unnamedby Sharon Livingston

What an amazing experience this is, preparing a 10 minute talk on such a vast body of information and story!

From a storytelling vantage point alone, it’s been an incredible experience. I’ve gone from talking about the experience, to telling so many stories (to draw in listeners, to take them on the journey) that I’ve gone on way too long… and then despaired! What to keep, what to cut…

Development of the story has been like watching a ball run through a Rube Goldberg machine. Reviewing the videos I made for my own practice, I’ve certainly wondered if I wasn’t making it all way more complicated than it needed to be! And yet, as I refine my story, sometimes adding, sometimes paring, I feel closer and closer to the germ of the thing.

Two aspects of preparing this TEDx talk have been so clarifying for me: 1. I am SO not a memorizer! I had to talk this story out of myself to discover it; and 2. the type of communication used in telling a story in this format requires, no, demands a certain voice… the kind of voice that brings the listener into the experience in a way that allows her to say, “Oh! That happened to me!”

Even though I’ve written a book on my topic, the events I recorded and turned into a 300 page novel do not boil down to a 10 minute talk without some kicking and screaming — mine AND the story’s!

I’ve worked with amazing friends and colleagues who have listened, and listened, and listened again. Each has shared feedback. Some feedback, hurt (ouch!) and some helped. In telling my story though, every time, I’ve stepped up the sharing. I’ve stepped up the story to get to the heart of it… to the kernel… to that one message that says, “This is what I want to share with you.” That one “idea worth sharing”.