Abe Lincoln Storyteller Radio Interview with Rich Peterson

Rich Peterson

During the congenial radio interview with (the redoubtable) Rich Peterson of KROC 1340 AM in Rochester, Minnesota, we touched on:

1) How to find good stories to tell, and;

2) What are the characteristics that comprise a good story?

My response (with some bells and whistles added after the fact) went like this:

Finding and preserving stories

 Stories can be found everywhere – books television, movies, church. Some of the best stories are the ones we hear from friends, or overhearing from other conversations throughout the course of our day. The stories are out there like apples on a tree, ready to be picked. The key is to remember them.

In my case, when I hear a story that I want to remember, I immediately write it down. If I’m in my house, I write it in a notebook or in my desk calendar. I also carry re-cycled envelopes in my pocket to jot down story ideas, when I’m outside the house. They are especially useful when I am taking the dog for a walk, or going to church. When I return home, I transfer the story to my notebook or calendar.

The next step is to “Lincolnize” the story, or transform the story so that it is no longer just “a story” but it becomes “your” story.

The Lincoln Storytelling Template

 Use this template to frame your story in the same electric style that Lincoln used to tell his stories. Follow Lincoln to reap the harvest of a typical Lincoln story and:

1.  Connect with your listener.

2.  Generate laughter.

3.  Enlighten your listener.

 Step One – Opening sentence

Segue from topic being discussed to the story:

“That reminds me of a when I  . . .” or,

“Let me illustrate that point . . .” or,

“Speaking of . . . one time I when I was  . . .  .”

 Personalize the story. Never start a story by saying “A man walked into a bar.” Instead say, “I walked into a bar,” or, “My friend, Frank, walked into a bar.” Just jump into the story without prefacing it with “Here’s a funny story” or “I heard a story the other day.”

Step Two – Tell your story with pizzazz

 Tell a story to illustrate your point:

 “When I tried to make telephone calls to the U.S. I had to wait a long time . . .  .” (From a Peace Corps story I tell).

 Become one with the story. Give each character a personality.

Step Three – Thought provoking conclusion

Wrap up with a moral or humorous twist:

“If you don’t shake every hand, you can’t talk to Aunt Fran.” (From the Peace Corps story).

Place this succinct message of the story into your final sentence.

He is a link to the Rich Peterson – Abe Lincoln Storyteller interview.


 FREE on Kindle only December 25!

“How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones.” Download

Reviews are appreciated!


Upcoming Presentations or Interviews on “How Abraham Lincoln Used Stories to Touch Hearts, Minds, and Funny Bones”

Dec 12, 2014, 6:15 am (Mtn. time) the indomitable Bob Schmidt, WLFN 1490 AM, Onalaska, Wisconsin. Listen in at http://www.1490wlfn.com/bs_with_bob_schmidt.html.

Dec 17, 6:10 am (Mn. time). Interview with the dynamic Dan Ramey, WBEX Radio 1490 AM, Chillicothe, Ohio. Web broadcast on http://www.wbex.com/onair/dan-mike-in-the-morning-3786/.

Jan. 2, 11:00 -noon (Mtn. time). Interview on the Morning Blend with hosts Tina Jennings and Maria Parmigiani, KGUN9-TV, Tucson, AZ.

Feb. 4, 2015, 3:30 to 4:30 pm (Mtn. time). Presentation to the Arizona Senior Academy. Tucson, Arizona.

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