Why Story Slams?
Story Slam events provide an informal venue where people can share personal stories related to receiving or providing Right Care or wrong care, and why fighting for a better health care system is so urgent. Storytellers get some instructions on how long their stories should be and how to tell a great story. Story Slam Organizers just have to find some storytellers, a venue, a date, and invite an audience.
All the information on this webpage can be downloaded in this guide. Print it out for your reference or share with friends you think would be interested in hosting a Story Slam for Right Care Action Week!
Preparing for the Event
- Step 1: Sign up on rightcareactionweek.org to let us know you are hosting a Story Slam. Fill out the Event Registration Form (coming soon) to share the details of your event.
- Step 2: Find others who can help you plan this event. Leading this event as a group means less individual work for each person, and you get to pool the creativity and resources of colleagues and friends. Meet as a team to divide the tasks.
- Step 3: Invite your friends and colleagues to brainstorm together (over coffee or beer always helps) about people you know who would be good storytellers. The criteria that make for a good storyteller are charismatic, passionate about right care, and have the ability to tell stories versus whine about problems.
- Step 4: Find a venue. Any space will do—an auditorium in a school or university; a meeting space in a local place of worship; a big living room. Also, make a plan for food and drinks for your event attendees. Simple snacks and bottles of water should suffice.
- Step 5:With your brainstorm group, think of all of the individuals and groups you can think of to invite to attend the story telling. Send emails to listserves, but more importantly, send individual, personalized emails. Ask your friends, colleagues and acquaintances in person if they will come to the event. Make announcements in classes and meetings. Post fliers in hallways and cafes. Blast everywhere online and anywhere in real life you think might get attention for your event. Whenever you talk about the event, be clear about how people can RSVP. This is an easy step to skip over, but it’s important! You need to know how many people are coming so that you can plan.
- Step 6: Next, invite those natural storytellers to participate in the Story Slam. A sample invitation letter is provided below. They’ll need some guidelines for telling a great story. It’s not rocket science, but it always helps even the best storyteller to know what’s expected of them. The Guidelines for Storytellers can be found also be found below.
The Day of the Story Slam!
- Step 1: If people are going to flake out of going to an event, they usually make the decision 1-2 hours before the event starts. Make sure you send emails, texts, and even make phone calls reminding people and to come and telling them how excited you are that they will be there.
- Step 2: Set up fewer chairs than you think you need. A room with more people than chairs feels energized. A room with lots of chairs and few people feels hollow and empty, even if you have a lot of people! Unfolding more chairs right before the event starts is a good problem to have. Ensure A/V is functional in advance, and that everyone will be able to hear.
- Step 3: Assign somebody to be a photographer and take pictures! If you can do it, film the event.
- Step 4: As the event starts, pass around a sign-in sheet and make sure that everyone who attends fill it out. That way, you can get in touch with people after the event.
- Step 5: During the event, storytellers go up on stage one at a time to share their stories. Find an MC who can welcome everybody and introduce the storytellers. Stories should be between 5-10 minutes long. Consider asking people to send you their stories ahead of time, so that you can vet them and let people know if they need to make any edits.
- Step 6: After the event, keep track of the key themes and stories that emerge from each phone call. Fill out the Event Summary Form (coming soon).
- Overuse 101 Primer: http://lowninstitute.org/learn/overuse-101/#whatisoveruse
- Do No Harm Project: http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/medicalschool/departments/medicine/GIM/education/DoNoHarmProject/
- Teachable Moments Series: http://archinte.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=1741887
- Kevin MD on writing about patients: http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2010/02/telling-patient-story-issues-facing-physician-writers.html