Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Exploring the Boundaries of Stories & Organizational Respect

How Can We Engender Respect & Attention With Our Stories?

I’ve always been fascinated with how stories connect with one another. For most of us who are not natural performers or orators telling a single big story in a compelling way seems daunting. I’ve noticed that most stories are more like snippets; small bits and pieces. Even when they’re not the flow of conversation between people or the impromptu opportunities that present themselves for sharing stories requires us to condense our stories.

Here are some questions I’ve been thinking about:

How do stories change when we need to collapse them?
How much can we condense or abbreviated a story before it loses its impact?
When we link several stories together (two or more in a rapid string)? How does that impact us as a teller? And what effect does it have on listeners? Can they follow us? Will it trigger stories for them?
I’ve been releasing short two minute video blog pieces where I have been experimenting with story richness. I’ve been playing with story forms (anecdotes, metaphors, visual metaphors, clichés, alluding to other personal stories without going into them, and references to well known stories or movies, etc…).

How do these “story forms,” enrich conversations and presentations and when do they detract? Are they still stories? Are these story skills more easily practiced by others because they might mimic natural forms of communication better? Can we be more mindful and aware of these forms of stories and by doing so become more effective at connecting with each other?
In my latest video I gave myself a hard challenge. I wanted to tell three stories in less than a minute and half and still have it be cogent, effective, evocative for others, and well connected to the front part of the video. I then further challenged myself by giving myself one take only. I turned the camera on and away I went. I had a mental schema in my mind and I had identified the stories but I had never tried telling them all together and I had never tried to tell them all in less than a minute and half.

Here’s the result. I’d love to hear people’s experiences and thought about the questions. Here's the short video to jumnpstart your reflections and our conversation...


Thank You!
Adding your stories and thoughts to this conversation is enriching for everyone.