Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Fun with Story Weaving

I can't imagine I'm writing a blog after such a long break! Well, what did I do during this period? I attended a workshop by Kathalaya ( which was one of the best trainings I've attended so far. Also been busy lately designing and improvising upon an experiential workshop on "Storytelling in Business" oriented to capture and share critical tacit knowledge of employees and teams centered around achievements, project milestones, improvement initiatives and of course, multiple dimensions of cost savings!

So, I'm back with lots of fun and exciting activities on storytelling and creation, some of which I'm trying out in my organization as well. One very interesting and effective method to get people into the storytelling mode is through the "Story Weaving Activity". This can be done with a group of about 8-15 people. Conduct this activity in a training hall with seating arranged in circular fashion so that everyone can see each other. Also, arrange for a ball of twine thread/rope/ribbon/wool. Further, prepare some chits depending upon the number of participants with some keywords written on each. For instance - performance, teamwork, achievement, nightmare, memorable, support etc.

This can be used as an ice-breaker during the beginning of the workshop. Once all are seated, give them basic instructions about the activity. They will be required to pick up one chit with a keyword mentioned on it. Based on this keyword, they need to narrate a personal work-related experience. Their story should begin with an attractive title and conclude with a key take-away/learning. If they have difficulty narrating their own personal experience at work, you can encourage them to narrate someone else's story or even a fictional one that they might have heard or read somewhere.

Once everyone has picked their keyword, give them 10 mins to prepare for their story. No paper/pens/laptops etc. to be used during this. Once all are ready, ask one person to volunteer to be the first. Handover the ball of thread to that person. Once s/he completes, that person has to hold one end of the thread and throw the ball to another person in a random order. The person who catches it, has to then start with his/her story and then hold one end and throw the rest to the third and so forth. Once all have completed narrating their stories, you will witness a beautiful web in the middle of the circle - and a web of stories!

You can make it little more complex by introducing reverse recall of the stories. So, the person who is last to narrate the story, hands back the ball thread to the person before him. This person has to recall the title, summary and learning shared by the last person so and so forth.

There are objectives acheived through this activity:
1. It helps the group get started on storytelling breaking away from inhibitions.
2. It gives them a sense of confidence "yes, I too can do this".
3. It helps the group know each better thereby automatically helping in team bonding.
4. It infuses lot of fun while learning.