Doug Lipman
“What Storytelling Can Teach Us About Creating Connection”
TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside
Thursday, December 21st, 2017
Delaware Historical Society

Doug Lipman, TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside, TEDxWilmington, Wilmington, Delaware, TEDx

I was accepted for TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside only 3 months before the event. By the time I had a solid draft of the talk, only four weeks remained. From that point, I wanted to give the talk to live listeners at least 30 times, to be sure of it – and that meant averaging one listener a day!

Sure, I could tell it over Skype or the telephone to individual listeners, but where would I find thirty helpers who could fit into my hectic schedule? 

Who Should I Ask? How?

I felt shy about asking for this help. Sure, I was used to trading listening time with other storytellers, but with this short time frame, I needed one-way help. Who did I dare to ask?

In the end, I asked…everybody. All my previous students from online courses. All my previous and current coaching clients. Even all the members of two storytelling email lists.

I created a Doodle poll with my available times, then emailed the link to it to all those folks. But would anyone sign up? If not, how would I get the practice I needed?


The first day, over 10 people signed up. Soon, my biggest problem was handling the logistics. 

At one point, I sent another email asking for folks to fill in certain dates that weren’t covered. Within a day or two, I had filled up all the spaces. I ended up booking helping listeners for nearly every day until the talk! 

But I Still Needed More!

As the talk began to solidify, I realized that I had two needs that still weren’t met:

    1) I needed to tell it to some in-person groups, so I could block out where to stand for each part of the talk;

    2) On the home stretch, I would need to tell it more than once a day.

More emails. More willing helpers. I was able to schedule five in-person sessions at my home in Western Massachusetts and three-to-five distant listeners a day during the last week.

All in all, I told the completed talk 54 times before the event, to folks on four continents!

They Thanked Me

When I first thought of this plan, I thought I would have to beg unwilling helpers to listen. Instead, listener after listener responded to my thanks by saying that they were honored to help and grateful to be included.

Three of Doug Lipman’s books have received national awards. In 2017, he received the highest award for storytellers in the United States, the National Storytelling Network’s Lifetime Achievement Award, “for sustained and exemplary contributions to storytelling in North America.” READ MORE

TEDxWilmingtonSalon: Fireside // Thursday December 21st 2017 // Delaware Historical Society