On Thursday 28th May, 2015, I attended a Storytelling for Business workshop, facilitated by Helen Kuyper of 24-7 Storytelling. I first met Helen at the WBII (Women’s Business Initiative International) in August 2014 and you can read my previous blogpost here: The Power of Storytelling Event Highlights. The workshop that week built on the interest many of us at WBII had in learning more about how we could use storytelling in our business.
An expert in her field who travels the world sharing her knowledge on this topic, Helen hosted our group of 11 in her beautiful “Storytelling Studio” in The Hague, The Netherlands. We spent the day working through a series of interesting activities and models.
At the beginning, we all got a plain paper bag and had to write six words on it describing our business. We learnt afterwards about the power of a “six word story“. Attributed to Ernest Hemingway, this concept has a dedicated six word story website which demonstrates how incredibly diverse the combinations of just six words can be in telling a story. Particularly in this day and age of quick information and short social media messages, like tweets, developing this ability can be very useful. Mine was the same as my Twitter tagline: Love to share, connect, create, learn and teach. (Ok , it’s 8 words but close
Another activity was to develop our “story field”. This is a map of where we can go to source stories. We drew this out in various colours and shared with the group, adding in anything others suggested that we thought would also be useful to us. Here’s mine:
One of the many things that we were taught about storytelling is that it is a mixture of pre-planning for the specific situation and then being in the moment when you are actually telling the story. Understanding as much as you can about the audience and creating a clear goal and working backwards from here is the “intentional design” behind what may later seem like an effortless and engaging story if done well.
We all worked on an individual project we had in mind, which for me was about elearning. My goal was that “my network think of me when they hear elearning and social media ask for my input“. We wrote these on a large piece of paper in thick, coloured pens to make more of an impact in our minds.
You can take a look at the websites of the other attendees here:
- Lisa from Lemonberry
- Dymphna from Dymphna Business Assistance
- Vinita from Vinita Salome Photography
- Colleen from CJS Career Consulting
- Steffi from Stefanie Thomas Health & Performance
- Sinead from TpEBO
- Deborah from a hand in The Hague
- Natasha from Present Change
- Anne from Image and Style
- Lianne from Mevrouw de Vries
- Me! (Renee)
We enjoyed a lovely lunch in the sunshine at a nearby cafe. I really liked the set up of the studio, instead of having to sit still on a chair all day, we moved around and sat on cushions, or however we were comfortable.
A wonderful opportunity to learn about how important storytelling is for business from a master storyteller!
If you’d like to connect with Helen, you can do so via her website: 24-7 Storytelling.