Some Tips for Your Partner
(1) Your job as a partner is to help the storyteller tell their stories using the format described. You should look over this exercise from the beginning in order to understand what it's about and how it works.
You play an invaluable role in helping the storyteller tell their stories! You take pressure off them by helping them do this process. The fact is, most people find this exercise a bit daunting, and perhaps even intimidating. They’ve never done anything like this before, and they worry that they’re going to do it “wrong.” You can be a support by reassuring them and helping them follow the instructions given.
(2) As you listen to each story, write down some of the key words the storyteller uses, especially:
• Action words (verbs). For example: planned, taught, evaluated, read, built, arranged, etc.
• The things or people the storyteller worked on, with, or through. For example: dog, team, machine, guitar, idea, etc.).
If the storyteller hans't already done so, copy off eight of those pages and use them to record the details of each story.
(3) Help the storyteller be as specific as possible. Don’t let them be vague. Probe for more details by asking questions such as:
• “How did you do that?”
• “What do you mean by that?”
• “Tell me more about that?”
• “Can you give me an example?”
• “What would I see you doing?”
(4) Don’t ask leading questions.
Not: “It sounds to me like you planned the meeting.”
But: “What do you mean when you say you ‘set up the meeting?”
(5) Don’t make personal interest comments.
Not: “A cruise! I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise! What cruise line did you go with?”
But: “You went on a cruise? Tell me more about that.”
(6) When you get to the question, “What was the satisfaction in doing this activity?” listen carefully to what the storyteller tells you.
• Try to record their exact words as much as possible.
• Ask whether what they’re saying makes sense to you. Can you understand what the real satisfaction was? If not, ask a follow-up question to help the storyteller be more specific.
• “I’m not sure I understand. Tell me a bit more about what was so satisfying.”
• “I can see that you liked doing it. What was it that you liked about doing it? How would you describe that satisfaction?”
• “Okay, so you felt like what you did was something no one had ever accomplished before. What exactly was satisfying about that?”
(7) Whatever you do, don’t make value judgments.
Not: “You seem to always want to come out on top. Don’t you think that’s a bit controlling?”
But: “What was most satisfying to you about coming out on top?”
(8) Never ask “why?”
Not: “Why did you join the swim team?”
But: “How did you get involved in joining the swim team?”
Not: "Why were you the one who ended up organizing the trip?
But: "Tell me more about what you did to organize the trip."
Not: "Why was it important for you to feel like you understand what she was saying?"
But: "Describe for me what was satisfying about understanding what she was saying."