On Friday 17 June I attended a story-telling workshop with Simon Hodges of Words That Change in Amsterdam.
Simon hosts a regular meet-up group that I have been a member of for over a year, but this was the first time that I had been able to actually attend one of the long-form workshops.
There were 8 of us in attendance: a nutritionist, a designer, a chi gung instructor, a social activist, a DJ/Fashion creative, someone launching a new business an English teacher and a writer (me). Everyone with fascinating experience, keen minds and a real focus on being there on that day.
Simon’s technique is open and roomy, creating space for the telling of numerous tales from our pasts, who we were, who we are and how we work. This created an ambience here all of us as attendees discovered a lot about each other and ourselves as we tried out various stories an story telling techniques.
In many ways it is as if the most important things we learned were not about story-telling, but about each other, ourselves and our commonalities. But we also learned a lot about the stories that we tell about our work, and how to tell the best story about what we do in order to better understand it ourselves, and to make it more understandable to others.
This was a true workshop experience, where the attendees do the majority of the heavy lifting and Simon is there to prod, guide and inspire along the way. The biggest gain for me was a series of insights into my purpose as expressed in what I do, and the values hidden behind my own story about how I came to be here, now, knowing what I do.
Above all else, we all came to see how each story we tell also shares our values, embedded deep in the experiences and tales we relate, and to realise that its flavour/scent/essence will permeate each and every telling. These values are what we really offer from our business… not services products or training… but a value that our clients either resonate with or not. Becoming clearer about our own value and values makes it easier and more effective to talk about them and to make sure we create stories that are authentic to these values.
Different people, with 8 sets of experiences and objectives. There is no doubt everyone took something different away. But one thing we all shared was a magical few hours with remarkable people from whom we all, individually and collectively, learned a few extra things too.
I hope to keep in touch with everyone as there was a lot to be learned and still much that can be learned… here’s to the next one!