If stories can incite an audience to action, then how do we go about getting our stories? Janice Elsheimer in her book, “The Creative Call,” shares the importance of keeping a “day book.” I can identify with her sharing that our journals can be our companions and confidants during the most important times of our lives. “Writers can use their daybooks as a source book for ideas, images, characters, dialogue, and plot for other writing…”
Jeanne Robertson, a professional speaker who specializes in hilarious humor based on her life experiences, in a session she conducted at the National Speakers Association entitled, “Don’t let the funny stuff get away: turn everyday experiences into speech material that audiences will remember” suggests “jotting down” when something happens and writing up as soon as possible so the stories can materialize. Indeed, Jeanne Robertson is a consummate story teller herself and is described as “the aunt you can’t wait to talk to at the family reunion, who always has a new story to tell that keeps the whole family in stitches. (The Carlisle Theater, Carlisle, PA). Read more about Jeanne at her website at http://www.jeannerobertson.com/
Have you ever gone to a meeting where the meeting leader just shared facts and figures? What do you remember from that meeting? Perhaps you were able to capture the information but were your emotions stirred? Were you excited to go act on the information?
Daniel Goleman in his books on emotional intelligence (Emotional Intelligence, Working with Emotional Intelligence) suggests that it our emotions that guide us and propel us to pursue our dreams.
Next time you are leading a meeting, think about how a short story, anecdote or real-life example can “flesh” out and bring life to the facts that you are relaying.
Another benefit of stories especially telling and hearing stories from others is that stories connect us with each other. Certainly our lives are a story and we can learn a lot about ourselves, and others, by ‘telling and listening” to stories. By listening to stories, we are providing a safe place for work colleagues, friends and family to be who they really are! By telling our stories, we provide people an opportunity to get to know ourselves better.
Who in your life can you ask to “tell you their story?” There are hundreds of people in rest homes with real-life stories who just need someone to listen to them. Who can you tell your story to? There are people who desire an opportunity to get new glimpses into your own life.
Each of us has a story. Each of us is a story. Who will you share yours with?
Let’s talk about what a story is. In an essay entitled, “Praise of Stories,” Daniel Taylor writes, “A story is the telling of the significant actions of characters over time. Each element is important, both in the stories of literature and in those that shape our own lives. Remove or fail in any of these elements and you no longer have a story.” As Mr. Taylor says, “The central things that happen in important stories don’t happen to a character, but within a character. This is why significance is part of our definition of stories – the telling of significant action. Most writers on stories would agree that the best stories are about morality, values, and choices that we can relate with.
So stories are the telling of significant journeys with meaningful characters whose principled choices help us see ourselves.
Think about the stories you cherish. Did they not stir something within you? I would venture to say that stories can ignite us to think about things in new ways, ignite our spirits and emotions to actions, and enable us to see ourselves.
If you are feeling stagnant in your career or life…if you are desiring a boost to your service to your customers…if you feel the need to get out of your rut…if you are looking for new perspectives… I would encourage you to read a story.
“Tell me a fact and I’ll learn. Tell me a truth, and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” -Indian Proverb from Marlo Thomas & Friends, The Right Words at the Right Time
From the time we were small; stories capture our imagination and hearts and can ignite us to action. As a professional speaker, I know first hand the incredible power of story telling and have been enthralled by speakers through the years who were able to – through their choice of words and delivery style, catapult me on a roller coaster ride of emotions, imaginations, and engagement.
But I have come to believe that story telling is not just reserved for those of us in the communication industry (speakers, writers, entertainers, or authors). The ability to tell a story can help anyone gain more persuasive power, be a more influential person, and gain credibility for your idea. The next 5 BLOG postings will help unveil the mystery of stories, how reading and telling stories can expand your mind to new ways of thinking and seeing the world, and how stories can make you a better influencer no matter what your job or life role.