Thursday, May 31, 2007
Connecting with the audience through storytelling
Last July, my wife and I attended the National Storyteller Conference in downtown Pittsburgh overlooking Fort Pitt and Heinz field. Other than being so close to where our favorite team, the Steelers plays football, we had a great time meeting storytellers from around the country and hearing not only their stories but what helps to make their stories so interesting to listen to, or what makes them good storytellers. It was the first time for us to attend a National Storytelling Network (NSN) Conference. After attending several of the workshops, we came away convinced that telling stories is an engaging and memorable form of communication. We decided to tell stories rather than presenting our work and vision through a progression of points. The first thing we did when we arrived home was to redo our 'presentation' by selecting stories that would communicate the same ideas. Having practiced weaving stories together at the conference, we wove together stories, some of which were ancient, some current and some from Vanuatu. The audience we spoke to knew us, but after this talk they commented that they had a much better idea of what our work is all about and what we hoped to do in the future. It was an 'aha' experience for me, as well as being somewhat humbling, in the sense that I thought we had communicated those same ideas several times previously. The experience was also somewhat exciting in that we received unsolicited and positive feedback and had a taste of connecting with our audience through storytelling.