees laughing, crying, and connecting with complete strangers by the end of the night

A carefully planned program will have a positive impact on your audience, your organization, and your reputation.

To view a sample storyteller contract or download my “hire a storyteller” checklist on this page, or go to the link in the video description.

Thanks for watching. I’m Wayne Jordan.

Addendum: How Can You Get the Most Accurate Quotes from Professionals?

To enhance your request for obtaining more accurate quotes from professionals, follow these steps:

  1. Provide comprehensive details: Offer as much information as possible about your requirements. The more specific you are, the better professionals can understand your needs and provide accurate quotes. Include essential information such as specific project requirements, dimensions, quantities, preferred materials, and any other pertinent details.
  2. Attach relevant files and photos: If applicable, include any relevant files, documents, or photos that can help professionals understand the scope of your project. This can include blueprints, design sketches, reference images, or any other visuals that can provide clarity.
  3. Quality score consideration: Be aware that some platforms or services may assign a quality score to your request. A higher quality score can attract more experienced professionals, resulting in more accurate quotes. To improve your quality score, provide thorough and detailed information about your needs and respond promptly to any requests for additional details.
  4. Regularly update your request: If you receive any clarification questions from professionals, make sure to promptly respond and provide any additional details they might need. Regularly updating your request ensures that professionals have the most accurate and up-to-date information, resulting in more accurate quotes.

By implementing these steps, you can significantly improve your request for more accurate quotes from professionals, increasing the likelihood of receiving precise and tailored information for your project.

Hire Virginia Storyteller Wayne Jordan for Engaging, Insightful Stories

Wayne crafts stories with humor, insight, and surprises. He strives to capture listeners’ imaginations, pique their curiosity, and send them away smiling. Whether recounting a personal anecdote or spinning a fanciful yarn, Wayne Jordan’s stories are imaginative, thought-provoking, and just plain fun. His brand storytelling is insightful and motivating.

Need to motivate your team or inspire creativity? Wayne has tales for that.

Want to give your guests an unforgettable experience? Wayne will transport them.

Hoping to spark joy and connections? Wayne’s stories spread delight.

Carefully Crafted Performances

Wayne is a dedicated professional determined to please. He quickly reads his audience and venue, adapting his tales and delivery to suit the mood. Wayne can work a room of 10 or 1,000. No matter the setting, his engaging style shines through.

With experience telling stories at events of all kinds – corporate events, fundraisers, conferences, and festivals – Wayne will help you make your event memorable and meaningful.

So don’t delay. Book Wayne for your special event. His captivating stories are just what you need to spread a little magic. What are you waiting for? Adventure awaits — contact now.

That’s All, Folks!

So there you have it. Follow these tips to find a storyteller tailored to your event, and you’ll be well on your way to giving your audience an unforgettable experience. Don’t settle for any old tale spinner – get out there and hunt down a storyteller with passion, charisma, and the chops to work a crowd. The right storyteller will have your attendees laughing, crying, and connecting with complete strangers by the end of the night. What are you waiting for? The storytellers aren’t going to hire themselves. Get booking! The perfect story awaits.