Do Storytellers tell stories (or just tell others to do so)?

As advisor in communication and the Storytelling technique in business, I often get the question whether I tell stories myself or only tell others to do so in my workshops.

A very good question and I have to admit that I had lived mainly on the strong feeling and believe in myself that I did, but never recorded it for myself.

So, in the last couple of weeks I have been following myself and yes, fortunately, my feeling was right, I do live life by telling stories rather than following bare facts & figures.

Example 1: Today at my meeting with my tax advisor I realized clearly that it may be the figures that steer my business somehow, it are her stories about other her other clients, entrepreneurs, she shares with me that motivate me to do better and give me energy to stay focused.

Of course she does not give names or concrete details about her clients, but that does not matter. These are true anecdotes and  give a flavor of recognition for me that I am not the only one facing ups and downs in keeping my business going.

Example 2: Last week my son had a little less pleasant encounter with one of his football friends in the changing room. There was a bit of banter and he was in tears. Rather than giving him the general textbook information that team friendships come with ups and downs and that he should not worry, I asked a couple of other parents for stories of their children who experienced similar situations in the changing room.

That evening, just by telling one story about another team mate that had faced a similar situation, my son’s faced cleared up and his confidence and trust in himself was restored within minutes.

So, do I tell stories? Yes! My life revolves around on listening and telling stories. It is the recognition I find in the emotional, more personal, information that I am looking for.

Unfortunately, I do not come from the generation that storytelling was popular. I would have loved to study History, was good at it, but it was said then, 20 years ago, that there would be no jobs for historians. So I focused on politics instead, because it was a save ‘industry’ and one would always have a job. Well, looking at it today and the public spending cuts, it was not much of a better  choice … But that is a whole other discussion.

Last month, I joined MothUp Brussels and made my debut with a story about diaper smells and Pamper bottoms. A story with a lot of personal emotion – and smell – since I am a mother of four and will have changed over 15.000 diapers by the time my youngest is three.

All in all, I am practicing storytelling in public as much as I advice others to do. A healthy base for a successful client-advisor relationship.