“It’s amazing how once you’re in there on your own, and the recording begins, everything changes…You forget about the camera and before you know it you’re hitting the red button to end the video..and it feels great! You have shared a story that matters to you. You feel proud and free, there’s some sort of satisfaction that comes with it.”
This is a reaction I’ve become fairly accustomed to when participants step out of the StoryPod. It makes me smile every time I see the look of freedom on their face as they walk up to one of our story curators to debrief the experience.
Not everyone we meet has the confidence to walk straight into the StoryPod, sit in front of the camera and record their story. Most people have to build our courage and get ready for the process. And if you’re like me, you’d agree, it takes a lot of courage to open up and connect with a stranger at any time, let alone to a stranger who wants to record your story! This is why we have a team of Story Curators who do an amazing job at connecting with passers-by and getting them to share a story that deeply matters to them.
Our Story Curators know how to listen and they create space for their storyteller to feel safe. It blows my mind every time a participant goes from “I don’t have any story” to the “oh actually” moment...and they come out with the most beautiful stories and reflections. It is when they feel someone is listening, that they feel heard - they realise their story is welcomed and through their story they can contribute to re-writing the narrative.
Capturing these moments on video is what makes StoryPod so real and so authentic. Having a face, a voice, a tone, a facial expression attached to a story takes it all to a whole new level. When we speak about things we feel deeply, it is more likely we’ll be able to touch the hearts of others. If you tell a story in someone else’s words, it won’t have the same impact.
“Your story will heal you and your story will heal somebody else. When you tell your story, you free yourself and give other people permission to acknowledge their own story.”
What is important about storytelling is not so much how it is told…but rather that telling occurs. While some storytelling agencies focus on the content of a story, we focus on creating the right listening environment. Everyone has a story, they just need the safe space to allow it to emerge. It’s crucial that we share our experiences with other people. The world gets more connected when we do.
Although sharing and listening to stories makes us stop and reflect, it can also lead to us thinking and acting differently. A recent survey conducted by our research partner on the What’s Your Story? Alcohol Culture Change project, showed that “Over 80% of people have reported that the process of telling their story made them think about their drinking habits, the drinking habits of others and about Victoria’s drinking culture in general. This suggests that the process of storytelling itself has benefits in terms of getting people to reflect on drinking practices, norms and culture, which may in turn change these.” (Turning Point)
Stories have an incredible power to reach others. Stories teach, they inspire, they motivate, they challenge.
When we share our stories, it opens up our hearts and invites others to share their own. It creates a ripple effect and it gives us the sense that we are not alone in this journey. The StoryPod is a symbol and an invitation to reflect, to be heard, to take your time and to stop and think - "Maybe, I do have something worth sharing".
By John Rbeiz