Are You Brave Enough to Tell Your Story?
“Are you going to tell a story?” My husband asked.
“Are you?” I responded.
Both of us hesitant at first, we agreed that we might as well.
Last Friday MassMouth hosted their first south of Boston story slam, an open mic event where audience members have a chance (if they choose) to tell a story. My husband and I both put our names in the basket. 10 names would be chosen to tell their story of second chances in five minutes or less.
Neither my husband nor I had ever attended an event like this.
We became two of the lucky ten chosen to tell a story
I had a story that I worked through in my mind yet never spoke out loud. I didn’t feel ready. Fear almost got the best of me. Then my Toastmasters experience kicked in and told me to:
- Think in 3s. What key points do I want to share?
- Get up there! That’s what Toastmasters and my speaking career is all about – telling stories!
The story slam rules
- Theme: Second chances
- First person, true story (no fiction)
- By memory, no notes or reading
- 5 minutes or less
We were judged and a winner announced.
What a thrill.
And what an array of stories!
We heard stories about gastric bypass surgery, surviving cancer, saving birds, losing out on the autograph of a celebrity, overcoming lisps, relationships between son and mother and more.
I told a story about a 2nd chance at a career that is meaningful and fulfilling.
Each person nervous and excited to share their experience and create a connection.
While neither my husband nor I won, we both learned from the experience.
Storytelling is different than giving a speech
There is a different structure, purpose and cadence. I’m curious to learn more.
Telling personal stories isn’t easy. Last week a new client admitted that telling personal stories makes her nervous.
Yet, telling our own stories, I’ve learned, is what creates stronger connections.
After the event I noticed audience members approaching the story tellers to connect and thank them for sharing. Stories heal. Stories connect. Stories help us feel less alone.
Telling personal stories is a brave act. One that requires vulnerability. One that requires an ability to communicate the story with the intent to help rather than become self-indulgent. One that invites connection. One that I believe is necessary.