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Storytelling: The Poesy of the Seanchai!

Updated: Oct 29, 2022

A storyteller; a raconteur; a griot or jalimuso. The most welcomed of visitors to the tiny hamlets of Ireland in ye olden days of yore was the arrival of the Seanchai.

These storytellers brought the villagers together in excitement and delight. Of all the skills and talents that a community shares and, in fact, needs, it is to hear and tell their stories.

These stories are often set to music as an early kind of blockchain to protect the words and the meaning that still resonates. Think about the nursery rhymes from childhood and delight in the fact that most can still remember them today. Think about your favorite tunes or those commercials that ring in your head over and again.

Today, we call this marketing. We prepare our content, materials, and presentations to share information; speeches written, notes jotted down. We record podcasts to discuss subject matter and gather opinions; we create videos on YouTube or reels on Instagram; we chat, we talk, and we tell each other what? Stories – lots and lots of stories.

The word seanchaí, which was spelled seanchaidhe (plural seanchaidhthe) before the Irish-language spelling reform of 1948, means a bearer of "old lore" (seanchas). In the Gaelic culture, long lyric poems were recited by bards (filí; filidhe in the original pre-1948 spelling) in a tradition echoed by the seanchaithe.

Not just in Ireland, these individuals existed in almost every culture worldwide. We remember Gandalf from Lord of the Rings and how he would turn up out of the blue and tell his stories of mystic lands far away from The Shire. You only have to look at the Bible, which is a collection of stories and learnings, the ancient incantations of the Benedictine Monks, and the cave paintings of our ancient ancestors.

Storytelling has been with us since the beginning of humankind.

Have you ever wondered why? Reading books, magazines and newspapers tell us stories, and we engage with them daily, yet there is something magical, captivating and intriguing to just sit and listen to a true storyteller. The art of storytelling imprints the message in our brains and stays with us far beyond the event itself.

To grow, expand and develop yourself, your business, or your community, learn to become a storyteller. You see, the power is not in the tale but in the delivery! It is not in the content but in the feeling the message sends. The strength of the story is not in the words but in the space between them – the silence – the gap – the gaze, and the deep and sudden inhalation! Anticipation of the next word; the feeling of complete focus; preparing your mind to comprehend what your ears are going to hear next.

Being in the moment is a powerful state of being and every guru has spoken of this wonder. When you truly listen to a storyteller you are in that magically, healing, mindful moment. Storytellers capture our imagination, provoke our thinking, settle our busy minds, and open doorways to new ways of seeing, understanding, and believing. A storyteller is a healer, and a giver of life in so many more ways than the content of the message or story.

If you want to move people; if you want to create change; if you want to cultivate growth and creativity, learn to become a storyteller. Listeners will gaze at you spellbound – be humble and honor their attention. You see, the strength of your gift and wisdom is not found in a book, inside an academic degree, or in the pouring out of fathomless knowledge or facts. It is in the alchemy of breath, pauses, eye contact, or soft hand gestures – each word framed in such art that it stands alone and imparts with, and sometimes without, sound.

To be the change you wish to see in the world, become a Storyteller!

And, if you really want your story told, hire a storyteller to share it for you!


Dina O'Reilly is 4xi's Strategic Partnerships & Growth lead - she works with clients who are seeking opportunities to improve, grow, and thrive. In addition to growth, Dina has a wealth of experience in several areas of business, from leading call centers and call center design to operations and project management.

Dina and the entire team at 4xi are here to help you drive positive change and impact. To learn more about Dina, download her BIO, or you can contact her directly at


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