Finding stories is all about remembering experiences. That is the wise advice from Anecdote: Notice when someone tells something interesting and on the spot make a mental note, later add the story to your story bank. After 5 months of more consciously spotting stories I observe that I pay indeed more attention when someone goes into story-mode. My little story booklet is full of little anecdotes.
So noticing and then capturing a story is an effective way forward. But sometimes we haven’t taken notes and the stories are forgotten.
A colleague told me on the phone the other day that she filed all her job applications, letters, CV, even handwritten notes. She mentioned: “It’s maybe a bit old fashioned but really helpful. Flipping through the files brings forgotten memories back to life.”
And she is right. Remembering events, places, people, times does the trick. Thinking about where our memories are stored is a good starting point. Flipping through the family photo album or listening to songs from past times brings memories back. Also places carry memories or things that we cannot throw a way because they are full of memories (a love letter, a souvenir, a special coffee cup). What happened then? Who else was there? How did I feel?
There are more structured options we can apply in a workshop setting to guide participants to dig out stories:
Ask participants to draw a timeline and to think about events, places, people, and milestones. By going back jointly to key moments the group will dig out bits of stories.
An inspiring question or writing prompts guides participants into past experiences. Creative writing also works with pictures. What family photos do any picture can do: Evoke stories.
#3 Appreciative Inquiry interview
Invite participants to pair up for an Appreciative Inquiry Interview. A short interview guideline will help them to dig out key moments when they felt fully alive and inspired. Attentive listening supports the reflection. You can find examples of interview guidelines on the portal of Appreciative Commons.
#4 Story circle
Storytelling needs both storyteller and listener. No story without storyteller and no storytelling without listener. That is why sharing stories in a story circle is inspiring.
#5 Go for a story walk with your story buddy
Often our thoughts start flowing when we walk and talk. We can talk ourselves into story mood when we go for a walk with a story buddy. We start with asking questions; and slowly we slip into storytelling.
#6 Draw and talk
This is the same principle as with the walk and talk.
#7 Make a list
The point is = the importance of noticing.
Write down stories
Take some time for making notes of the stories else they will evaporate.
How do you remember stories?