From Canary Wharf to Composting Loos

Posted on: June 27, 2023

We’ve just passed the Summer Solstice – the longest day of the year. I spent it camping in the woods in East Anglia with a network of change makers and environmentalists.

Our camps are an experiment in the “gift economy” as everyone pitches in to help with the cooking, wood chopping and fire making. Deep philosophical conversations round the campfire are interspersed with tending the composting loos. I love the contrast with my typical work milieu of the City of London and Canary Wharf.

My contribution was to lead a workshop on “Storytelling For Change”. Everyone has a project they’re passionate about and a personal experience about why they care.

Damian entertained us with his initiative about changing the way music is taught in primary schools: 

“When I was little I had a musician uncle who went on tour with the Rolling Stones and told us rock’n’roll stories about life on the road.

I couldn’t wait to get to school and start learning, but when I got there they gave me a recorder and taught me to play “Greensleeves” – I was so disappointed! We can do this so much better.”

Stories sell. According to Stanford University they are 22 times more memorable than data.

Yet I still see leaders and professionals boring their audiences with dreary lists of data that are forgotten within minutes.. Telling a personal story involves sharing ourselves, not just our expertise.

Midsummer is the time of maximum light – a time to be visible. Ask yourself:

  • What project or initiative do I deeply care about?
  • What work/life experiences have led me to care about this? (These are your stories)
  • Where can I share these stories?

So, for your next presentation, pitch, interview or networking event – decide to tell at least one story that will bring your data and message alive.

And if you fancy joining me with the composting loos next year – let me know….