Blog > Why are we afraid of story?

August 1, 2007

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.

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