I can’t tell a joke, let alone a story; however, I do appreciate the talent and effort required to do both effectively, and I strive to make myself a better storyteller (practicing as I read my daughter books): it’s something I’d love to be good at.
Aaron Shepard’s Storytelling Page has some great advice for storyteller wannabeez:
The Storyteller understands and appreciates the world of the folktale. It is a world of external action and concrete symbol. The story is presented in bold strokes, with little descriptive detail, and language must be simple, direct, and lively. Characters seldom have names, but if they do, the names are the most common possible, or the most magical. Though the structure is sometimes complex, it is almost always linear: first this happened, then this, then this.
Stuart McLean (who has a blog that he hasn’t updated in a long time) is a well-known Canadian storyteller (if you listen to CBC) who has a national radio show called The Vinyl Cafe. He tours Canada (and maybe the U.S.) with his brand of storytelling and WWR-style musical entourage.