Tell your story!

Homemade history tip: Getting the ball rolling

You like the idea of recording a favorite aunt or your grandpa, but how do you get things started? After all, most stories just seem to come out spontaneously, when the moment is right. How do you “get the ball rolling” without it seeming forced? Since you care enough about your loved one to want to make a recording, this part is actually easier than it might seem.
1. Start with sincerity, interest and respect. Let them know you want to record them because you LOVE their stories! Make your request with words and emotion which show you appreciate who they are. For some, it will be simple and soft-spoken. For others, it might include some ribbing. Demonstrate an appreciation for their personality and the words will soon flow.
2. Come prepared. Pick a story or two you have heard before and ask the storyteller about them. Also, pick a subject or two you have NOT heard about before, which you would like the storyteller to talk about. Preparation can open new stories when others are finished.
3. Shut up and listen! This, actually, can be the hard part. Remember, you are there to record the stories, not your comments or questions. Give the storyteller enough space to gather thoughts and continue after questions and pauses. Don’t jump in too much to “move things along.” Let it flow naturally.
4. React. You shouldn’t be interrupting with comments or questions all the time, but neither should you be silent. React honestly! If something is funny, laugh. If something is surprising, say “Wow!” Positive feedback will liven the conversation and help keep the stories flowing!

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