Stories are the threads that connect humanity – past, present and future. They give us a sense of identity, purpose and meaning. They are the magnets that shape the future. They are means to appreciate and release past cultural patterns.
Stories play a very important role in social change for three specific reasons:
- They are a form of deep connection.
- They are a means to generate creativity.
- They are a powerful influencer.
As leaders for change, it is our responsibility to improve our storytelling mastery – as connection, creativity and influence are key to catalysing movement.
Here are several ways to cultivate good stories:
1) Creating the conditions for sacred space. Sacred space gives people the permission and safety to tell their story. Form a circle. Invite a talking piece. Respect confidentiality.
2) Cultivate the conditions for good listening. Listening is half of the story of the story. Notice, what are your barriers to listening- Physical, judgemental, emotional?
3) There are multiple stories – there is no one right story. So appreciate everyone’s special story and the intention and meaning behind it.
4) What is the intention for your story -Connection, influence, entertainment, inspiration? A good story has a beginning, middle and end. Simple! What is your storyboard of 4 nuggets?
5) Tell your story vividly – as if looking through a video camera. What happened from a sensory point of view – sounds, smells, dialogue, weather, colours?
6) Don’t interpret feelings for your listeners- let them do that themselves as we all have different perspectives. Show, don’t tell.
7) Timing, pace, movement – good stories have turning points, juxtapositions, twists.
8) Practice, Practice, Practice!
Links to some great storytelling coaches:
http://www.narativ.com/ Jane Nash and Dan Milne
http://hermesconsulting.wordpress.com/ Geoff Mead
http://www.getsoaring.com/ Mary-Alice Authur