I’ve been running a workshop all day today, touching on storytelling in learning. I just wanted to capture some of the elements that i covered. We looked at approaches to storytelling and thought about how the stance and style affects our engagement.
We are always invested in personal stories: i often talk about how we start small, sharing stories about ‘lovely weather‘, or ‘how was your journey‘, before graduating onto complex or contentious stories when we have established trust and purpose. Because stories are personal, we hold back if they contain reputational risk, or paint a picture of ourselves out of line with how we want that community to view us.
By moving the storytelling role around, we can avoid this: for example, instead of asking people to share a story of their success or failure, we can work in pairs and write (then present) someone else’s story. The content may be the same, but the process of co-creating it and the process of someone else presenting it from a different stance and style may make it easier. We could even shuffle them and anonymise them.
Stories evolve as we tell and retell them: they are iterative, honed over time. So instead of sharing a story once, we can look to vary the angle we are taking and retell it again. You could tell the story of a project from your perspective, from a third person perspective, from a client perspective and so on. The chance of perspective can help us interogate and refine the narrative itself.
This approach, taking different viewpoints, can help us uncover the meaning.
Stories are powerful, they are compact ways to convey meaning. It’s worth playing with them.