I’ve been sharing a 5 Day Storytelling Experiment that you can try yourself, and this final piece is about ‘Story Listening’.
We are all expert social creatures, who have grown up in dynamic story environments: some stories that reinforce and amplify each other, others of which oppose and deny. Sometimes our stories carry compassion and certainty, at other times violence and doubt.
Every day we filter and sort the narratives that surround us: what is important, what is growing louder, what is fading away. We filter through various contexts: is this story told by someone ‘important’, will there be consequence if i respond, or fail to respond?
But in all this noise, we rarely stop to listen, and to consider how to recognise and learn.
People typically describe their key challenge as involving time: there is too much to do in our noisy environments, and not enough time. But what if ‘time’ is a proxy for something else? What if there is a specific competence around Story Listening, and what if it does not even take much time at all?
Where, and how, do you listen?
It’s also easy to just end up hearing loud voices, but can you hear the quieter ones that you may need to empower and amplify?
It’s always tempting to add to a story, to respond to it, but consider this:
- Can you listen, but not respond with certainty?
- Can you respond with gratitude, or respect?
- How would you respond to give pride?
- Do you know any good listeners? Are you one of them?
- Do you just listen to loud voices, or actively find weaker ones?
- What is hard about listening?
- Do you just listen to stories that you want to hear?
- How do you tend to respond?
- What is a quiet story that you have recently heard?
Feel free to share your answers below, and check out the previous four days of the experiment, and the experiences that people have shared.