Sharing Through Facts & Anecdotes
This next lesson is all about you sharing about who you are because a big part of being inclusive is understanding what you have in common with people and what makes you and other people that you're around, whether it's in your social circle or at work, different, and respecting and valuing both sides of that. So, in this particular exercise, called Facts and Anecdotes, we're going to, in a lot of respects, mirror the activity of what we did when we were doing I Am Sammy And I Am Here. We're going to walk around, kind of mill about this area. But it's gonna be a very similar experience, where you're going to, at certain points, take the floor, take the focus, and share something about yourself. So we started out with some training wheels, in a lot of respects, earlier, even though it probably, for some of you, took a little bit of courage just to do that. Just to state your name and say that you're here. But now you've had that experience and you know that we're in a safe environment, ...
we're gonna just share a little bit more. What you're going to share are those two things. Facts and anecdotes. And the way I'm going to define those, fact is something that's true about you, and then, anecdote is something that either happened to you, or it's something you think is kind of true about you, but it's really hard to validate whether it is or not. So what you're gonna do is you're gonna walk around, at a certain point you're gonna stand and say, "Fact." And so fact for me might be, "Fact, I've lived in San Francisco since 2004." And then anecdote, I might stop and say, "Anecdote, I have terrible handwriting!" As I kind of pointed out earlier, and Kimberly said, "No, you don't!" But that's how I feel, and she maybe feels differently, just to make me feel better, but thank you.
I was just being polite.
Yeah, thank you. If CreativeLive does courses on handwriting, I will take those. But that's just two really simple examples. So we're just gonna mill about. I would love for each person to at least share one fact or anecdote, but bonus points if you choose to share a fact and an anecdote. You don't have to share anything incredibly personal about yourself. Just simple, true! As true as it can possibly be. The anecdote, again, is your own kind of, I guess, perspective on yourself. So does that make sense? Perfect. So let's all stand up.
I may have missed this, but so, when someone speaks, we pause and we give them our attention?
Just like we did in the earlier exercise?
Same as we were doing earlier, when someone says "fact", you're just gonna hear "fact" or "anecdote", that's gonna be, like we were saying earlier, you felt the need to maybe say, "excuse me" or "pardon me". That's gonna be your "excuse me" or "pardon me". You're gonna say "fact" or "anecdote". That's gonna stop us in our tracks, we're gonna give that person attention, and we're gonna learn something about them. And I want you to also take into account how you feel when someone shares, because undoubtedly, they're gonna share something that is also true for you, or it is the exact opposite of who you are, and that's gonna be wonderful. Because that's gonna start to build those little bridges between you and every single person. So just start milling about, and let's do it. And I'll try to keep score in my head of everyone. I'll also strike this. This will go into that hot tub that's off-camera.
Fact! I was born in Florida.
Fact, I have studied Olympic fencing.
Fact, I have one younger sister living in Washington, D.C.
Fact, my grandfather was born in Lithuania.
Now, I'm just going to do a little side-coaching there. Thank you for sharing that, Jonathan, but make sure the fact is about you, a little more closely. But that is something that is definitely personal to you, so thank you for sharing.
Fact, I live in the forest.
Hm! I have so many questions! (quiet laughter)
Anecdote! I saw Star Wars, the original, in the theater 16 times when I was five. I know, wow! (quiet chuckles)
I'm a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Do you want to give us your anecdote?
Anecdote. My computers were hacked by a hacker on the FBI's Most Wanted list.
Fact. My last name name means "soup" in Czech, and "to water, or make things grow" in Ukrainian. Thank you Irina. (everyone laughs) Fact correction. The process of watering, thanks Irina. (quiet laughter)
Just do a couple more, thank you for sharing.
Anecdote. I am a little directionally-impaired, and so I feel anxious often when I'm navigating new places.
Anecdote, I'm with you.
And another plus-one. I have absolutely no idea where I am. Just right now, or any other time. Give ourselves a round of applause. Alright, take a seat, let's talk about that really quickly. So, wonderful, thank you for sharing.
We didn't get to hear from everybody, did we? Or did we hear from everybody?
Yeah, we did.
At least one thing, a fact or an anecdote, oh great.
So really quickly, what did it feel like to share something about yourself and know that everyone was going to give you attention and you were gonna be heard and you were gonna tell them something that was about you? Was that scary, did it feel nice to be acknowledged?
It was a little scary.
Little scary? Why did it feel scary for you, Jonathan?
Just to know what to say. I think, it didn't feel, I wasn't improvising, I was trying to plan.
Yeah, yeah. I think sometimes when we want to share something with other people that maybe we don't know already, we're searching for the perfect thing, or the most impressive fact about us. And you're trying too hard to make an impression. And all we really want to know is something. And I think that's a big lesson to take from this exercise and how you also approach, slowly but surely, sharing who you are with others, and letting them feel comfortable sharing with you. As if there doesn't have to be any expectations on what they share, as long as you both make it safe and something that they want to tell you. It doesn't have to be this thing that blows your mind, that no one's ever said before.
We all forget how interesting we are, right? Because we've lived in our own bodies and our own lives, so we forget how fascinating little, small tidbits are to other people. And the connections that are made. Something as small as "I'm directionally-impaired", other people were like, "Oh yeah, me too!" Now there's a connection that's made from something that's relatively small.
How did it feel, what was your experience hearing other peoples' facts and anecdotes? Did it make you want to respond in a certain way? Did it make you feel differently about that person, maybe? Raise your hand, yeah?
It made me feel closer to them. And, like, this group has been bonding over the last couple of days, or since yesterday, and I just keep liking everyone more and more as I learn new things. (laughing) So it's like, ooh, another little thing to love about this new person. It's cool, it felt really good.
It was interesting to know several things, and it's like a starting point for the conversation. And what Jon was sharing kind of made sense to me, based on the conversation that we had yesterday, which could be another conversation, and I think it was, many people were like, oh, I would love to ask more about this, or I would like to learn more about that.
You had something?
Along with what both of them said, it made me feel comfortable, I wanted to learn more. And at the same time, share more. It's just the beginning of a conversation, as you said, so I agree.
I always find it so hard not to get to ask follow-up questions, right? Like someone says something to me, and then I want to know more! So I think that is a great opportunity to know, then, I get to ask you those questions at the break! Or I get to ask you those questions at lunch. So now I have something that I want to know even more about.
We'll get more into this in another class that we're doing on narrative, but just like with Storytelling, Facts and Anecdotes are experience you've had or things that have happened to you, or what make you you, characteristics, if you may. And I really want you to think about how you are a multitude of those, and that, if you can just be comfortable sharing a handful, an exercise that we play in another class called Three Things is great training wheels, like, what are three facts, what are three anecdotes? Know that we're all mysteries and we're all curious about each other, and if you can just share something with new people, whether it's, you moved to another city or country, or you get another job, or you're in a new relationship, it's simple how we build connections with people. And I really want you to listen to people when they share those things, too. Because even though you might feel completely different, I'm sure there are people in the room that don't have any trouble with directions or navigating. But the three of us, now, are kindred spirits because of that, because I don't know where I parked my car. I just, it's somewhere over there.