Last week we shared a story from a village chief in Niger, gathered for us by Children’s Communications Specialist Steve Richards. We thought you might like to hear a little more about Steve’s process in drawing compelling, emotional stories from the people we work with all over the world.
Steve tells us, “I use visual anthropology and storytelling techniques to support children to develop communication skills.”
Here’s how he gets the best from the people he works with:
Everyone is a storyteller. Before written culture many societies relied on the richness of oral histories, passing on information generation to generation through stories.
I am very privileged to meet people around the world and hear their stories. One can gather great stories if one understands and uses; active listening, the power of questions and emotional truth.
One of the most important communications skills is active listening. Building rapport with the storyteller and actively demonstrating you’re listening through techniques such as positive body language which encourage the storyteller to share more profoundly.
The listener should ask open and prompt questions, such as How, Why and Describe. This supports the storyteller to reflect more deeply on their thoughts as they lead the conversation.
Emotional truth transcends all social, cultural, geographical barriers. As humans we experience our own emotional reality. Stories that include emotion are powerful stories that provide great connectivity for the listener or reader.
Through this approach, what for the storyteller, may be the mundane nature of their ‘everyday’ becomes enchanting, creating insightful moments for the audience.
Have you ever used these techniques or others to get great stories from friends or children? Share your own stories, thoughts and ideas on our Facebook page.