Blog /Telling our Stories for Impact: 120 Seconds to Change
During this year's CASRA conference I attended "The Healing Power of Stories: the Basics of Storytelling" workshop. I really hoped that workshop leader Bobbi Fischer would reveal a fresh approach that I might be able to share with our PEERS’ speakers’ bureau, Lift Every Voice & Speak!, and further empower our presenters.
At the beginning of this workshop, Bobbi laid out a framework in which a storyteller defines the parameters of the story he or she intends to tell. The idea is to identify and capture all key facts and details in writing first. That way, once the storyteller begins speaking, he or she is freed up to connect with listeners heart to heart. The key details include who the intended audience is and what specific impact the speaker wishes to deliver, and ordinary specifics about their story such as who, what, where and when.
Initially, I listened with both hope and doubt as Bobbi led us through a two- page worksheet. Still dubious as Bobbi shared an emotionally compelling personal story, I was moved to a state of awe and excitement during the second half of the workshop as, one by one, participants from the audience stepped up to use their notes on their worksheets and opened up to speak. The workshop participants shared powerful stories of recovery, hurt and healing, dreams, and visions being fulfilled. Each one spoke with clarity and conviction, each one speaking directly from the heart.
What I really loved about this approach is that it is not just for members of our speakers' bureau. Every one of us is a storyteller for the cause of creating welcoming communities free from stigma and discrimination. Every time we go to a meeting, ride in an elevator or stand in a line--we have the opportunity to share our personal two- minute “elevator story.” Let’s all plan ahead to fully use the power of direct contact!
If you want to tell your story, think about your intention ahead of time. Think about the pertinent facts. If you’d like a copy of Bobbi’s worksheet, please e-mail me at email@example.com. Let’s prepare ourselves to speak truth for change. Once you’ve walked through the steps, then take a deep breath, open your heart and let your voice do the rest. We are a powerful force for wellbeing and inclusion. We are the change!