Campfire story

This lesson will:

  1. Reinforce what we learned in the previous lessons about making a clear point and sticking to it
  2. Teach you why stories are valuable in human communication.

Stories are one thing that happened one time (usually to one person). Stories persuade the audience emotionally and paint a vivid mental picture that helps the audience understand and remember the point. A story is one example of the point you’re trying to make. A general explanation about what usually happened is not a story.  Try starting the story (after you’ve said the point) “On one specific day…”

Why stories are important to communication? Stories paint vivid mental pictures, appeal to emotion, hold the audience’s attention, are remembered better than statistics or “facts,” and have been used throughout human history—Greek Myth, The Bible etc.

You will tell one of your favorite G-rated stories. It must start and end with a clear, single, simple point. The “moral” of the story you tell must be the point that you state at the beginning and the end. Don’t let the story stray from the point. You will use descriptive language to paint a vivid mental picture in each audience member’s mind.

Outline the story on a piece of paper or in a word processor. (Just a few quick notes will do.) The story can be, fun, interesting, exciting, scary, or inspiring. It should be about three minutes long. Do your best to be very descriptive, detail-oriented, and try to paint a clear mental picture. The story will be graded on how fun, interesting, exciting, scary, and/or inspiring it is. HAVE FUN WITH THIS—THE SCORES WILL BE HIGH.

There will be very low light in the room, and we will be sitting in a circle. Jotting down the main parts of the story is a good exercise—it will help you get the story clearer in your mind. But remember, you may not use notes. Know the story and your point well enough that you can tell it informally without notes. This should feel very informal–like you’re sitting around a fire with your friends telling a story.

Type out the basics of what you said in class as you told your story and submit it as an MS Word file via Blackboard.

EXAMPLE:

Carissa Weigand
8/28/2016
Oral/Interpersonal Comm
John Norland

Campfire Story:

It’s often easier to make the wrong decision than it is to make the right one. Presley is a three-month-old Basset Hound puppy. Presley has recently grown out of being the clumsy terrified of everything puppy into the always looking for adventure puppy. She has finally figured out one of her talents, sniffing. A Basset Hound’s sense of smell is only 2nd to a bloodhound. They literally can smell anything, especially food! Presley has also enjoyed her adventures outside. We live on a farm with some cattle, a goat, and a few farm cats. One day Presley decided that she wanted a new adventure, one that involved a corn field. She didn’t know it at the time, but I was watching the entire time, amused at her sudden impulsive decision. Presley began walking in the field until she turned around and realized that she had no idea where she was! She was lost and her great idea turned into a not so great idea. After only a short time (a few minutes) Presley did the second best thing a basset can do, she began howling. Fortunately, she didn’t get very far, and I was not too far behind her. I was able to pick her up and bring her back to the porch. Presley learned that she shouldn’t wander into unfamiliar territory alone. She learned that it’s often easier to make the wrong decision than it is to make the right one.