The philosophy behind Storytelling

Several years ago, I joined an informal storytelling group that meets every third Friday night at someone’s private home. About 15 of us come to share stories on a certain theme.

These can be true stories, tall stories, something found and read, something seemingly impromptu … you name it. Participants prepare entertaining tales on the theme to regale us with.

Some members, e.g. our facilitator’s wife, have never shared a story. Others often don’t want to speak, but come along to enjoy others’ stories. Some just like to listen for a while until they “get” what the unspoken rules are. So they’re silently learning.

We have enjoyed this entertainment so much that I thought I’d share it with BrisLETS as a way of us getting to know each other.

People prefer to do business with people they know and trust – and sharing stories is a way of letting people know what’s in your heart.

And we all come to Trading Day to do business, don’t we?

Storytelling at BrisLETS

When I introduced the idea to BrisLETS, I was asked to fit this session into a time-slot of about 45 minutes. This meant each storyteller could only have five minutes, maximum, to tell a story.

Our Peace Hall venue has a few drawbacks: it’s cavernous and echoes; outside traffic noises are audible. Some members have hearing challenges. Because of this, I decided to include a microphone and amplifier, which I expect people to use as a courtesy to others. Jenn Wallace kindly brings her sound equipment for us to use. This is much appreciated as it is heavy and awkward to transport.

To be respectful to the other participants, I recommend that each story be prepared ahead of time. Writing it on the spot is a distraction, and standing up to speak without a clear idea of what to say wastes time. (Tip: put some dot points on a palm-card.)

Actually, shaping and preparing a story and fitting it into five minutes is a good little challenge for your brain!

Everyone is welcome

Naturally, I’d like everyone to tell a story. Ordinary people’s stories are VERY interesting!

But I will place no compulsion on anyone to speak. I know first-hand what it’s like to feel shy about speaking. That’s why I joined Toastmasters, back in the day. I discovered that just sitting there and seeing how other people “do it” could teach me so much. Eventually, I came to realise that I could get up and speak.

My overarching vision for this exercise is for Trading Day participants to get to know each other better by sharing a short story about themselves, to be entertained, and to feel that they are part of a community of like-minded people.

I see Storytelling as inclusive. Everybody is welcome, storytellers and listeners alike.

I see it as democratic communication. Everyone has the right to be able to hear a speaker, thus every speaker needs to use the microphone.

Change of time for Storytelling?

Would you like to enjoy Storytelling while having a shared lunch at 12 noon, so you can have more time for trading, socialising and attending other sessions?

Or do you prefer the start time of 2 pm? Please tell me what you think.

Payment? Yes and no

It has been suggested that I charge for my Storytelling facilitation. I am in two minds about this. Yes; people do better appreciate what they have paid for. And no, they just may not want to.

So I’m going to let people decide for themselves in future. I will bring a LETS charge sheet and if individuals want to make me a donation in units, then I will thank them sincerely. If they don’t, that’s their personal choice. I won’t pout.

March Trading Day storytelling theme

Please tell us your version of “My BrisLETS journey how you discovered LETS, who introduced you, how you’ve benefited since you joined. If you write your story out ahead of time, maybe you’d let me put it in a future NewsLETS.

Another tip: A five-minute story is about 500-600 words.

Your thoughts, please

Please let me know how you feel about anything I have raised here:


Josephine Brown

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