A few years back I had a gig in a beautiful part of the country: the Columbia River Gorge, which divides Oregon and Washington, just east of Portland.
Soaring mountains, towering waterfalls, a temperate rain forest and perfect weather – not to mention Voodoo Donuts, in Portland! I joined a line stretching outside and down the block and got my hands on their signature creation: a rectangular raspberry jelly-filled donut with chocolate icing, two doughy arms, a scary face and a pretzel “stake” through its heart. For once, I got to bite someone’s head off!
I had been contracted to work with a professional film crew at the national convention of the Audubon Society. After a 13 year hiatus, 500 chapter presidents and members were convening at Skamania Lodge and we were there to capture these conservationist’s stories as part of a fundraising project for the John James Audubon Center at Mill Grove, in Pennsylvania.
It was remarkable. Every fifteen minutes, for three days in a row, over fifty Audubon leaders volunteered to share their passion for the cameras. I drew them out, asking three “story-mining” questions to get them to tell their stories:
“What got you into this in the first place?”
“Was there a special person or event which ignited this interest for you?”
“Why do birds (or nature) matter?”
Those questions got people to share from the heart…and that’s where storytelling is most effective. When you give people permission to share their stories, powerful messages are unearthed. After three days of constantly hearing about the amazing importance of birds, I was hooked myself and filled with respect for these devoted, articulate and passionate people.
Are you using your stories to share your passion for what you do, why what you do matters?