When I was surrounded by a story-web…

The year is 2004. An excited and anxious 9-year old kid sits on her broadcast booth, along with her classmates stationed in their respective booths. It was the first day of English Lab, and it was going to be an on-spot narration session, that will be broadcasted to all the listeners in the room. A randomly picking of topic, the round-robin lot, and the kid gets — who’s your favourite author? First narration, yet with the weight of making the first best impression, the kid goes to explain not just Enid Blyton’s name, but ‘why’ the author makes her feel connected and helps her develop her adventurous ideas. Three minutes of narration, followed by applauds from classmates and teacher.

That day, as a kid, I realized stories are not just meant to be read or written — they can be orally spoken too.

Stories have always engulfed me in exploration. I love listening to people and stories contribute a lot to it. Sixteen years later, and now in the tech industry career that’s built on grandiose stories, my fascination never seems to cease.

Recently, I found myself inadvertently surrounded by a story-web. From the Netflix originals movie I watched two weeks back that showed the power of stories in changing people’s perceptions and giving longevity to a 100-year old Parsi café, to Marty Cagan’s ‘Mind the Product’ tech talk that covered the best traits of product managers not through accomplishments but stories of some leaders facing their bigger challenges — I started mapping out references.

Everything lies in a story.

I chanced upon Indranil Chakraborty’s Stories at Work (still in progress), and honestly, it’s been a swift journey so far. I can relate to the nuances of stories, specially how it plays a part in business and corporates. I understood stories isn’t always about storytelling — there’s story listening and even story triggering as concepts that define a person’s affiliation to stories. A learner since childhood, I can’t wait to see how far stories are going to take me. As a first move, I’m beginning to practise what Chakraborty marks as building a story-bank for one’s own reference, curating the stories that have deeply influenced me and will later be useful for my narration.

I’m sure I’d be picking up some habits from Chakraborty’s musings, and one of it was trying to incorporate stories during a presentation. Just as I raced into the story-mode as a kid, in my recent webinar on ‘Researching the Product Market,’ I started my session with a story of a real-life company and its success associated with product market research. I backed the theme, wrapping it up again in the end, with a set of short stories aka examples of companies. You know what? People pinged me stating they loved examples. Well, basically, they loved stories. Everyone loves stories, right?

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And, over the last two weeks, I acknowledged this story-web’s presence, and honestly, there’s a long way to go. I can’t wait to explore what more stories have got in store for me.