Once upon a time … I didn’t “do” social media. But when I started Storlietelling LLC, many colleagues urged me to venture into this virtual world. For a few months, I forced myself to spend 10-20 min/day with social media. I focused on LinkedIn—customized my newsfeed, joined Discussion Groups, and commented on intriguing content. Eventually, I found my voice and started to look forward to surfing social media with my morning tea.
Then one day, Claire Taylor, a lovely Irish woman who lives in the UK, commented on one of my story posts and sent me a personalized invitation to join her LinkedIn network. Claire’s warm smile jumped out of her LinkedIn profile and drew me into a bigger world of business storytelling. Through Claire, I patched into valuable online conversations. When Claire’s book, The Tao of Storytelling, was released, I ordered it immediately.
“I’ve found a new soul mate,” I thought as I read her book. Her stories spoke to me. We had shared experiences as the second oldest in a family of five, with our next siblings only 17-18 months younger. We had both cherished thumb-sucking; being forced to quit had traumatized us as young girls. After leadership roles in large corporations, working on health communications, we both had found our way into consulting and storytelling. The parallels were uncanny. I wrote her an email detailing how her book had resonated with me and expressed my hope to meet her in person some day. Claire wrote back, “Yes one day we’ll meet-up I’m sure… I’d like that too!”
Over the next couple years, Claire and I stayed in touch via social media, email, and Skype. Then one day, I got an invitation to speak at the “1000 and Your Story” Conference in Vilnius, Lithuania. The conference planners were seeking a third international speaker, ideally from Europe, so I immediately recommended Claire. She said, “Yes,” and our Lithuanian adventure began.
From the minute we met in Vilnius, we were never short on topics to discuss. We shared personal and professional stories. Our online relationship blossomed into a friendship. Over a goodbye hug, we looked at each other and agreed to meet again. Our story has just begun.
“How We Met” from Claire’s Perspective
“I had the crazy notion to bring storytelling into business. Having trained as a storyteller and set up The Story Mill, I was looking for kindred spirits. Social media made the perfect play ground. One day a blog post by Jean Storlie caught my eye. Her words and tone of voice resonated and prompted me to follow her blog. So I invited Jean to connect on LinkedIn and join The Business of Storytelling, a LinkedIn Group I’d created. She accepted. Shortly after I published The Tao of Storytelling in 2013, an email from Jean took me by surprise. Jean had read my book and written to share what echoed with her. Our life experiences were uncannily similar despite living on different continents. I realized that Jean is more than a kindred spirit in storytelling—she is a soul sister. We chatted like old school pals when we finally met in Vilnius, and as we said goodbye we made a pact to continue our friendship and do more storytelling work together. So watch this space.”
—By Claire Taylor