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Good Group Tips

In principle, all stories are true and some of them really happened. Stories are kernels of truth passed on in colorful ways that help us understand the truths they contain. Most of us relate to stories much better than we relate to facts and figures. It’s not so important that a story really happened but how is the story like my story, like our story? What truth does the story contain about human experience, about our nature?

Practical Tip: Make time in your group for story telling — within meetings, before and after meetings, while sharing food. Read and hear stories of other like groups, other like people. Pass on stories that ring true for you.

It is by telling and hearing stories that we come to understanding. It is by understanding that we come to good group decisions.

PS: Like most principles among these pages, I didn’t make this one up. I heard it somewhere, added a little color, and passed it on.

– Craig Freshley

Click here for one-page PDF of this Tip, a great way to print or share.

5 thoughts on “Stories

  1. Can someone describe techniques for including stories in facilitation; like Linda’s “Talk or Listen” and “Moral Compass”. I’m interested in ‘how to…’ administer techniques?

  2. Yes, indeed, I loved this one. There is also the energy (of the teller) behind the story that travels rapidly to the mind & heart of the listener. If we truly are in the state of listening , one can guarantee that the teller will be at one’s best (co-creating) and the recipient will digest & understand the story…asking questions of inquiry that the teller can relate & respond too ….Story creates a safety neutral …the gathering ‘table’ where we all come to feed, to be nourished…’s that metaphor!

  3. Hi Craig!

    A good friend of mine, Tony Smith, with Mountain States Health Alliance here in Johnson City, TN suggested I contact you about the effectiveness of using stories in meetings and facilitations. Tony said he’d had a great conversation with you and that you were unaware of the Storytelling In Organization’s Special Interest Group (SIO SIG) of the National Storytelling Network, or the International Storytelling Center here in Jonesborough.

    The SIO SIG participates in an on-line forum called Worldwide Story Work and I’ll send you an invitation to join. I’ve been coaching leaders in becoming effective storytellers, and how to use stories effectively in their organizations for many years.

  4. With “Moral Compass” and “Talk or Listen” this tip captures what I think is most important about living well and honestly. Relationships and belonging are the key to human happiness and each of these conveys the importance of each. “Stories” captures the value of helping people relate to others’ experiences as they listen and make meaning of the message. And stories also help people learn from the past, brining forward typically wise nuggets. “Moral compass” emphasizes integrity and true human compassion — something I strive to instill in my new infant daughter as I now feel this tremendous responsibility to nurture and shape the life of a sweet, innocent child. and “Talk or listen” is just SO TRUE that it is worth repeating again and again so everyone hears it! Again, I see my child watch intently…my movements, my facial expressions, my words, my eyes — silently. She is just a huge sponge, soaking in all that she can. I see how seriously she observes and can virtually see her little brain clicking as she is learning, silently. When she chats and babbles, it is totally external and she is practicing, practicing — not learning anything from her outside world while that’s happening! What a perfect example she is of “Talk or listen”. How wise children are.

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