When you pitch your solutions to a new customer, you’re telling a story. When you deliver instructions to a team or educate a classroom, you’re telling a story. When you build a PowerPoint presentation for your next sales review, you’re telling a story. When you sit down for a job interview and the recruiter asks about your previous experience, you’re telling a story. When you craft an email, write a blog or Facebook post, or record a video for your company’s YouTube channel, you’re telling a story. But there’s a difference between a story and a good story. Unlike the former, the latter builds trust, boosts sales, and inspires people to dream bigger.
They say data is the new oil in the 21st century. True that. But ideas are more important because they are the engines of growth. In the information age, the knowledge economy, we are only as valuable as our ideas. Story is the means by which we transfer those ideas to one another. And Good Storytelling is the act of framing an idea as a narrative to inform, illuminate, engage and inspire. Backed by data, fused with analogy plus metaphor and delivered with passion without committing itself to cliches, it is possible to transform an idea into a good story that will sell on its own.
But can it create valuable virality that can be sustainable over the years? I call this the acid test. My favourite example from popular culture is the Hindi film Sholay. We remember so many little sequences from it, whether it be the many comedic interludes, the action set-pieces, the dramatic high moments, the struggles against adversities, the tragic consequences, the different shades of romance— all of these have an individual existence apart from being a part of the film. As a mark of distinction, it uses the feudal backdrop, without committing itself to the codes that usually govern rural representations. Right across the eras- from the analog to the digital, this "living idea" has spawned countless imitations and tributes in the form of myths, memes and meta references. In perfect sync with the film’s poster that prophetically summed it up as the “greatest story ever told”.
We will come across a lot of new faces when we are back. Here is a list that will help you get acquainted with their names as of now: