Why Trumps All the Other Ws in Story

One word, one question is the most important starting point for any story.
It can be a real challenge to answer.
Young children love to pose this question as they seek out meaning to the world around them. They make you stop and think.  Why is the sky blue? Why is God? Why are there flowers on that plant?  Why? Why and Why, until you are exhausted, or simply don’t have an answer.
There is no shortage of stories all around us every day.  We can hear, them, share them often without stopping to think why we are telling them, and even if they are true. They will often tell as What, When, Where, but the Why is not always clear.
Thinking about the Why in every story is also about your intention in telling it. 
What are you creating with the telling of the story? Are you trying to convince others of your point of view? What is in it for those who are receiving your story? What are you creating with it?
 In New York there is an organisation called Children at the Well. 
It is for children of different faiths to come together and share their stories.
So the Why for these children is very clear. They are interested in something that many people joke about, dream about, or believe is impossible.World Peace. 
They want to know and share their stories, regardless of faith or background. They seek connection and understanding.
Right now, as adults are killing children in religious conflicts in the Middle East, who is stopping to ask Why.
If you put together a group of  children from Israel, from Syria, from Gaza from differing faiths, what sort of stories might they share?  What would the Why be in the stories that they might share?

Story and The Common Touch

It is a great accolade to say a leader has a ‘common touch.” But what does that mean?

It has a lot to do with connecting with people at a very human level, heart, mind and soul, talking about life as it occurs for us all every day.
Touch is a very powerful sense for all of us. To be ‘touched’ is to be moved, affected and influenced powerfully. Physical touch is a hugely powerful connection between two people.
Common is something shared.
A powerful story shared by someone in a leadership role demonstrates a common touch.
The key is that the story is shared in service of others, without the ego driving it.
A leader with a ‘common touch’ sharing stories will be perceived as someone who other’s interests at heart rather than their own.
The critical element is that it is a story shared, a story with depth and breadth that it has widespread appeal whatever walk of life someone is on.
They are the stories that go viral and that we remember. We all share our humanity in common.
The stories I remember from great leaders are always about their flaws as well as their brilliance, they are real, they are authentic and I can see myself reflected in what they are saying.
I’ll go yeah, I know how that feels. I can relate to that.
And that is the ‘common touch.’
Here are three tips to develop a common touch.
  • Think of  a mistake you have made, and what you learnt, and how you would tell it as a story.
  • Think of a time you were totally surprised by someone and what they told you.  In particular, recall when you made an assumption about someone and were proved wrong.
  • Think of a time when you received extraordinary service from someone, and describe how that occurred. Especially an occasion when you were not expecting it. This is very effective if it is related to a common chore that most people experience, like buying something, making a phone call, being assisted with a task.