What goes into making a working
environment a place of creative, cooperative, and
How do we pass knowledge from
one generation of workers to another?
How do we address difficult issues
without alienating leadership, managers, or workers?
How do we learn to honor one another’s work?
How is our workplace and mission or product special
and how can we communicate that to the larger world?
Storytelling isn’t a magic pill that makes all ills disappear, but it can address many of these questions with techniques and content that will deeply enhance your organizations goals and functioning. Following are performance and workshop programs designed to stimulate and improve leadership and communication skills and help participants hone their agency/company mission into a story form that will guide and inspire others.
Honing Affect for Effect/Presentational Skills
The words one chooses to use constitutes only half of the rich smorgasbord of affective communication tools available to us. Do you remember how your mother could call your name from one end of a city block and with nothing more than a single word to go on you could decipher her mood, what she wanted, and how quickly you needed to get home? Tonality, intention, and body language are all as effective in getting your point across as the words chosen. During our time together, participants will explore and hone the bright palette of expressive possibilities available to them. 3-5 hours
Discovering Your Unique Leadership Style
This workshop will guide participants in the exploration of their leadership style. Through interactive exercises we will survey styles of leadership. Participants will have an opportunity to identify these styles and consider various places, situations, or times that each might be used most appropriately. With this broad palette before us we will then cull personal memories and experiences that have defined both successful and flawed leadership models in our lives. We will complete our session by creating personal models that act as guides and inspirations for us as we move into roles of stewardship and guidance.
Raising The Bar of Leadership
Strong, creative, nurturing, and intelligent leadership can utilize storytelling at every level. This presentation/workshop will model and teach the use of storytelling for three interwoven objectives.
6hr – 2 Days
-Stories of Introduction:
If you want people to trust you, work with you, and share your vision, they need to know who you are. A “Who am I story” can be personal, historic, or even a folk or fairy tale. It must, though, conveys the essence of who you are, and what you value. Your managerial or work style, expectations, and dreams are all communicated in these stories that often become the soul of a working environment.
-Stories that Teach
Stories allow you to address personal, academic, technical, and social issues without threatening the individuals involved. The listener identifies with the characters and action of the tale. They emerge with the character’s learning and then have the opportunity to integrate and utilize that learning in their own functioning. Stories can be used to model everything from broadening one’s conception of their work and company, to helping people negotiate serious changes.
-Stories of Vision
No one goes to work for Ben and Jerry’s* without the myth of two nice guys just trying to make a good ice-cream resonating somewhere in their conscious mind. What is your business or agencies myth or vision? Unless you understand and can communicate the story of your work, you cannot inspire others to invest themselves in it.
All the Possibilities
Problem solving is an everyday challenge. Intellect, and knowledge of your particular field, however, are not the only tools needed to be a competent problem solver. Contemporary society has educated many of us through complete images. Television, film, and video tell and show us stories and in turn we take in the facts, faces, and environments, but are never pushed to use our imaginations. Unused, this most important aspect of human capability becomes a rusty tool. If we only respond to what others have made and never create for ourselves, how can we imagine and build a better world? Without flexible use of the imagination we become desperately limited problem solvers. This completely participatory workshop is designed to open up the imagination, oil those rusty cogs, and set it to work on issues and problems relevant to your group’s concerns.
Storytelling is first and Foremost about listening. A story cannot resonate unless it begins where your listeners are.
A good storyteller must know their audience. This knowledge is your best tool for communicating and creating enthusiastic consensus around issues.
Let’s say you work for an NGO
delivering much needed food and medical supplies to disaster struck areas, and a consensus
cannot be reached on which problem to respond to with the greatest urgency. Instead of arguing, which simply galvanizes people’s positions, hearing the story of how and why each participant came to their decision can nurture a culture of respect and help people find consensus. 4-6 hrs
Leading From the Center
Stories, both ancient and contemporary, can offer new perspectives on leadership in ways that alter our thinking and actions. These stories both humorous and thought provoking will create a cognitive dissonance in terms of traditional leadership models. They are about attuned listening, watching, and learning from those you want influence. They will start us thinking about the authentic requirements for successful leadership.
Women’s Work: Tales from the Front
“Man he works from sun to sun, but women’s work is never done.”
Women in the work force are both effected by and effect their environment in ways that are unique and can bring important perspective to any organization or task. From Rosie, the first woman to aim a rivet gun, to high school football fields, these stories reflect women’s special gifts when then are at the helm of work or life, or simply helping to keep the boat afloat.
Communicating the Message
The minute any of us feel under attack, or are assailed by a critical eye, our gates of perception lock shut and learning stops. Today’s tales will model how to communicate a message and model behavior while engaging the listeners’ heart, head, and imagination. This is the ultimate management tool.
SPECIAL WORKSHOP with Michael Elkin* and Judith Black CONVERSATIONS Internal and External
We, each of us, have an internal dialogue, that runs parallel with every life experience. Our internal voices emerge from the culmination of our life experiences and are often so loud and strong that new information cannot penetrate them. This training helps participants identify their internal voices and begin to evaluate when they help and when they hinder their work. They will come to identify their internal voices, be offered a technique by which they can have them step aside so that new information can be assimilated, and ultimately learn how to identify, acknowledge, and use or decline both internal and external information.
1 – 2 Days
Judith Black is the winner of the Oracle: Circle of Excellence, the most coveted award in storytelling, Judith has been featured on stages as far reaching as The Montreal Comedy Festival, The National Storytelling Festival, The Smithsonian Institution, Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the National Art Museum in Cape Town, South Africa, and NPR. She has created stories for the US Department of the Interior, NPR, The Mass. Foundation for the Humanities, and many others. Original performance programs, trainings and workshops have been designed for such organizations as:
US Dept. of the Interior
US Dept. of Forestry
US EPA Women’s Retreat
National Association for Interpreters
Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities
The Society of Female Engineers Emergency Room Pediatric Nurses Annual Conference (CT) Amalgamated Clothing and Textile Workers Union
Institute for Health Care Improvement*