If you are a fan of The Moth Radio Hour (https://themoth.org/radio-hour) as I am, you know the pleasure of kicking back and hearing all sorts of folks share personal experiences – joys, sorrows, highs and lows – in front of a live audience. Without fail, by the end of the hour you will have laughed, gasped, and even shed a tear. As a speech coach and communication strategist, I know the power of story and how it can instantly humanize the speaker and engage the audience through the sharing of a personal experience that everyone can relate to – on some level.
I began wondering, how I could bring The Moth experience into my own living room? What better than bringing people together – old friends and new – and learning about them by discovering some aspect of their journey. It’s like “speed-dating” where you end up learning more in 5 minutes than you might in a whole evening of mingling and networking.
With a few close colleagues, we started “Story Tellers Pop-Up” where every month we gather in someone’s home and invite people to come prepared with a 5 minute story. Sometimes we’ll have a theme – like Embarrassment, Revenge, Daring Escapade, etc. or it’ll be a free-for-all and people can bring any tale they’d like to tell. And just like The Moth, the story has to be true, about the teller, and told within the allotted time frame. If you plan to tell a story, you put your name in the hat, and tellers are picked randomly. We also invite people to come and simply be an enthusiastic audience member.
After each speaker, we provide them feedback if desired: What drew you into the story? Is there anything you wanted to know more about? Any thoughts on how the story might be further developed? Some attendees have a goal of perhaps being on The Moth stage themselves, or developing a story they want to use in a presentation or particular forum, or they just want to be a better conversational story-teller. Finally, the format, is usually 3 hours and within that time frame, you can easily get to 10-12 stories with enough time for feedback and conversation.
If you love story-telling, try a Story Tellers Pop-Up, yourself. I am confident you’ll have a blast and create a memorable evening with friends while improving your skill set. AND, if you are in the Chicago area and would like to join one of ours in the future – let me know and we’ll put your name in the hat!