Sharing Personal Stories

Man telling a storyRecently we delivered our ‘Buzzing With Ideas’ speech for a Lions club in a back room of a restaurant.

We were warmly welcomed by the 17 members there, as we usually are when we deliver our speeches to service clubs such as Lions and Rotary. Sue and I shared the podium for this speech as we normally do and there was a poignant moment when we asked the members to turn to the person next to them and share stories of their best experiences.

Some of the stories that came out of the conversations were powerful and inspiring. It’s something we regularly experience in our speeches when we get people to share their stories. We find that it’s people’s stories that often reveal insights and potential answers for the way forward.

We’ve used the story sharing exercise with all kinds of audiences in schools, corporations, community organisations, Councils and the government sector –  with the same results. Moments that capture a feeling that deeply resonates with the story teller.

Sometimes the stories shared reveal an aspect or experience of a person that was never known before to the group. Even though the two sharing the story have known each other for years.

We know how personal some of the stories can get so we always invite people to share their stories with the group. Those that do volunteer often have something in their stories to inspire, make people laugh or nod their heads in agreement.

And the great thing about getting people to share their stories is that we tap into the group’s wisdom and experience. So often ‘experts’ are called in to solve problems and miss the stories that really matter to people – the stories that often provide insight to a particular issue within an organisation.

That’s why we don’t go into organisations and ‘solve’ problems as ‘experts’. We go in to listen, to facilitate and allow people the space to share the stories that matter to them and to their organisation.

Oh, by the way, the meal at the Lions Club meeting was great.

Particularly the ‘pumpkin’ soup, but that’s a another story I’ll share with you sometime.

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