This review originally appeared in the October 10, 2019 issue of The Content Technologist with the email subject line "5 ways to listen to your audience better" and some guidelines for conversation with your audience.

This week is The Content Technologist’s first dive into non-digital technology! Story Stitch is a card game… yep. But it’s an amazing conversation practice tool and a fantastic team-builder. And I define content technology as any tool that helps create — which Story Stitch most certainly does.

Note: I cowork with Story Stich’s publisher, Green Card Voices, and its Exec Director Tea Rozman-Clark spoke at the most recent Content Innovators Happy Hour. But I wouldn’t write about the tech if I didn’t love it.

Green Card Voices is a publisher that collects immigrant stories in their own words and distributes through full-color books. Their website also hosts videos of immigrants telling their own stories, and they’re launching a podcast before the end of the year. Their entire mission is predicated on listening and sharing stories as is.

The vision for Story Stitch: “to facilitate the exchange of stories between immigrants and refugees, and their new neighbors.” It’s a game that creates empathy and understanding through sharing common stories and can be used by all teams or unfamiliar groups of people to facilitate understanding.

Story Stitch at a glance

Visual review for Story Stitch features: Enables creativity and innovation, cutting-edge technolgy; at the one-time price of a cup of coffee for your team. This tool is finely tuned, team-oriented and intuitive.

Designed and workshopped by Green Card Voices with help from an ex-Ideo interaction designer, Story Stitch features a conversation prompt on each card. Prompts can lead to joyful stories (“Tell about a time when your life felt abundant”) or some that require you to dig a little deeper (“Tell about the last time you felt lonely.”) Players can also choose their prompt from the deck, so if you’re not feeling up to talking about loneliness, you can pass on that one.

Players don’t speak when someone else is telling a story; there’s no need to ask questions or interrupt with your own thoughts. The whole point is to listen, fully. At the end of the storyteller’s turn, players can play what are called stitch cards, where users can ask one question of the teller or respond to the story by building on it.

I’d recommend for any teams working together — especially content teams. Story Stitch would be a magnificent exercise in understanding a new audience. It’s simple to play and inevitably bonds all players. It’s not overtly political, but it’s extremely personal (and the personal is political, always). It requires players to emote and understand and, as the rules state, be brave and vulnerable. When I finished playing with others at my co-working space, I feel more whole. It’s an excuse and a reason to mindfully listen.

Rihanna holds up her hand to her ear, gesturing to an unseen audience, "I want to hear you." [gif]