Stories Aren’t Just for Bedtime

I am Nishtha Goel, participant in the 2016 Rivers and Ranges Community Leadership Program. I started the program in February and it has been an amazing journey. We were taught the importance of Storytelling in one of early program days, which has stuck with me.

On 13th September 2016, we had the Victorian Regional Community Leadership Programs (VRCLP) combined program day which was attended by around 150 participants.

As I reflect on this day, I am surprised to see how I used the art of storytelling to make new connections even though it was not deliberate at all. I believe that people respond to stories with their emotions and it inspires them and they remember. It is also important to follow up with your new connection in the form of email or social media or other forms of communication for effective networking.

What is my story?

I am a Chartered Accountant, Certified Practising Accountant, and ex-Deloitte employee. I went on a career break in July 2015 due to many reasons, one of them being to get a clear view of my life and explore myself. Sounds funny but it is true. Before this time, I always wondered how people found the time and passion for community work. In August 2015, I joined a local community association and started advocating for local community issues e.g. roads, public transport, safety, schools etc. I also started organising events for the community like coffee and chats, moonlight cinema, fundraisers, etc. The biggest event was a multicultural festival. This event was attended by nearly 600 people and we got great feedback from the community.

Australia is a multicultural society, however there are a lot of issues that we deal with on daily basis e.g. domestic violence, mental health, homelessness etc. I strongly believe that there should be opportunities where we can celebrate together and be happy. An event that is inclusive of all, is cost friendly and attractive. That’s was my experience with the multicultural event, I organised. To this day people are asking me when will be the next one will be. 

What my storytelling led to on September 13, 2016?

I feel privileged as I got a chance to connect with so many great leaders during the course of the day.

Jason Clarke-Speaker-Director, Minds at work: I cannot forget Jason. He is such a great speaker. And each and every word it seemed just resonated with my life experiences. I was lucky enough to spend some time with him over lunch.

Storytelling doesn’t have to be in full each time. With Jason, I used the first 2 lines of my story and there you go…Jason gave me his mobile number on his serviette and asked me to call him. Jason is my next phone call.

Luke Chilcott (Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, participant): I met Luke during afternoon tea. Again after approximately a 3 minute conversation, where we shared our stories, I found out that Luke runs his own business in social media advertising. He listened to me and suggested that I should use my events management passion and work on growing this. He suggested that his leadership team (like every other leadership team) organises so many events that if there is an event to be organised his leadership team he could come to me for free consultation and that way our connection continues to foster. This connection will open doors for me to connect with people which could help me to pursue my passion in a more productive way. Wow… I am grateful to Luke about how you actually thought of and indeed offered to help me during that conversation.

Shane Tucker (Alpine Valleys Community Leadership Program, Participant) and Paul McNamara (Leadership Great South Coast): I met Shane and Paul during Helga Svendsen’s session on practical advocacy. While working in our group, we told our story one by one. It was great to see how we opened up to each other and gave suggestions on each other’s issues. For me, apart from very good advice, I received insights and offers of a NFP Governance and performance study manual along with support on my next event which is a dinner fundraiser for beyondblue as mental health is a big issue and cause that Shane’s organisation supports.

Andrew Cameron (Leadership Great South Coast): Our storytelling to each other resulted in something common again. As part of their leadership program project, they are developing a mental health app and I am organising a fundraiser for beyondblue. We discussed our passion to make a difference in mental health.

There were so many more connections that I made, I could just keep writing.

It was great to see that each one of us is advocating for our community in one way or the other.

All these connections has made me more enthusiastic, motivated and passionate about the work that I am already doing whilst striving to achieve the best for my community.

Storytelling is a very important leadership tool. Stories are compelling as they allow us to express our real life experiences. It is a profound way to connect with people. I encourage you all to Try it…

Nishtha story.jpg


Kat Baddeley

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