Two years back when I wrote a blog entry on storytelling a good friend asked my why I am not sharing stories. Good point I thought. I started to tell her my story on storytelling, how it all began and how I travelled through my storytelling experience. Through her question I discovered several phases and approaches in my storytelling journey.
It started with listening to stories
I love podcasts. Listening to an interview with someone from a complete different domain is a source of inspiration. Sometimes fragments of these stories accompany me for a long time. For example, the polished apple story: Marius Tschirky, a kindergarten teacher, explains how he as a kid was instructed to draw polished apples. For me the polished apples became a metaphor for going into detail, for loosing myself in details.
Collecting testimonials to make the report lively
My active storytelling journey in a professional context started about 10 years ago with an annual report of an NGO engaged in Africa, Asia and Latin America. I coordinated and facilitated the process. We asked for testimonials. These short anecdotes made the report lively and concrete. They were creating a red thread throughout the report.
Stories for sharing and learning
In knowledge sharing initiatives I supported, we didn’t call it stories or storytelling. Instead we shared experiences while we did collegial counseling, case clinics or during World Cafe discussions. Stories were the fabric that carried our learning and triggered our reflection. We also organized storytelling sessions with different project stakeholders. We asked about the most significant change they observed. The stories people shared were authentic and rough. We didn’t polish them. The meaning was in each anecdote and in the patterns we discovered.
And now I am doing digital stories. The process is reflective and fascinating; the product beautiful.
What is your storytelling journey? How did you become the storyteller you are?