Eliciting Stories

What to do when someone doesn't tell their story ‘easily’.

Difficult conversations

Occasionally a conversation may be difficult: the Story Teller may not easily find their words or they may give very short answers. You may feel they don’t want to share their story or they are not comfortable with the subject.

Do not fill the silence

If the conversation is not flowing, try asking more open questions and see if they help. Be patient and try not to fill the silence yourself. The Story Teller may just need more time.

Share your feelings

If the conversation remains strained, you can share your feelings with the Story Teller. You can ask “I can see that it's not easy for you to talk about this, am I correct?”.

Change the subject

Or you can ask about their feelings and check if they are comfortable with the subject; “How do you feel about the subject?” or “ Is there another topic you'd rather talk about?”.