True Confession… I’m a Sally Storyteller
I have a confession to make, when I’m a meeting participant…I’m a little bit talky. Especially if no one else is speaking much, or if I have an idea to express, I just have to express it. The problem is that I talk in order to work out an idea. So what I say is not in a tightly-edited format, it meanders from place to place. I’m a bit of a Sally Storyteller. I think that I’m making sense, and I think that I’m adding value, but really? Not so much. Everyone in the room might agree with what I’m saying and my reasoning, but because I can’t turn it into a headline and tag it, no one knows what to do with everything I said.
As a facilitator, I see this happen in other meeting participants, and it’s sooo easy to spot. I have to prod the storyteller to summarize their thought and tag it with a headline. But sometimes they don’t know what they are saying either.
I sympathize. When I’m Sally Storyteller, I know that I’ve just expressed something important. But even I struggle to edit it down and I do this for a living. I don’t think my entire thought through before I speak. So I fill the space left by silence with my thought process. It isn’t about trying to control the room or steal more glory for myself, I just want to contribute. I don’t want to look back on a decision and think “if only I’d spoken up about that thing that was bugging me.”
It takes practice to turn thoughts into a tight headline. It strikes me as a disservice to the underlying idea to boil it into 5 words. I’m resistant to lose the complexity and nuance. Bullet points are so cheap.
But I tell myself the underlying idea in all its complexity lives on, it’s just that the flipchart, and people’s brains, need a shortcut way to index that idea so we can talk about it and refer to it later.
I bring paper now, and I am really trying to control my impulse to just speak. I try to work out the headline before I jump in to contribute. Sometimes, I just can’t, but at least I know I’m losing everyone when I do it.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/7716310@N03/3499499024″>Winding Path</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nd/2.0/”>(license)</a>