No doubt story listening is the foundation of good storytelling. Those who understand this are in agreement that without listening we don’t really know what is the right story to tell.
However, listening is a skill that needs development. We have many ways to develop storytelling skills but not that many to develop story listening skills. The problem lies in the fact that we are able to listen from the time we are born and just because we can listen we think we can “listen”
Some of fall for the thinking that listening is talking less. Good listening skills involve more than just talking less. I learnt this through a personal experience.
Many years ago, someone I respect immensely told me, ” You are a terrible listener.” I took the feedback seriously and started talking less in conversations by avoiding that urge to connect my experiences to others. By doing that, I was unintentionally making the conversation about myself!
In some occasions this worked but in others there was an awkward silence for a prolonged period and I was then given feedback, ” You say nothing, it seems you are not interested in what I have to say.”
After many such occasions I learnt that listening is more than just talking less, it is about being curious about others too. When you are curious, you ask a question that transitions the silence in to a discussion.
The energy of the discussion allows great stories to surface that you can listen to and draw insights from. These insights then allow you tell stories that resonate.
You can’t storytell unless you are willing to story listen and you can’t story listen unless you are willing to talk less and be curious.
If you are not new here you would know that my upcoming boom Strategic Storytelling published by The Hachette Book Group is launching in Nov 2022 in UK and Mar 2023 in US. We are planing on a few events leading up to the book launch. Please do sign up here if you would like to be the first to know.
"I attended your story telling course some time back. And I've enjoyed keeping up my knowledge with your blog. You may not have realised however, that the Whole of Government is implementing Internet Seperation. Hence I'm not able to access the links to read your articles. Could I suggest including a QR code in your emails so that I can use my mobile to scan it and gain immediate access to the article? It would be most helpful"