The art of story-telling is a valuable asset to any speaker. Good ear perception is necessary to get a new story when you hear it, and a keen, retentive power to hold it. The impression must be accurate and intense in order really to get the point of the story so well that you are able to tell it.
The ability to tell a good story, and tell it well, is an art in itself. He who would excel in this must first of all train his aural memory to grasp a new story when he hears it, to grasp it instantly, vividly, accurately. He must catch it ” on the fly,” for he may never hear that story again. He must stamp it so indelibly on his brain that he can reproduce it.
Unless he can recall the progressive steps of the story as it moves forward to its climax, he will make a complete failure when he tries to tell it. Especially is this true if his memory is hazy about the final point.of the story, for without that, the whole structure falls flat.
There must be something about humor which relaxes the mind and throws the memory off guard, for it is undoubtedly true that a humorous story is one of the most difficult things to remember. When you hear one that you consider to be worth repeating, analyze it carefully at the time. Note the introduction, watch for the progressive steps of development, and give particular attention to the climax, or ” nub ” of the story, as Mark Twain used to call it. If you miss that, you are lost.
A good story is told of a certain man who was very much pleased with the result of a series of lessons in memory-training. He said, ” I am so much benefited that there are only three things now that give me any difficulty. I can’t remember names; I can’t remember faces; andandandI have forgotten the third thing I can’t remember.”
Possibly,it was a humorous story.