On a sunny Monday morning in one of the rooms of the QLD State Library, a beautiful thing happened! Some of our team members and a few treasured guests combined brain power for a fantastic morning of stories, coloured paper and communications tactics! The aim of the game was to start developing Milaana’s ‘story’ and laying the groundwork for how we will best communicate it to our various audiences.
We are very lucky to have Maria Veronica on our team who is studying her Masters in Communication for Social Change at the University of QLD.
Her passion is helping others to communicate their message by listening and not telling, a very innovative new approach. Being true to this, she facilitated the whole session with vibrance and grace and enabled us to generate some fantastic insights into our personal motivations as well as all the different ways we can tell Milaana’s story.
But don’t just take my word for it! Here’s what our Vero and our other Heroes had to say!
Veronica Cazut (Communications Hero)
Having the opportunity of knowing Milaana from inside, and being part of it, is fascinating. It Is inspiring to see how the simple dream of a young student has been evolving into a tangible social business, with professional planning, executive meetings and passionate volunteers involved. The way that Milaana rubs off on other students, to become part of the project is also very interesting and confirms that its fundamentals are right: many young students and professionals are looking forward getting involved in projects where they can put their skills in practice, at the time that contribute to a social cause.
When thinking in how to help to develop Milaana´s Communication Strategy, that particular thing was in my mind…What makes us being here now? What are the things that moved us towards this kind of project? Why we think this project might be successful?
What we did: We used he Methodology of Storytelling, which is the use of stories or narratives as a communication tool to value, share and capitalize on the knowledge of individuals. Stories help us to connect with others and to explain complex or deep truths or emotions, in simple words. Stories can combine facts and data with emotions and fiction, to explain in symbolic narrated images how we feel and think about certain things.
The session gathered 6 members of Milaana around a table full of colorful papers and markers. First, participants were asked to tell a personal story around certain topics related to moments when they felt really proud of being part of something, or inspired by what was going on around them.
In this part of the session, we found two things:
- First, we started to see how similar values or feelings (connection, confidence, a greater cause, belonging) appeared in the different stories of the participants, and how they were aligned with Milaana´s values.
- Secondly, it was explained the meaning and importance of the “turning point” in the structure of a story. The turning point is the crucial moment when some change occurs, internaly or externally, for better or for worse, leading us (or the characters!) into some deep learning or insights.
In that sense, participants were asked to start thinking in the turning points that Milaana had as organization, or in Milaana as a generator of turning points in other people´s stories.
For the second activity, we switched the clock to a date in the future and tried to think in the stories that Milaana might be generating around…in students, organizations, our community…or the world! It was great to see how the group immediately took the role of “writers” and engaged in creating creative but perfectly feasible stories.
Once again, even when the stories were written in different styles and formats, similar values and thoughts appeared. Finally, stories were linked to the main words that Milaana currently uses to define itself, to show how those abstract words (connect /cause-driven organizations / impact placement) can be materialized in real stories of real people and organizations.
I am happy to hear that during the storytelling session people had fun and took advantage of the time and space to put aside for a moment the “strategic planner” mode (that is also, SO necessary), to open to others, think and connect with what they think, will be the final outcome of this project: young people aware of the change they can create in the world, with the tools, connections and information to achieve it.
Nelson Granja (Technology & Innovation Hero)
“In the session I could confirm the importance of how powerful it is to tell a good story to connect with people. That’s why it’s absolutely necessary for Milaana to tell that story because our vision is just that.. connect people. We could learn how the right questions, let you discover amazing things and how sometimes the ideas does not come to you naturally, but when you start to question yourself, share your thoughts and listen to other stories, ideas just flourish. Finally, every story was kind of different but at the same time they were magically aligned with Milaana’s vision. That was amazing and a very helpful insight for us.”
Angela T (Guest Communications/PR expert) “Veronica facilitated a fun and thought-provoking activity that highlighted how the values that drive Milaana resonate with each of us personally. It’s a good feeling to be involved in something you believe in, with people from diverse backgrounds who share similar ideals”
Ruth Bailey (Guest Communications/PR expert)
The “Storytelling Workshop” was a great vehicle to enable a group (with diverse backgrounds and experiences) to draw out some commonalities and shared values to build an emotive story to support their involvement with Milaana. Through the structured activities we were able to build a foundation for scripting a video for the crowdfunding platform.
Rahul Saxena (Corporate Engagement and Legal Hero) – “What we did at Milaana workshop was just amazing and an experience i always imagined and desired but never thought could be real. Veronica , the activity coordinator helped us all realise the hidden ambitions we have for Milaana. It helped us to think from a perspective I never thought before .
The day brought out ideas and most importantly a vision. We all had different ideas and perspectives, but our vision remained same… to see Milaana climb the heights. Our aims and ambitions for Milaana were the same. This vision is what will help us get people to believe in us and join us ..
People connect only when they see a vision… a dream…and i think we have it !!! Lets roll now !!! Thanks a lot Vero!!”