|Behold the map of my mind (terrifying thought)|
Lately I’ve been getting terribly excited about The Great Bath Feast, which is a brilliant festival that runs for the length of October and celebrates food in Bath. Most of the events I’ve been attending have been all about a fabulous meal, but yesterday I tried something a little different – a workshop set up by food branding specialists The Collaborators, and run by Bristol Story, actors and experts in all aspects of storytelling.
I’ve got to confess right now that I was a little wary of the concept of working with professional actors on my brand storytelling. I wondered if it might be a little bit… hippy. But I’m delighted to admit that I was totally wrong, and it was actually a brilliant day.
By lunchtime, we’d worked up a good appetite, so it was lucky that we were working in the upstairs bar of the Bath Brew House, because they quickly rustled up a fabulous meal – boards laden with spit-roast chicken, pulled pork, sausages, homemade baked beans, different salads, nachos and deep fried avocado – I kid you not. After a cup of tea (served in the most beautiful china, naturally) and a biscuit, we got stuck in with a physical warm-up, and then throughout the morning we worked through various exercises to help us draw out different parts of our brand story. Each time, we then talked it through with a different partner, who identified the most interesting and memorable points we’d made. We all agreed that lots of those points came as a surprise to us – it’s great to get an outside opinion on what’s most captivating about your story!
Thus replenished, we cracked on with the serious part of the day – drawing out the emotional parts of our stories, and then bringing it all together. Some of us were a bit hesitant about getting vulnerable, but actually once the stories came together, you could clearly see how a bit of emotional weight made all the difference in holding your audience’s attention. Before we performed, though, Bristol Story subjected us to their own special brand of torture – standing in front of a crowd of people in total silence, and staring them down for thirty seconds. Half a minute has never felt so long – but it was a great way to shake off any nerves about speaking to a crowd, as nothing is worse than having nothing to say!
Although the workshop was aimed more at food brands than writery types like myself, it was a properly valuable experience that I feel will make a real difference to how I present Sal’s Kitchen in the future. I’d heartily recommend future events by The Collaborators and the lovely BristolStory – click their names to find out more about both of them.