A series of highlights from Emerge 2015 by University of Oxford Students. 

By Sarfaraz Hussain

The session was introduced by John Simmons of Dark Angels – an independent writer, storyteller and consultant, and was run by Jake Harriman of Nuru International. Jake is a former marine and now runs Nuru International an organisation which aims to end extreme poverty by holistically empowering communities to achieve self-sufficiency & to inspire people to confront crisis.

Jake told about his life as a marine how this influenced a sense that the world’s problems would not be solved on the battlefield alone, another approach was required. Jake told the story of how he came to start Nuru International and how the organisations work supports communities living in extreme poverty. By doing so, he became a living example of how storytelling can be used as an effective tool to describe situations and involve the listener in your work.

In Jake’s words ‘Stories enable personal expression’ which allows the listener to experience what you are saying through many different forms. When telling a story you must know the message you wish to convey. For any organisation the company’s purpose is the fundamental point of any business, thus the centerpoint of the story. You must be clear but expressive and allow the listener to feel the passion you have for the message you are delivering.
You don’t need to be a storyteller – but you do need a story to tell: ‘think what it is’ pressed Jake. We all have a story to tell, but we need to know what that story is. The same story or situation could have a different meaning or focus. You have to be able to pick out the points you wish to express to convince the audience in what you wish to tell them. Once this is honed, you can shed light and emphasise the strongest parts of a story. For instance, your career journey might have taken a while, but if you summarise it and focus on the key and interesting parts it can engage the audience and have a stronger impact on their thoughts then a story which is of great length and touches on key points without emphasis. The key is to keep the audience engaged and focused on the key message you wish to deliver.