Double Presence

While you are telling your story, you must be aware of the reactions from your listeners. 

Historier under Bøgen, storytelling in Kings Garden, Copenhagen, 2009.

I am at the 2002 Lejre Storytelling Festival. I am telling stories outside a farm cottage area. There are about eighty people sitting in the sun listening to my stories. Steve Denning, former Director of the Knowledge Management at the World Bank and at that time a world wide renowned expert in Business Narrative, stands at a bit of distance. I can feel that there is a good flow in my stories and I start my storytelling interaction dance with the audience.

When I am done, Steve comes over to me. He tells me I am a completely different person when I am telling stories. I protest, I am not playing any characters. Then he laughs and says that I am being touchy.

He says that my presence transforms into a double presence. On the one hand I was very much aware of every single member of the audience, how their breath changed, how their eyes changed into a concentrated listening mode. On the other hand I was also present in the story, how every single character in the story was clear for me, how landscapes were shaped in seconds.

This interaction between the presence of the audience and the present of every single aspect of the story, is what we call “The Double Presence”.

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