Our Guest and her Objects
Eva Snijders is of Dutch origin although she currently lives in Madrid. She has over 20 years of experience in the fields of PR and Communication, and is an internationally renown authority in Storytelling. In 2007 she founded the first company in the Spanish speaking world dedicated exclusively to organisational Storytelling and Transmedia. Today, she runs an international network of Marketing and Communication consultants specialising in change.
Snijders is a regular speaker at international events, an Ambassador for the Storytelling Centre in Amsterdam and member of the Committee at the World Communication Forum in Davos. These are her objects.
What are Europeans best at?
In all honesty, I couldn’t say. One of the things I like best about Europe as a continent is its tremendous variety of people, geography and culture. I love to get on a train and let myself be surprised by the ever changing landscapes. Then, get off at a random station and explore a village or town, trying new food, hearing new accents. From a communications perspective, do we not only know many different languages in Europe, we also have different communication styles. This may make it hard to understand each other at times, but it also teaches us to remain curious and flexible so we can discover each other’s perspectives.
Which person or place on earth surprises you the most?
I don’t tend to think in superlatives and am generally and genuinely surprised by each new person or place. One thing I have noticed over the years is that it can be very interesting to travel somewhere you have no expectations about. For instance, two years ago I was invited to speak at a conference in Kyiv (Ukraine). Practically the only thing I knew about the place before I got on the plane was that the country had been invaded by Russia and there had been riots. A local journalist was kind enough to take me on a long walk through town and show me the city though her eyes. I learned that it was founded in 482BC, which makes it one of the oldest cities in Europe. That it holds a metro station that is over a 100 meters under the surface. I was amazed by the visual contrast between the many orthodox churches topped by “golden onions” and the immense, grey Soviet buildings. And my guide made sure I learned an interesting fact or story about each site we visited, turning the trip into one I will always cherish.
What is the biggest professional lesson you’ve learned?
A good business partner is as hard to find as a good life partner.
What is your biggest professional challenge?
To become a true nomad.
A person who inspires you?
Any person who is willing to stand up for what they believe in and walk the talk. In my teens, I had posters of Chief Seattle, Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi on my bedroom walls. Today, I am often inspired by my clients who are determined to change their life or work and work their hearts out to make that happen.
If you could have a one year sabbatical, what would you like to learn?
If it were a true sabbatical and I could spend it in some remote destination, I would probably go and learn things like deep sea diving and surfing. I would definitely acquire some good old survival skills like starting a fire, determining a position using the sun, sewing or building a life craft…
But if I’d stay close to home I would probably go for it and spend the year building a house from scratch.
Things you are crazy about
Among the things you could wake me up for are: Italian ice cream (pistachio, hazelnut, chocolate flavours), Dutch liquorice (preferably salted) or a Yo Yo Ma concert (playing Bach’s cello concertos).
An object with a story
That’s an interesting one. My answer can only be: every object has a story. In one of my latest Storytelling workshops, I used that same line. And as usual, there was a lady in the room who was sceptical about my affirmation. Instead of trying to convince her, I dared her to name me any object and I would tell a story about it. I ended up sharing a story about the water bottle on her desk. Case made.
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