What’s Your Story?

Stories have been an important part of my learning style. Both sides of my family are born storytellers. 

Family gatherings are not complete without everyone celebrating their stories or experiences. Aside from my Dad, my other favorite storytellers are my uncles, my dad's older brothers. 

My Uncle Jimmy has a way of relating a funny story with a straight face. When he starts speaking, you're not sure if he'll be serious or not. 

In the 1960s, he was on assigment in Norway and he was able to experience the Midnight sun phenomena. It was so cold and all they could see around them was white. He said that you can be disoriented since you don't know if it's day or night because the sun was always up. 

I remembered this anecdote when I was in Arizona during the summer months and somewhat had a similar event. It was almost 9PM and the sun was still up. It was unusual for me even if I lived in a tropical country.

Another uncle, Uncle Gil, uses animated gestures to tell his stories. Both of them had unbelievable memories and were detailed when recounting their experiences. It always made us laugh and through their stories, family ties were bonded. 

My dad's eldest brother, Uncle Rolly, was also a storyteller. Uncle Rolly was the quietest one among my Dad's siblings. He had one of the softest voices that I have ever heard. He traveled for work and lived in different parts of Northern Luzon during the 1950s and 1960s working for power companies. 

Uncle Rolly would normally share to us my dad's escapades when he was younger. Our dad's first trip to Baguio was to visit Uncle Rolly during the summer months. We have a photo of my dad looking dapper and handsome in his ensemble. 

Definitely, I consider my dad the best storyteller in the family. I still remember  some of his childhood recollections.

Sharing these remembrances of the past invokes a sense of pride in our own family history as well as respect and importance. It also teaches you to be patient as well as to be a good listener.

It also works if you are an active listener. How can you gather ideas and insights if you don't listen to others when they tell their stories?

I try to practice storytelling in my everyday tasks. Whether I’m facilitating a class, hosting an event or even when just discussing my favorite book to a friend; I think of ways on how my audience will better understand a particular process or procedure by relating it to a personal experience. An anecdote that was shared can be easily remembered. It creates familiarity and helps in putting things into context.

Leadership Guru, John Maxwell, once said, "Use someone's story as a connecting point today." Encouraging people to share their stories is a great way to open conversations. 

It takes a lot of practice to be a good storyteller. You have to develop credibility in order for people to really listen to you. It’s not just limited to having good ideas or thoughts but you also have to know how to properly deliver them to your audience. You don’t want to have a bored crowd.

One of the things that I always do with my classes is that I ask them to tell me their own story. It helps you learn who they are, what their experiences and skills are as well as how they are as learners. From there, you can develop your classroom strategies.

You can use this technique anywhere on any type of audience that you might encounter. You need to capture the attention of your listeners. You need them to react and take note of what is being shared. It doesn't bode well if your audience leaves without that spark of interest.

It’s very important that we share our experiences or stories to others. You’ll never know what we’ll learn from them. Interact with as many different types of people. It broadens your horizon as well as your network. It also allows you to be in the same frequency in order for you to communicate your message.

What's your story? Share it today.

P.S. I've done several edits to this article over the years to add more memories. 03/06/2020.