As we headed back to Mumbai International Airport following a sweltering month of training young actors in storytelling, Josh and I realised that we wanted this working partnership to continue. We founded theWholeStory, as we were both curious as to how storytelling could be used. My background was in directing and Josh was a storytelling performer so we knew storytelling was fundamental to theatre and art. And we recognised that in everyday communication we all use story (what has happened, is happening and will happen) with the spoken word, to help us share our experience of the world with each other.
But we wanted to look at how it could be exploited further to help organisations and the individuals within them, to communicate better and also to understand and develop their ideas and actions too. Or put simply, work out what they want to do and how to talk about it.
As has become the basis of all we do, we started to work very practically to unpick storytelling. We investigated what storytelling could do by teaching people to use its skills and techniques, and then exploring with them how they would use it.
When we started the company, Josh and I could see there was a natural way storytelling could help and enhance the way people spoke and presented. But what we soon saw was that the exercises we were using worked as much on what people were saying, as how they were saying it. Our participants started to understand and/or develop the subject as they worked on how to communicate it as a story. They started to shape what was going to happen, find new ideas or create solutions.
As we responded to the needs and issues of our clients (such as the NHS, AXAPPP, EY, Balfour Beatty Rail, Sotheby’s, Directors of Public Health, Civil Servants) we developed workshops, facilitation and training to meet 4 areas of application:
All of these applications have value in organisations where you need to share ideas or plans, in order to affect some form of change so that you engage your customers, partners, employees or other stakeholders and develop the organisation.
Since then, as our client list grows and the variety of training we offer grows, one fundamental truth has stood the test of time: it’s not just what you say that matters, but also how you say it. Storytelling ensures your messages have purpose, you have an authentic voice, and therefore more than being heard, you are remembered and your messages are acted on.