Well I'm back to answering Jill's set of questions (see http://austories.blogspot.com/2008/03/value-of-stories-irish-connection.html). The short answer is that, like most storytellers, I use lots of strategies.
Probably one of the most important is to think well about the audience and guess what sort of stories and what sort of storytelling style they would like. I then attempt to provide stories and style while watching to see if it is working and changing delivery if necessary.
Young children, generally speaking, want to have fun and want to have their energy validated and matched so my storytelling style for young children is quite energetic right from the start.
Older children can find this a bit embarassing so I generally start in a more subdued style with them and gradually slide into more expression and energy. Generally speaking, I believe that all people, young and old, want their real selves (energetic, creative, intelligent, fun loving etc) to be validated. The majority of young children just don't have any 'distress' laid in that gets in the way of enjoying it yet.
So with young children, I will often start a storytelling show with some humour so they have a good laugh and so I can let them know that they can have fun during my show.
The other important part is picking stories appropriate for the age group. This usually means stories that mean something for them. This can be stories about where they live, either locally or nationally, or stories about important issues to them, for example, overcoming dangers (Three Billy Goats Gruff) or exploring boundaries (Three Little Pigs) or even stories about children their own age. Two examples of this last category which also fill some other needs are stories about my own childhood in Maroochydore and in Brisbane. One is about going fishing with my Dad and the other is an adventure with my first pet - a kitten called Socks.
It is interesting to note that although I can tell both of these stories to adults as examples of stories I tell to young children, older children really squirm if I attempt to tell them.
So there you go Irish Jill the answer is 'lots of strategies'.