What’s In A Story?

Well, it’s Friday and I’m sat in the airport watching the world go by as I wait for my flight down south to see some friends. I love people watching and wondering about their lives, what they do, where they are travelling to, whether it’s business or an exotic holiday somewhere. For me, this isn’t an act of comparison… I guess I’ve always been inquisitive, even as a child… some people call it curious, or nosey, but I love meeting people and hearing their stories. We all have a story to tell.

It’s so true, how often do we long to tell people our stories, but fear we are being a burden or that it’s irrelevant?

Why do we tell stories? To bond with other people and create empathy and a sense of anti-anxiety, through story, we form friendship and connection. Through story children learn and form their imagination and develop their creativity and desire to tell their stories without inhibition, it’s only as adults we begin to lose that.

Last week, we had a staff development week at work, I managed to go along to a few sessions and one of them was about Storytelling led by Sandie Miller a Communications Consultant. She led a practical workshop on the importance of storytelling if we want to have an impact on people or influence them, whatever role we find ourselves in (whether that’s in work, at home, as a creative etc.) Story is one of the most effective ways to influence people as it captures attention and conveys passion.

The workshop was engaging and interactive, we learned about the four structures stories tend to fall into, then we got into small groups and had 1 minute to tell a short story about ourselves. I learned some interesting things about my colleagues.

After some explanation of the seven ingredients for excellent storytelling, we did some breathing/visualisation exercises (not weird things, just to help focus) and vocal exercises to help connect with and get used to the sound of your own voice (Nobody likes the sound of their recorded voice by the way) which made me reminisce over my youth theatre days at PACE  and realise that I miss doing drama and music… maybe someday I’ll think about taking it up again when I have some time.

Despite having worked as a Stylist, Youth Worker, Community Development Worker and Lecturer (and many other roles) over the years, I still don’t really like public speaking… This workshop gave some great strategies for building your own confidence (think power posing – standing like Wonder Woman/Superman for 2 minutes… before going to a meeting… it works! Although maybe don’t do it at your desk or your colleagues might think you’ve lost it!) and using story to connect with people. Our final activity was to share in one minute something we are passionate about. It was great to hear colleagues share their passion… something we don’t often get to do in the workplace as we get so caught up with what needs to be done.

If you’re ever looking for someone to deliver a session on storytelling or communication, I would highly recommend contacting Sandie, her experience at RADA and through working as an actress and in the corporate world enable her to really engage any group.

Will you be brave enough to share your story with someone? I’d love to hear something that your passionate about. Feel free to comment below.

Hope you have a fab weekend.

Gill x

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