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Open Book Event

Connect because you can.

Intro

During the Tribe Certified training sessions, Stuart Knight spoke about asking questions that give people a chance to tell their story.  Everyone has stories to tell, but rarely do they get to tell them.  For that reason, why not have your very own Open Book Event? It's the perfect opportunity to provide either an unforgettable onboarding experience, or a deeper sense of belonging between those colleagues that choose to attend.

How does it work?

Steps for the Open Book Event

 

#1. For starters, this event works seamlessly as both an online and in person event.

#2. Send an email to all employees telling them you have chosen to run your very own Open Book Event. 

#3. If you are the manager of a new hire, we strongly encourage you to draw their attention to this experience, and ask if there are any themes from the list provided that resonate with them.  If they say yes, consider creating an Open Book Event that acts as a celebration of them joining the organization by choosing their preferred theme.  If that new hire participates with their own story, that’s a bonus!

#4. When setting a date for your event, be sure to cross reference potential conflicts in people’s calendars, while also ensuring that you give yourself enough time to promote.  We find 4-6 weeks usually gives you enough time.  The more notice you can give to your colleagues, the better.

#5. Ok, now it’s time to send out that internal invite to get other people excited.  To make that easy, below we have provided some copy that does just that, which you can blast out to your colleagues.  And feel free to tweak the copy however you see fit.

 

Invitation sample for Open Book Event

(Fill in the blanks)

Hey there!

 

I’m reaching out to invite everyone to a fun group experience called the Open Book Event, taking place __________.  As one of the resources offered by the Tribe Certified program, this event gives us the chance to share stories with each other that we might not otherwise get to hear.  It’s a great opportunity for all of us to enjoy some laughs, while gaining a broadened perspective on the lives of our fellow team members.  

 

The way it works is that people tell a true story about their life based on a specific theme.  The theme I have chosen is __________, and I would like to invite any of you reading this to consider being one of our upcoming story tellers.  You can read it from a screen, tell it off the cuff or even use a powerpoint presentation, if that’s what you want to do.  It’s your story to tell, and with this being an inclusive space, you can tell it however you like.  And they don’t have to be long.  In fact, your story should be between 5-8 minutes ideally.  Once the story is finished, the audience is allowed to ask questions, make comments, or even share a quick story of their own that’s related.

 

Again, the Open Book Event helps us learn about each other, have some fun, share meaningful connections, all the while giving us a break from the day to day details of work. I would be honoured to have you be one of the storytellers, and if not, I’d be just as happy if you showed up to root other people on.  Keep in mind that choosing to be a storyteller is an opportunity to stretch yourself in new and exciting ways, and you never know what you will get from the experience.

 

If you would like to participate as a storyteller at the Open Book Event, please send me a private message by ________________.  For the rest of you, I ask that you mark down the date of ___________, in your calendars now and keep an eye out for further information.

#6. After the invite has been sent, it will be your job to follow up with those who received it to encourage people to participate with a story, and to remind people to put the event into their calendar.

#7. The number of people sharing their story during your Open Book Event should be between 3-5 people.  With stories usually lasting between 5-10 minutes, and after incorporating audience questions and epilogues, your event will usually last between 60-90 minutes.

#8. After each story, as the leader of your own event, it will then be your responsibility to spend less than a minute sharing your thoughts on the story, and then turn it over to the audience for feedback.  

The first area of feedback will come in the form of questions from the audience about the story itself.  The second area of feedback will come in the form of audience members being given the chance to offer some sort of an epilogue.  In this case, an epilogue will consist of a quick comment or a short story in response to the original story that was just told.  After questions have been asked and answered, open up the discussion further by saying something like, “Did this story cause you to think of something that you would like to share or comment on.  As well, did this story remind you of a similar story that you would like to quickly tell the rest of the group?”  Doing this will broaden the experience, and create further engagement with those participating in your event.

#9. At your event, be sure to be organized with important things such as opening and closing comments, timing of presentations and facilitation with the audience.  In all cases, you want to keep things concise and to the point.  With respect to your opening and closing comments, keep them short, but enthusiastic, while using them to remind your audience why these events matter, and the benefits that come by having them.  

As for timing of presentations, be crystal clear with your storytellers that sticking to their allotted time is paramount to this being an enjoyable experience for everyone.  And finally, when facilitating responses from the audience, give them the same reminder about timing, while encouraging participation from everyone, and not just a few. 

#10. The day after your Open Book Event, it’s always a great idea to send one last email thanking everyone who attended, congratulating those who told stories and to entice others to produce their own event by sharing all the great things you got from the experience yourself.

Hot Tip #1

 

Reaching out to a few colleagues in advance asking them to chime in if others don’t speak up is never a bad idea.  Wink wink, nudge, nudge!

Hot Tip #2

 

Ask those who signed up to be storytellers to promote the Open Book Event to their fellow colleagues to help maximize attendance.

Wrapping up

You are now officially ready to run your very own Open Book Event.  A big congratulations to you for taking on this initiative, and for making the effort to help turn your team into a tribe.

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