"Become aware what is in you. Announce it, pronounce it, produce it and give birth to it." - Meister Eckhart

28 April 2015

Day 24 of the A to Z Blogging Challenge: X is for X marks the spot

X is for X marks the spot

Back when I was a boy, I loved stories about pirates and buccaneers and I particularly loved their treasure maps. Any book that had an illustration of one was longingly pored over as I imagined discovering the fabled spot where their hidden jewels and bullion could be found.

When I was older and started performing with bands, stage hands often marked an X on the stage with chalk or gaffer tape indicating where they wanted me to stand, particularly if the event was being filmed. And, occasionally, I’ve come across this technique when delivering a public talk on stage. Just stand on the X and everyone will hear and see you, I was told. Of course, I might have started on the X but I inevitably wandered around.

However, I’ve since adopted the technique in my StoryCoaching in the sense that I encourage storytellers and public speakers to imagine an X on the stage to mark the centre of your performance space. I urge them to claim that space, make it theirs. Find a way to “stand your ground” and make it a place where the story can come into being. You don’t have to stay rooted to it, but I believe it can add to your confidence to begin with a centring spot, a place that grounds you before you begin your story or speech.

No matter where I’ve had to perform—in a classroom, on the street, or in a corporate boardroom—I will imagine that X as part of my pre-storytelling ritual. Creating a space from which to deliver, a space into which I invite my audience, figuratively, of course. In my work, X marks the spot of “storied treasure.”

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"We have received only very positive reports of your workshop, and must thank you for being so flexible and responsive both before and in the course of implementing the workshop. It has been lovely to work with you. . . . We are hopeful this project will give rise to future storytelling endeavours, and would be very happy to work with you again if the opportunity arises!" Muireann Crowley, At Home in Scotland, University of Edinburgh, May 2014 ("Storytelling, Research and Public Engagement" workshop)

Michael Williams is a a storyteller of compelling skill. He is also a fine human being who engages in all situations and draws people into the warmth of communication and shared experience." Donald Smith, Director, Scottish Storytelling Centre, Edinburgh Scotland

"Michael's understanding of storytelling within a leadership and business context has helped us provide a great service in helping leaders determine their personal and organisational destiny and legacy. Working with Michael is inspiring and fun; and pulls you to be fully engaged from start to finish." Norton Bertram-Smith, Managing Director and Leadership Consultant for On Purpose.

Kamink: the little boy who grew into a giant of a man

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