I think we tell stories in two ways. The first is raw, natural, not consciously shaped or crafted. We tell stories this way to share our experiences, to be seen and heard, to connect, to have others bear witness and to try to integrate our emotions and thoughts and actions.
This is how we narrate our lives, but we often don’t give enough time, attention and safe space for this to happen. For this kind of storytelling, I like to ritualise the story sharing and witnessing process into a story council, or storytelling in the round. Regular gathering and sharing within an organisation builds trust, connection and wholeness. Hosting countless circles, I have been witness so the most incredible and deeply human sharing. In my experience we are desperately hungry for this way of being.
The second way we might tell stories is to intentionally craft our experience into a story shape, with a purpose and meaning that draws the story along, where we are in control of the story and the emotional expression embedded within it. Here we are tracking our stories to a shape that will engage: we reflect and gain insight, and we take responsibility for the impact of the journey we are taking listeners on.
For this I like to teach, workshop and coach to deepen understanding of story, develop the skills and experience the process. Then, because storytelling is a practice and we need regular places to tell, I like to host a series of ‘community’ storytelling events, within an organisation, which then develops community, shared understanding and connection. A win win.
Introducing all three of these processes, on a regular basis, embedding and teaching them as sustainable practices, cannot help but build an organisation that draws on the extraordinary and multifaceted power of storytelling, that begins to think and talk and imagine in embodied, engaging, emotional and very human ways.
If you’re interested to know more, get in touch.