A Safe Place to Practice My Story


By Kevin Freiert

Life has a way of filling up quickly.  Having a rare disease, or being a caregiver to someone who does, makes every day feel a little busier, doctors’ appointments more frequent, and the list of things to remember a little longer.  When asked to share your story, it is easy to lose focus of the main goal, add in details that may be distracting to that goal, or even to tell more than you intended to share from the beginning.  Often though, we only have just a few short minutes, even just the length of an elevator ride, to share a story that will leave the listener wanting to hear more, to help, to stay in contact, or to enact change in some way. 

Mark Twain is famous for being one of the first to say,  

If you want me to speak for an hour, I am ready today. If you want me to speak for just a few minutes, it will take me a few weeks to prepare.

He was followed by Woodrow Wilson and Winston Churchill.  All three of these men knew the importance of preparing a story to fit their intended audience. 

Salem Oaks has worked with the Barth Syndrome Foundation to develop a short storytelling workshop that gives participants the opportunity to refine their storytelling skills.  At the end of the workshop participants are able to: 

  • Deliver a compelling three-minute version of their story. 
  • Stimulate and answer questions – crisply and understandably. 
  • Use the story to foster conversations and effective calls to action. 
  • Better prepare for presentations, interviews, or meetings. 

The basic framework of the workshop is to provide multiple opportunities to tell and refine the story with their peers.  Practice – Practice – Practice.  This is not a technical story building workshop. Participants will learn how to give and receive feedback that will sharpen the stories and build confidence.  We have seen that the Storytelling Workshop has some side benefits.  It will strengthen the relationships in your community.  It also has the potential to help participants deal with some of their deepest emotions. 

I told my story honestly, to myself, for the very first time.  It was cathartic. 

Anonymous Participant

This workshop is ready to run with your community today.   It can be run as a standalone workshop or as part of another gathering.  Contact us at office@salemoaks.com to learn more.  

Posted by Heather McCullen


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Heather McCullen

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