When I was first told about the “Story telling for change” seminar that my company held for employees I was mildly curious. The seminar was conducted by an author of a self help book, inspirational speaker and leadership coach.
the speaker is an interesting guy and certainly an entertainer. Even though I laughed loudly at many of his jokes, I had a feeling that he was far more entertained by his own jokes than anyone else in the audience. To no one’s surprise, the speaker loves telling stories, and it seemed to me that he was so amused by his own stories, that, just as he was about to start an activity he will announce part of the activity, then switch to tell a story that may or may not be related to the activity, and once or twice he even interrupted that story half way to tell another story that yet again didn’t necessarily relate to the activity nor to the first story. That being said he did for the most part make “a point” by telling his stories that related to the overall theme of storytelling.
I was told by the training organizer that the day was meant to be a light one, and I give it to both the organizers and to the speaker because they both achieved that successfully, but I wonder why? Why take that many employees out of their day to day productivity on the promise that they will spend time with a great coach to be better skilled in “telling a story for change” and eventually deliver a light-hearted entertainment with a few tips and tricks on how to tell a story.
A seminar on “Storytelling for change” in my view was a brilliant idea that was poorly executed. The company is going through a major shift in the way we do business, and more importantly in the way we enable our customers to do the things they care about most. With such change if I were the leader I would want my employees to 1) Get the story about the change, understand it. 2) Be able to Communicate it, both internally and externally. 3) Be able to drive change through telling the story (among other methods)
the speaker seemed in my view to want to achieve these results with the audience but I think his approach to it didn’t make it happen. I was one who stood up and shared a story that needed a change and instead of him coaching me on how I could tell the story, he started telling it (being in love with his own voice got in the way). Eventually he provided some boxes, with each one containing a component of a story, and asked us to fit the information we want share into the boxes so we can tell a story. An approach that I thought was merely a crutch for a limping storyteller rather than a rehab to help him walk.
The good news for me, I got a lot out of the day, just not what was intended from it. The entertainment was alright, and what I valued the most about this day is that I know a bit more on what I could do differently and what I wouldn’t do when I to conduct such training.
Thanks for reading.