At last week’s workshop, the participants not only improved their storytelling skills but found a safe place to share thoughts and feelings with everyone.
“Storytelling is powerful. If multiple people co-create a story, even more so. If multiple people collectively listen to a story and share what they heard, paid attentions to, and got inspired with, wisdom will be harvested.” Naho Iguchi, NION Co-Founder and Chief Community Catalyst
I had the pleasure of attending my first NION workshop on Story Harvesting. The event began with a brief introduction and “check in”, which I found helped to set up the atmosphere of the space. Since we would be telling personal stories, this activity allowed for the community to open up, even if only just a little bit.
The three act structure of a story
The workshop then moved on to a highlight of the Storytelling Structure. The three act structure – set up, confrontation, resolution – is a common structure among stories, across all different mediums of storytelling.
Set up, represents the place at the beginning of the story, when a storyteller describes the background and the characters; the setting of the tempo. It’s the time before the actually telling of the story that makes it so the listener has context in order for them to have the ability to understand the story. Then there is confrontation, which is the point in the story where the protagonist is confronted with a problem for which this must overcome. And finally, resolution, the part the ties the whole story together.
After explanation of the structure of a story, we dove into the first exercise. Each person initially was given 20 minutes to tell a story and then receive feedback. Each person used their time differently depending on what their individual goals were.
Being open and transparent
Something that I found most memorable was the openness of the space. Everyone should vulnerability in telling their personal story as well as everyone was receptive to constructive criticism regarding the manner in which their story was told. I felt entirely comfortable sharing with everyone. In a society where people are often skeptical of being open and transparent, it was refreshing to be in a space with total strangers and have no impulse to close myself off. This was an experience that I will take with me as I navigate future endeavors related to the act of storytelling, in both my personal and professional life.