Storytelling Experiment: Day 2 – Story Handles

Day 2 of our experiment: yesterday i asked you to consider the types of power that you use within your leadership. But power does not push stories through a system: often they are picked up and pulled. So we need to think about the types of ‘handle’ that a story may have, and the way it can be carried.

Story Handles

Sometimes a story can be picked up intact, and carried forward. This type of story offers no chance to ‘make it your own’. Formal stories shared by an Organisation, and cascaded down through the system are like this.

Other stories are full of holes…you can put something of yourself into them (perhaps something of the power you explored yesterday, like your Authenticity). You can actively consider the type of Story Handle you will build into a narrative.

Let’s consider four Story Handles:

1. Some stories provide you with an opportunity to ENGAGE: for example, this one! You can add your responses as a comment, so you have the clear opportunity.

2. Some stories invite individual INVESTMENT, they have space where you can invest your own personal narrative and dimension. For example, if we have a conversation about mental health, i may share a story about struggling with depression in my 20’s, and that may open up a space for you to share a personal story too. Disclosure of vulnerability is one way to create space, but there are others. For example, if i give you a story that you can share on to your team, by making it your own, then you may invest in it.

3. The ability to take OWNERSHIP is an important handle: if we have a conversation about cutting back on single use plastics, you can take direct action yourself, and make that story your own. Consider how this relates to ‘Authenticity’, when we looked at power yesterday.

4. Finally, RELEVANCE is an important Story Handle (and often sits alongside Timeliness – but i am only sharing four ‘handles’ here). If a story shows a clear and authentic truth, and is relevant to your activity now, it is safe to carry forward. But beware that this presents a risk as some stories are silenced because they are not immediately applicable.


  1. Do you create enough space in your stories for others to invest themselves?
  2. Do you feel you create structured opportunities to engage authentically (or do you seek conformity?)
  3. Think of a story that you have picked up recently, and consider the ‘handles’ that it carries.

Maybe you can think of different types of Story Handles? Leave a comment with your reflection, or comment, below.

About julianstodd

Author, Artist, Researcher, and Founder of Sea Salt Learning. My work explores the context of the Social Age and the intersection of formal and social systems.
This entry was posted in Leadership, Stories, Storytelling and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

16 Responses to Storytelling Experiment: Day 2 – Story Handles

  1. 1. Oh shame no i don’t think i ever even considered leaving space for others im my stories. I was craving an ear for my story, unchanged, uninterpreted, just as I said it. Not exactly engaging.
    2. Now whenever i am coaching athletes i do use stories in a more open way. I rely a lot on the investment handle. Relevance comes from the variety of small stories i offer. There you go. In these cases I actually “offer” stories. I like that idea. Offering stories 😊

  2. Ximena Valdez says:


  3. Andrea Alejandra Flores Contreras says:

    1. Yes i try to do that in a diferents context
    2. Some times i’m start in this process
    3.Alices adventures in wonderland

  4. Victor says:

    1.-Yes I really like when people put their own perspective on my stories
    2.-I want to believe that I create authenticity with my stories
    3.-The last story that I experienced was in the movie 2001 a space odyssey. That story is engaging since it’s first shot, not only that you also invest your time in it to try to understand what it all mean. That movie its quite an experience.

  5. memo9627 says:

    1.- I think that I create space to others to give me their opinion about my stories.
    2.- unfortunately I don’t create these types of opportunities.
    3.- Yes

  6. 1.- Yes, I work in preschool, so, all the time mi little kids add to the story their own ideas or experiences when I was telling a story.
    2.- Probably I seek conformity because I don’t think that I have the necessary experience to create this.
    3.- Maybe the ownership, because I think that I do this most of the time.

  7. Violeta Iridiana Navarro Lopez. says:

    1. I consider that is important that the other people give me their opinion about i write, because the this way i can to be better.
    2. I think that sometimes the text or content may be structure but is important that the other people is conformed according to their opinion.

