Martin Johnston from rocknrollenglish.com joins Craig to talk about telling effective stories in English, how to avoid telling a boring story, how to be a good listener and how to eat spaghetti the Italian way.
Do Italians tend to eat spaghetti with just a fork?
Italy expert Martina Landwehrmann says,
“Absolutely not,” “Eating spaghetti with a spoon will, at the least, be met with double takes from locals. What’s even worse is cutting it with a knife. Etiquette dictates we only use the fork and the plate.”
Martin confirms that this is in fact true. It comes as quite a surprise to me, as I was brought up thinking I was quite cultured when I ate spaghetti with a fork and a spoon!
Two of Martin’s podcast interviews about storytelling:
The wonders of Storytelling with David Heathfield: https://www.rocknrollenglish.com/blog/279
Adrian Underhill Pronunciation and storytelling: https://www.rocknrollenglish.com/blog/irq3ie4b
How to Tell a Story in English: https://www.inglespodcast.com/137
1) Why are some stores and anecdotes boring?
- Too much detail
- irrelevant information
- monotonous delivery with no intonation
- not rehearsed and practised enough
Speaking slowly and pausing for effect make your story more effective.
Silence is ok. Learn to be comfortable with long pauses and silence.
2) What makes it difficult to tell stories in a second language?
- Lack of a range of grammar and vocabulary
- Inaccurate pronunciation can cause a breakdown in communication
- Using some local slang and colloquial expressions can make your story more effective and entertaining.
- Practise one or two stories or jokes until you know them well and feel comfortable telling them. This is what Adrian called a ‘performance piece’
- Tell your story to someone you know and get feedback. You may have a lot of disfluencies (uhms…, ers…, erms…y’knows..etc) that you are not aware of.
3) How can you be a good ‘active listener’ when you’re listening to a story in English?
Make eye contact, lean forward, nod, make noises like Uh-huh, Mmm..etc Repeat the last bit of the sentence – It cost me $70 euros – SEVENTY EUROS!
But above all, focus ALL your attention on the speaker.
Craig’s ‘Poo in the Classroom’ Story
Martin’s Teach English While You Sleep and Get a Massage’ Story
THE LEGEND OF THE TWO WOLVES – Native American Legend
Martin’s website: https://www.rocknrollenglish.com/
Martin’s Fluency via Pronunciation and Storytelling course: https://www.rocknrollenglish.com/fluency
Martin on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rocknrollenglish/
Martin on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rocknrollenglish
…and now it’s your turn to practise your English. Do you ahve any comments or questions about this episode? Maybe you have a suggestion for a future topic.
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In next week’s episode: Things Our Mum and Dad Used To Say