Logo for Story Circle Storytelling combines the intensity of a solo performance with the intimacy of a face-to-face conversation. "Storytelling at its best is mutual creation. Through the interaction between teller and listener, storytelling speaks to the inner child to nurture the human spirit." - Ellin Greene, author of Storytelling: Art & Technique.

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Facilitator Guidelines


What Does a Story Circle Facilitator Do?

Our Goal: the most stories and the most fun with the most courtesy and the least wasted time

The Facilitator:

  • Arrives at 6:50 in Colonie and 6:00 in Albany
  • Displays informative stuff, i.e. sample Talespinner, Goal Statement, brochures, flyers, publications about storytelling events, paper and pencil to write upcoming events for the Talespinner.
  • Has paper and pen ready for attendance and story sign-up sheets. Gives to each new arrival and makes sure it gets to everyone.

Sample Heading for Attendance Sheet
Name Address
(for first timers who will receive a sample Talespinner if requested here)

Sample Heading for Story Sign-up Sheet
Name Story Title Time Story Source

  • Sees that 12-15 chairs are in a circle
  • Greets each new arrival, welcoming newcomers
  • Begins at 7:00 in Colonie and 6:15 at Guilderland


  • Introduces self as facilitator
  • Invites each to give name and town and talk, in two or three sentences, about a topic selected by the Facilitator
  • Ask for any additions to the story sign-up sheet. We try to be sure that everyone who came prepared to tell and wants to get a chance. This is the time to find tellers who’ve missed the sign-up sheet. If we run out of time, this is the order to use
  • Introduces/explains the Process for Critical Response
  • Asks who would like to be first, next, etc. Maintains pace
  • Allows time for responses to each story as per Process sheet
  • Stops about 8:30 to allow for quick information exchanges or in September, January or May, THE BUSINESS MEETING
  • Makes sure each teller has written down name, story and source for the newsletter
  • End the meeting at 8:55 and invite everyone to exit the library by 9:00 sharp. We can linger outside to talk more
  • Gives the attendance sheet and the story sign-up sheet to the Newsletter Editor, Claire Nolan


The Facilitator ensures that the group follows basic understandings we tellers and listeners have come to through our years of trial and error:

  • No one reads a story. Sometimes a guest misunderstands and thinks we are a writer’s group. Our purpose is to TELL stories. Critiques need to be helpful, encouraging, giving positive support.
  • For stories longer than 20 minutes, a teller calls the facilitator ahead and “books” time.
  • Too many stories for the time? The Facilitator waits to tell his/her own story ‘til last or waits ’til next month. About 8:20, a consensus can be reached on who from the sign- up sheet will tell the last one or two stories.
  • Too few stories for the time? The facilitator may tell more than one story if she/he wants to, or may know a storytelling game, or invite ideas from the group. No one should feel responsible for telling all the stories on a night when there are few tellers.
  • Tellers need protection. To provide the best possible setting we avoid interruptions or writing during the telling. Early departures are between stories.
  • Fall in love with a story heard here? If you long to tell it too, it’s good to talk to the teller first to see how he/she feels about it.
  • Latecomers enter quietly, hold still, and are seated in the circle between stories. There is no time to introduce the circle all over again; you’re on your own.

Questions often asked by newcomers:

  • How do you learn to tell stories?
  • How did Story Circle begin? What are its goals?
  • A quick referral to to the Talespinner which lists workshops or to the Goal Statement (at bottom of Critical Response sheet) and/or your number for later. This keeps from taking time away from storytelling. Be fierce.