How to Listen for Key Stories (Unfolding an everyday secret)

A good story is never just a good story. In the following passage simple everyday storytelling techniques will reveal the hidden power of being a good listener, thus being able to acquire all shorts of valuable information; A practical OSINT guide as one might state it.

* The healing power of storytelling for individuals and communities,
* The need for leaders to tell powerful stories in order to catalyze and motivate group members,
* The stories that seem to dictate the limits of our collective growth, through to,
* The need to unify our species’ stories in order to transform conflict.

Given the interest and the widespread, growing application of story, it seems prudent to begin developing ‘an ear’ for the stories we hear.

The Listening Process

It is said that each time a story is told three apples fall from heaven, one for the teller, one for the listener and one for the one who ‘really hears’. In order to understand stories, we must learn to ‘really hear’ them.

The following are good basic tenets for listening:
Tenets
1. Trust the individual or group that is telling.
2. Listen to everyone.
3. Listen with your heart. Listen for the emotional, heartfelt quality of stories and note without judgement.
4. Resist criticism or evaluation.
5. Listen to the story within the story. Not everything that is said is wise but there is wisdom in every story. Listen for both content and quality. What is straining to be heard?
6. Listen to the story between the stories. Wisdom and insight are revealed in the silence between the stories rather than in the words themselves. Is there a theme connecting the stories? Is a pattern emerging?
7. Listen to the stories behind the stories. Even when a story contains a belief that you find challenging or justifies a behaviour you dislike, you are called to listen for the story behind this story. Choosing to perceive people’s stories as their best efforts, to date, of achieving noble goals will help them to open up and you to really hear.
8. Everyone’s wisdom is required for the best result; the connections and divergences point the way to a group’s emergent story. The connection or convergences can be reinforced, magnified, and built upon. The divergences or conflicts can be analyzed and utilized for new ideas; these are the points of greatest potential growth, learning, and adaptation.
In order to ‘really hear’, we must listen for various types of stories and come to know what they signify. The following are general story types and questions that assist us in gleaning the encoded learning.
 
What sort of stories are we listening for?

Stories, whether they come in the form of myth, folktales, ‘true accounts’, personal or professional tales, or epics, all follow certain universal patterns. These include (but are not limited to):

** Creation stories
How did this all begin? What was the intention? What was the birth process like?
** Major developmental leaps and milestone stories
When was a challenge like this current one faced previously? How did it end up? What factors contributed to the outcome?
** The stories of past development initiatives
What initiatives have been undertaken to date? How have they worked, or not worked, for you?
** Diversity stories (how others tell the same stories)
What other versions of your story are being told? Which, if any, do you particularly agree or disagree with? Why? What do you imagine is the story behind these other varying perspectives?
** The environmental story (external conditions)
What are the forces currently supporting your objectives? Challenging them?
** The emerging story (preferred futures)
You are now 5 years in the future. What does the story look like now? How did it come to be?

Look for a range of tone in the stories shared (ex. successes, failures, regrets – mad, sad, glad). Excessive reliance on one type of story or one prevailing tone is a source of important information and suggests a discrepancy that can be turned into an asset given proper care. It also suggests an overall cultural shape, especially with respect to trust, risk-taking, and communication.

Of course much has to been taken into account like the cultural context of the story and the various sentimental elements that would probably be altered in every circumstance. Nevertheless a good listener is always a winner because he gains trust and at the same time absorbs the intake of the other person/s. Thus he is able after carefull training to create at his will the appropriate story for the right listener; should he has to perform this role as well.

When you become familiar with the basic tenets of good listening, the types of stories people tell, and the universal storytelling template that traverses all civilazations and cultures; life as far as OSINT is cooncerned would be much easier and conclusive.

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