Storytelling for change

We all have a story to tell and I want to let you know about a course that helped me dig deeper into storytelling.

Everyday you will find yourself talking to people, asking them to do things, trying to initiate change, working hard to get your point across and wanting people to do or think about things differently. At times it must feel like you are getting nowhere, no-one is listening and nothing changes!

The Storytelling for Change course is an achievable and practical course that will give you a new way of looking at this challenge. The course is run by Acumen - a company I hadn't heard of until I came across this course - but is one of those really cool sounding companies. Just take a look at their 'about' page. The set up is all online. You can do it alone or form a team. There are 'soft' deadlines for each module and your work is uploaded for the international class to see. You can comment on other's work, get feedback on yours and join in online discussion about the topics covered.

I thoroughly enjoyed the course. It gave me practical tips I could implement straight away and created a new connection for me with the small (2 people) team whilst giving me some personal insights into my journey so far. I spent a very creative weekend painting and exploring new ways of looking at my stories and gained a great deal by reflecting with others on their work.

The course uses a model called Presence to build techniques to improve how you tell stories that can generate change. It uses skills taught to actors that are passed onto you to put into practice and asks you to find a specific place or time to try these skills out.

Sometimes reality is too complex. Stories give it form.
Jean-Luc Godard

So what did I learn and what can you pick up straight away? Here are my top tips for storytelling.

Put your story into the present tense.
Using a story is a great way to illustrate a point or to spark engagement in a topic. Just turning that story from the past tense to the present is a powerful way of bring your audience with you.

Think about your audience
There is a great worksheet that the course provides that really forces you to focus on your audience.  Working through this I was really able to consider who I would be presenting to and what my goal was for the session. What did I want them to do, feel or understand. This helped me frame what I wanted to get out of it as well as what I wanted them to get out if it. This technique works for presentations but also for meetings and team conversations.

Use your expressiveness
Your gestures, your facial expression, your tone will all bring your story to life, making you memorable and engaging to whom you talk too. Using descriptive words, sounds, smells, feelings also brings everyone into the story. They want to follow what you are saying and will be keen to hear what else you have to say. All these pointers help you reach your goal and create the action or change you desire.
Have I sold you yet?
There was heaps more to this course than I can sum up for you so if I have tempted you, the course is running again in April. Did I mention it was free! Sign up here.

This whole email may have sounded like a sales pitch but there isn't anything in it for me by recommending this course - other that spreading the skills that I believe can make a difference in healthcare.

I've been browsing the other courses and I'm signed up to a couple more starting later in the year. It would be great if any of you wanted to join me in doing these. Both of these are free courses.

Networking Leadership 101, starting in April
Adaptive Leadership, starting in May