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You have to be there

Reading Time: 4 minutes

I remember so clearly as a child sitting at the kitchen table while my grandmother talked to my mother, and as she talked she kept folding and refolding a paper napkin over and over again. Afterwards, I would try to fold it as evenly and perfectly, and never could do it quite like she could. At the time I probably honed in on her doing this because I was bored out of my mind and wanted to go play somewhere else. But, now that she’s gone, it’s one of my most cherished memories of her. Had my mother handed me her iPhone (which clearly did not exist in the 80s) to keep myself entertained, I probably would have missed it.

These conversational moments–sometimes awkward, boring and vulnerable, but incredibly important–help to make up a lifetime of fond memories.

We all benefit from advances in digital technology–it’s less costly to do so many things in terms of time, money and access. So many barriers that previously existed are now broken down. We are more connected to each other than ever–but, the quality of those connections might be suffering.

What steps can we take to preserve what might be getting lost?

Storytelling as communication

Our methodology at Stories Inc. seeks to do just that for companies. At our very core we love and appreciate authentic, meaningful, conversations. Our methodology involves face-to-face conversations with our clients, their teams and associates. We do this on purpose. We know that the act of listening, the mannerisms, the pauses, the way the story is told, is where the magic lies. Capturing these moments is what we do for our clients.

Here’s one example:

We were in the middle of a face-to-face interview with the CEO of a company when he told us about another leader in the company.  They spoke every day for five years and were very close.  He then revealed to us that this company leader had been diagnosed with cancer and died a few months later.

As we listened, everyone on our team got emotional. But we didn’t stop the interview to compose ourselves, or make the CEO feel like he should stop and compose himself because he was on video and we were talking about work. He continued to share more wonderful memories of his friend and former colleague. Because we were face-to-face, clearly engaged and emotionally involved in his story, he felt safe continuing to share with us.

After his interview he asked us to give other company leaders a chance to speak about their shared friend and coworker, to have the same experience he just had. As a result, we collected very heartfelt and in-the-moment stories those that knew the departed (including his family) could have.

These conversations, which were emotional, important and often work-related, wouldn’t have happened over email, text, or social media. You really had to be there.

At Stories Incorporated we make it our mission to foster and facilitate priceless moments like these. Yes, we are a digital media company. Yes, we rely heavily on technology to keep us going. But, we believe face-to-face contact doesn’t have to be sacrificed for the convenience of technology all the time, for it’s in those face-to-face moments that our stories are created.

Do you have any thoughts on the importance of face-to-face communication? Email me at meghan (at) storiesincorporated (dot) com. I’d love to hear them!

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