storying: your live oral communication

You have something to say, you want to say it live and publicly and, you want your message to be delivered with maximum affect1

You have a topic, one that you may or may not know well and a vast amount of information some of which is relevant and a good deal that in reality won’t be relevant to the live oral2 performance3 you are about to give.

The only other issue that is important is that you will be communicating your message or thoughts and ideas to your audience orally. A crucial point, as it will determine how you proceed.

So, where do you begin?

How do you create your content when communicating ideas live and orally?

What do you say about what you know; how do you select the ideas from all the available material and bring them together in one coherent message designed specifically for the oral form?4 

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, in his poem Kisses5 sets out in detail, step by step6 how content is created when ideas are being communicated live and orally; how ideas are gathered and arranged specifically for messages delivered using the oral form.

Cupid, if storying Legends tell aright,
Once fram’d a rich Elixir of Delight.
A Chalice o’er love-kindled flames he fix’d,
And in it Nectar and Ambrosia mix’d:
With these the magic dews which Evening brings,
Brush’d from the Idalian star by faery wings:
Each tender pledge of sacred Faith he join’d,
Each gentler Pleasure of th’ unspotted mind–
Day-dreams, who tints with sportive brightness glow,
And Hope, the blameless parasite of Woe.
The eyeless Chemist heard the process rise,
The steamy Chalice bubbled up in sighs;
Sweet sounds transpired, as when the enamour’d Dove
Pours the soft murmuring of responsive Love.
The finish’d work might Envy vainly blame,
And ‘Kisses’ was the precious Compound’s name.
With half the God his Cyprian Mother blest,
And breath’d on Sara’s lovelier lips the rest.

In creating an oral expression of his love for his fiancee Sara Fricker7, Coleridge describes how ‘Cupid’ (or indeed Coleridge) went about mixing the ‘precious Compound…’ that was to be ‘breath’d on Sara’s lovelier lips’.

Coleridge is storying thoughts and ideas that he plans to communicate live and orally to his audience – on this occasion, Sara Fricker.

The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary defines storying as – to tell8as a story9

@2016 Pamela Neil all rights reserved. Unauthorised use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from the author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Pamela Neil with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


  1. affect – verb trans. LME. 2. Move, touch, (in mind or feelings); influence; make a material impression on L16.
  2. oral – any reference to the word ‘oral’ in this article is referring to an ‘oral’ that is live; thoughts and ideas that are communicated live and orally to an audience and therefore un-editorable by a third party.
  3. performance – I use this term in preference to ‘speaking’ and ‘presenting’ because when you get up in front of an audience for any reason, you are performing.
  4. oral – adjective. 2. Uttered or communicated in spoken words; conducted by word of mouth; spoken, verbal; spec (of verse etc.) delivered or transmitted verbally, of or pertaining to such verse etc. m Cf. aural. E17. H. Belloc Fragments preserved or oral tradition. H. A. L. Fisher Information. derived from oral sources only was…fragmentary. Derivatives: orally – adverb – by, through, or with the mouth E17.
  5. Kisses, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, 1793
  6. titled, The Composition of a Kiss, in book, The Poetical and Dramatic Works of Samuel Taylor Coleridge with a life of the author, London: John Chidley, 123, Aldersgate Street, 1838. B Bensley, Printer, Phipps-Bridge, Mitcham.
  7. S T Coleridge substituted the original name of Miss F Nesbitt with ‘Sara’… to whom he became engaged in the summer of 1794. Samuel Taylor Coleridge, The Complete Poems, William Keach (ed), 1997.
  8. verb trans. Express (thoughts etc.) in words; utter (specified words); say. ME.
  9. utter (point 8. above) – verb intrans. a. Exercise the faculty of speech, speak. LME. b. Of words etc.: be spoken. L18

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