I learnt to value stories early on in my career as a market researcher. Stories make connections. The feedback that gets missed in structured questions finds the open-ended spaces provided, in the form of stories. The relevance of qualitative research lies in the essence of the stories collected from the various consumer focus groups.
Marketers analyse these stories and ‘anti-stories’ to formulate suitable changes that improve the consumer experience. And convey that improved version to the consumer effectively. The companies that ‘listen’ to the stories of the consumers gain brand loyalty.
But a story has to be understood and remembered above all to make an impact. So, the technique of telling a story is far more important than the story itself for effective communication. The subject of this blog post is a book on storytelling - Stories at Work by Indranil Chakraborty.
In a nutshell
Stories at Work – Unlock the secret to Business Storytelling, is a non-fiction book authored by Indranil Chakraborty and published by Penguin Random House. Indranil Chakraborty is the founder of StoryWorks, a firm that helps organisations to convey messages with impact by using the powerful technique of storytelling.
This book is based on the author’s experiences of using storytelling to drive a point home with maximum impact. It is a very well-structured book that emphasizes the power of stories for businesses.
After briefly explaining the relevance of storytelling and the science behind it, the author goes on to describe the different patterns of stories, techniques and the situations in which these are effective.
About the Author
Indranil Chakraborty, the founder of StoryWorks India, has helped organisations and leaders harness the power of stories to create and deliver impactful messages.
He has trained more than 1500 senior leaders in over thirty organisations to be more effective in their communication. His clients include Accenture, Airtel, Asian Paints, Barclays, Cognizant, GSK Pharma, HCL, ICICI, Infosys, PepsiCo, Philips and the likes.
He has combined three qualities to pioneer business storytelling in India:
1. two decades of experience in leading teams and driving change at top firms like Unilever, Tata Group and Mahindra & Mahindra,
2. a love for stories and
3. the entrepreneurial bug.
Stories are an invaluable tool for persuasion and inculcation of values, so if your work requires you to convince others effectively, e.g. sales, marketing, content writer, and so on, then this book is for you.
If you aspire to lead a change, whether at work or in society, or launch a new product, you would benefit from building your skills of storytelling. You may read this book to understand how to make your story easily understandable and memorable to your listeners.
If you are looking for a light non-fiction read, you should consider this book because good storytelling skill will not just enhance your communication skills but also your persuasion power.
More about the book
The author uses an easy to follow language without unnecessary jargon. The book maps out a clear storytelling journey and has exercises for readers so that they apply what they absorb.
The ideal reader would be one who desires to communicate effectively in the corporate world. The techniques discussed in the book have been tried and tested by the author himself in the corporate world.
Still, I feel that the techniques discussed in the book are suitable for anyone who wishes to improve their communication skills.
Practical guidelines on storytelling and building your story bank. Emphasis is given to the importance of constructing a story library, accumulating case studies and building meaningful narratives for an emotional connect.
The book intends to engage its readers beyond the usual reading, as space is provided to note down ideas as part of brief exercises.
(Excerpt from the book and links to buy below the image)
Link to buy Amazon (Associate link)
Excerpt from the book
This book is designed to take you from being a believer of the power of stories to a seasoned user of stories in business, first by introducing you to the various elements of story work and then sharing with you the process you can use to unlock this enormous potential.
However, to do that I must first shift a belief most people have about stories. Imagine that you are one among ten people sitting in a conference room waiting for a very important meeting to start and someone in the room says ‘let me tell you a story’. Pause and think about what would be the first thing that would go through your mind. Take a minute.
If you are like 95 per cent of the 1500-plus senior leaders that I have run into during my workshops, your first thought would be along the line—‘why is he wasting our time’, ‘it’s time to be serious’, ‘what an idiot’, ‘has he not prepared for this’, ‘how long will this take’ or ‘why do I have to listen to it’. Very few of you, the 5 per cent, would say ‘I want to know what he has to say’ or ‘I hope it is interesting.’ That is the barrier stories face in business.
Most of you who have been in sales, and many of you who have not, would have at some point in time in the past been told by your boss ‘Kahaani mat batao!’ (Don’t tell me a story), when you were genuinely trying to explain the real reasons behind why something didn’t happen. Most people label stories as being made up, something to be used for entertainment or something usually for children.
While this myth will surely be shattered as we journey through the book, it would be useful to introduce you to my definition of business storytelling. Story is a fact. What we will do is wrap it in context and deliver it with emotion.
You might ask, ‘Can’t stories be created or made up?’
Of course they can, but not in this book and definitely not in the world of business. ‘Can’t I borrow from mythology?’ Of course you can if you have a huge memory bank for mythological stories and know how to connect them to business. But not in this book. In this book, and in the work I do, we will stick to stories being facts. After all, the currency of business is a fact.