Conference Session: Learning the Art of Story Telling

A multidisciplinary group of 10 college staff (post graduate planning, president’s office, senior capstone organizers, admission, and marketing and communication) have launched an experimental “Storytelling Bootcamp” over the summer, which is peer-led and consists of reading literature on storytelling in philanthropy and communication, workshops with faculty who have expertise in psychology and construction of personal narratives, and a workshop with MOTH Story Slam winner Margot Leitman. The group’s objective has been to sharpen its storytelling skills and find new ways to deepen the emotional resonance of the stories that are shared with our constituents. A byproduct has been the bonding of staff from different departments into a cross disciplinary team. Participants are expected to each develop a personal story to perform in front of a live audience at the end of the bootcamp. To date, the sessions have been transformative for all participants, helping them to develop universal themes in their storytelling, more effective entry points, stronger emotional connections and powerful conclusions. The project is being funded by an internal grant aimed at amplifying our institution’s external impact. At the conclusion of the summer, this small but mighty team is responsible for using their newly honed skills to better tell their stories about working at Olin, the Olin story, and also work with faculty and other volunteers to tell their own Olin stories more effectively. We are mid-point in the process but believe that we can help CASE members to tap into their storytelling potential.