Why are we afraid of story?
Storytelling, I think, is a part of being human. We hear stories, tell stories and make sense of the world through stories. So why are some of us so afraid of stories? Here’s a conversation I had this week.
Me: We’ll provide an opportunity for folk to tell a short story about something positive that’s happened to them at work in the last 12 months. It’s a good connecting activity called Jumpstart Stories – they talk in groups of about 10 for 90 seconds each.
Client: What if they don’t know what to say? Shouldn’t we warn them?
Me: Maybe that would create some anxiety – this is supposed to be a positive experience.
Client: What if they don’t take part?
Me: Look at it like a dinner party conversation. Someone starts and then that triggers an idea for someone else.
Client: OK – I think.
Which got me wondering why some of us are afraid of storytelling. Is it to do with a lack of practice, or the danger of appearing foolish, or a feeling that our stories are not ‘good’ enough? Beats me. Maybe story has a bad rap – we no longer can distinguish between fictional and real stories. Bullet points are real – stories are make believe.
Let’s tell more stories at work – at home, anywhere. Let’s reconnect with story. Let’s start here – tell us your story.