Imagine you have the word “heart” written on your chest. (Yes, you can be topless but no need to send me photos or request photos. We’re all bored and scared, I get it.)
Do you see it? Drop the H and the T and you have the word “ear.”
Oh, wait. Rainman has more to show you, kids.
Now imagine a heart. Not a bloody, sorta gross (but important) real one but a cute Valentine’s Day heart. Cut the heart in half, push the two pieces apart and what do you have?
No, not murder.
You have two pieces that look like ears! Neat, eh? I know. I’m a magician… and here’s the rabbit-out-of-the-hat: listening mindfully is at the heart of transformational storytelling.
When we share a story that opens the hearts of both storyteller and listener, we’re transmuting negativity into kindness, darkness into Light, hate into Love.
And while it’s imperative we continually upgrade our writing and speaking skills (i.e., take chances, fall off the bike, knock our teeth out), it’s just as important to respect and acknowledge the needs and fears of our audience.
Just as no storyteller appreciates an inattentive and rude audience member (think drunk wedding/funeral guest), people who dedicate time listening to our story detest being spoken at rather than with.
Assume nothing negative or judgmental (hateful?) about your audience.
The simplest tip? If you want your story received with heart, remember to love the hearts and heads in the room.
When you’re crafting your story, get clear on what you want listeners to Feel, Think and Do. (Yes, an oldie but a goodie and unlike humans, this tip is immortal.)
Secondly, fart around “writing on air” about what your audience’s problems, blocks, misconceptions or biases are. For example, if you’re talking about addiction recovery, you’re going to brush up against stigma, shame, not-in-my-backyard-thinking and/or denial from at least one person.
And that’s okay, dahling. Audience bias is their burden not yours.
But by acknowledging the story going on in your audience’s head, you can tap into a listener’s closed heart softly and gently.
When we share a story that radiates respect, affection, empathy and honesty, storyteller and story-listener receive a message that softens hearts and opens minds.
The most uplifting and empowering type of story on the planet?
Stories that show us through details, imagery and emotion that we’re not alone and we’re more similar than different.
Heart over herd always wins. Why? Because Love wins. If not immediately, eventually.
May the Light you shine always be Love.
Show courage when you stand up and share a story. Remind us to keep our two ears and one giant heart wide open. No matter how loud “they” roar to keep us divided and afraid, crafting heartfelt stories can bridge the gap between Us and Them.
Write that on your chest! And send me a picture.
Waving your way, sweet storyteller.
(Please put your shirt back on!)
*a special heartfelt shout-out to Eldora & Siman for writing on their chests and showing us their ears