Storytelling: getting your voice heard. John Cooper blogs about the break out training session offered by Power to Change at the Locality Convention 2017
On the 14th November I was invited by community business organisation Power to Change to deliver a break out session at the Locality Convention in Manchester. If you were there, hello! Public speaking workshop. storytelling workshop
Big thanks to Claire and the team at Power to Change for inviting me along. It was really quite inspiring to be around so many community leaders, people who ‘get things done’ for the betterment of their local communities.
The session was about providing practical techniques that would get their voices heard at local authority level, to gain funding for their projects. It was a bit whistle stop as I tried to cram in a lot from what I’ve learned over the years; being confident and comfortable speaking and sharing to developing empathy in a narrative. I was aware these attendees probably had their own story to tell, and indeed they did. Everyone I spoke to over the afternoon and evening reception had an incredible story to tell. Choices they had made, often selflessly, to make things better for those around them. Events they had made happen, goals achieved or journeys that had just begun with a sentence along the lines of “…so I quit my regular job to go do this instead”.
The strength of character in the room was tangible ( I even shared a bit of my own story) and I was pretty humbled at the end of the session when co-organiser Charlotte showed me the feedback from attendees while I sold some of my books.
Power to Change put on a great evening reception, highlighting the history of community business with a book launch and a play by the Manchester Shakespeare Company.
Not a bad way to spend my birthday.
workshops for community businesses. training for community business.
I’ve just delivered a couple of talks at ‘WMUG‘, a group run by Mike Little one of the co-founders of the crazily popular WordPress system. The first was on the podcasting and the second was on ‘Real World Clients’.
I’ve already posted on how I created the podcast over on my design blog, and if you’re interested the podcast itself, interviewing people who use applied improvisation in their work, it’s here.
Real World Clients.
Despite doing stand up comedy forever I’ve never got up and talked about my design work – ever, let alone my experiences with clients. I’m totally comfortable getting up and talking. In fact chatting to the group beforehand, I think that was my worry. In comparison to being Danny Pensive this was a ‘zero pressure gig’. My desire to entertain, rather than inform could easily take me take me way off topic very quickly. Without high stakes I could get sloppy.
Having said that I was really worried about throwing myself under the bus. There would be other developers in the room and I wasn’t just telling stories, but also talking about my work processes, potentially laying myself open for judgement. So actually there was a bit of pressure, but not the kind that i’m used to. That’s good, a bit of performance pressure is better than not at all.
So I dipped back down the last five or six years of work history and picked out a dozen or so projects, then mashed them all together. Mixing old real world situations I’ve come up against with a bit traditional narrative structure. A call to action here and a stink of death there and pretty soon had something I could work with and relate back to WordPress.
It was a success I thought, in fact putting my comedians head back on…I think there might be a show in this.
Mary is a learning and development professional. She trained with Second city and combines her skills to deliver dynamic experiential learning programs.
Mary uses applies improvisation techniques in the area of behavioural health. Working with business in professional development courses and families, she helps people manage issues such as stress, anxiety and addiction to fulfil their peak potential.
When I started the podcast in 2016, Mary was on top of my list of people to talk to. In this interview we talk about how improvisation can be applied to increase quality of life. By being present, utilising the fundamentals of ‘Yes And’ to accept and commit to positive change in ourselves and in helping others.
This episode in bullet points
- A.C.T. – Acceptance Commitment Therapy
- Tony Robbins – date with destiny
- A brief digression on yoga.
Connect With Mary
www.marytcurtis.com | Mary on Linkedin
Direct Link to MP3