  8. Wendy says:

    1.yes, always everybody can support your story.
    2.yes, the imagination aren’t us you must to share opinions.
    3. Recently in the festival of halloween in the school where I work as a teacher, I had a stand about “tell horror stories” but this case the students need to create and follow the story that I began to read…

  9. Pingback: Storytelling Experiment: Day 3 – Aggregation | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  10. Pingback: Storytelling Experiment: Day 4 – Amplification | Julian Stodd's Learning Blog

  11. mvera7 says:

    1. I think I have set aside the engage of others and I have not given enough importance
    2. think I do, but not enough
    3. I think ownership, I always do it and I think I talk a lot about myself and my perspective of things

  12. Danny Mendoza says:

    #1. I think yes because I have a lot of imagination and it could be useful for creation of a new story.
    #2 I can offer or tell my experiences and my risks,my victories more than a story can be experience to do.

  13. Ebed Barrón Ramírez says:

    1. Yes, when I tell a story I like to apart a little time to ear their comments about my history.
    2. Sometimes, but I think I need to do it more often.
    3. Alice through the looking glass.

  14. Adilene Morales says:

    1- lo ideal es crear para invertir, he aprendido durante mi practica docente que uno de los puntos que sin duda nos enriquecen…. es callar, para escuchar, y con esto pasamos de inmediato al tema de “invertir”, sin embargo no siempre es posible, ya que muchas de mis historias tienen como objetivo crear alumnos con una mentalidad critica, que tengan la capacidad de analizar el mensaje que quiere darse, y luego de esto, por supuesto, vienen los espacios donde se da la oportunidad de ahondar “se invierte” para verificar si el objetivo esta lográndose.

    2- como lo dije, hay espacio para ambos, definitivamente no puedo generalizar mi respuesta… se han presentado ocasiones en las que se presenta la conformidad, pero la mayoría del tiempo se busca la autenticidad para echar a volar la imaginación, la creatividad y descubrir a nuestros estudiantes.

    3. mis estudiantes de segundo grado de primaria estaban a punto de aprender un tema nuevo, considero que es de gran peso para ellos porque abarca mucho contenido… deseaba que trabajaran felices y que no pensaran ni un momento en lo dificil que tal vez podría resultar, así que decidí, contarles la historia de cómo por primera vez aprendí ese tema que estaba por enseñarles.
    Decidí sólo hablar yo, me apropie del tema porque mencionaba mil tecnicas que utlice durante mi proceso de enseñanza en aquel entonces, les conte una historia corta y reelevante de lo fácil que fue no sólo aprender el tema, sino de lo bien que me iba en los examenes, les platique de mis anecdotas graciosas, de quedarme dormida encima del computador a media noche por tanto estudiar, etc… luego les di el espacio de que me platicaran si alguna vez a alguien le resultó así de simple estudiar algun otro tema, les pregunte sobre las estrategias que utllizaron antes, etc…

    son niños, por lo que una de las cosas que hago, es cambiar mis tonos de voz, hacer movimientos exagerados, reír, motivar, conectar y alentar con el ejemplo siempre de que hagas lo que hagas, sea un tema nuevo, un pastel, la tarea, una historia por contar, o lo que sea… siempre vale la pena que lo hagas como desees, lo diferente está correcto, y más aun cuando lleva tu toque personal.

    Adilene Morales

  15. Juan David Zapata Zamora says:

    1- Yes, I think I create enough space in my stories. I believe that doing so, people can understand better what you want to transmit
    2- I feel I create opportunities to show my authenticity within the stories, because like this people and storytellers can enjoy and feel better what is being told
    3- A story I chose and told recently was a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, the name of the story is “the telltale heart”, and the handle I think it has is engage, for it lets you shape and narrate it the way you like

  16. jevsss says:

    1 of course because that is why we called to help others
    2 the truth a lot of the time not because i fall into conformity but i try to be original when i can

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