About the Guest Transcript

Indranil Chakraborty

Storytelling has been revered as one of the most important skills since it ensures you leave an impact on the listener and communicate effectively. This is the reason "Business Storytelling" has been doing rounds in the corporate world at a time when attention spans have become that of a goldfish. It is with this skill that great leaders and businessmen have stirred entire workforces to build something big and sustainable. We discuss this skill with a veteran who is in the business of teaching business storytelling to the top management to help them reach and leave an impact across the organization. Tune in to this episode to learn why business storytelling works and how can you become better at it.
Indranil Chakraborty is a seasoned professional. He is the Founder at StoryWorks, an organization which helps companies harness the power of effective storytelling. Among his previous stints, he was the Chief Marketing Officer at Mahindra Holidays & Resorts and the Global Brand Director at HUL.


Indranil(00:00) -
And then we'll join you. Right? So boss said okay, and he says sir when both of us reached the hotel where the party was supposed to be on the terrace. We found that

Shubham(00:09) -
Kahaniya or stories has always been something that I've had the fondest memories of in my life. My grandmother's Bedtime Stories or my father reciting them to me from books for the first time is the world of fantasy, or distant realities was introduced to me. They probably impacted me so much that I started this podcast all around stories. But what is the real power of stories? We have someone with us who is an expert at it. indranil Chakraborty, the author of the book, stories at work, and founder of story works, a company which helps leaders in organizations harness the power of storytelling to make their communications both internally and externally more impactful. So I'm sure there's a there's going to be a lot of stories and storytelling today. Namaste I'm Shubham Aggarwal and you're listening to SOS secrets of storytellers. Welcome to yet another episode. Today's episode is sponsored by IBS Hyderabad club prayers, the official interview school and corporate event club of IBS Hyderabad they organizing C-Suite 4.0 by skilling India. Lots of fun, lots of contests and prizes to be won. Check out our website for more details. Hello Indranil and welcome to secrets of storytellers. How are you?

Indranil(01:29) -
I'm good Shubham, Thanks for having me.

Shubham(01:32) -
Great. Pleasure to have you here. So I'm really intrigued to know your story to start with, and there's a lot of story and storytelling, I believe in the episode today. How did you land in the profession of stories and storytelling,

Indranil(01:45) -
Actually, serendipity serendipity as you figure it out, through the conversation is one of my best friends. So I stumbled into things in life. And so I was in 2011. In in club Mahindra, I was the chief marketing officer there. And it turned out to be my last role. I had worked for 19 years till 2011. And in 2011, at Club Mahindra, we are reinventing the whole organization. So new strategy, new vision new mission, and one of them was our new credo credo as in why you come to work every day. And our new credo was making every moment magical. Okay. And we said, okay, how do you get 5000 people all across the country, from housekeeping boys in Manali to, to the receptionist in maybe go out to the Chief Operating Officer back in Bombay? How do you get all of them on the same page? and delivering these magical moments? Yeah, so we need to give them some guidelines for behavior. So we had guidelines, for example, like, no room for ordinary, okay, why? Because ordinary can't be magical, right? Right. What do I mean by guidelines for behavior? These are values, organizations have values. And unfortunately, in most companies, including ones that have worked in, they become a poster on the conference room. And so I didn't want it to become a poster in the conference room, I was saying, how do you get something abstract? And make sure that everyone across the country understands it? Well? Yeah. And so that's when in my search to figure out how to do it, because the usual things don't work, which is, you know, doing workshops, printing t shirts, you know, or screen savers. And so, what I stumbled into was that stories are a great way to convert something abstract into something concrete. Yeah. And if you can collect stories from the organization, which you think is a great display of that value, and then tell that story back to people, they will then get it. Yeah. Now, I'm not going to repeat the club Mahindra story because it is probably there in many other podcasts. It's, it's the one that starts my book. It's the one that starts our YouTube channel. But I'm going to use another example. So that we have a new story on that. That'll be great. Yeah. So I was working with this company, which is in the pharmaceutical sector, and they had values like transparency, respect, integrity, and patient focus, right? Yeah. big words again, and typically what companies do is they use more English words to explain one English word.

Shubham(04:29) -
Yeah, common wins across organizations, I guess. Yeah.

Indranil(04:31) -
And so when I started talking to the senior leadership there, they said, yeah, we get what you're trying to say. But perhaps that is the problem, but two of our values, but not for two others. So I said, I'm curious, what do you mean by that? They said, you know, transparency may be a problem. The people may have difficulty understanding, respect and integrity. That's very common. Everyone gets it. And patient focus, maybe that's so maybe we should use your technique of collecting stories, and then sharing the stories on these two. Okay. Yeah. So I said, you know, my luckily I knew some of those guys from earlier. So I said, you know, can you pardon my audacity and ask two of your colleagues, anyone find one Junior one middle level, okay to walk in? And I'm gonna ask them some question. Yeah. So the junior guy walks in, I didn't want to embarrass him by saying, what are your values? So I said, you know, your values are ABCD. And I'm going to talk about respect. Can you give me an example of respect in this organization? Have you ever seen it? You know, of course Sir, I've seen it just last year. So I said, you tell me tell me what happened. And he says, You know, I finished my target in week, 52 weeks before the year end. Yeah, my my boss's boss called me and congratulated me. He treated me with so much respect. Okay. The boss's boss did a good thing. Yeah. But that is called recognition. Not respect. Correct? Yeah. Yeah. Not only are we not English speaking, community means it's an abstract word, right? Even if you go to go to some of the biggest companies in the world, English speaking, you know, mother tongue communities and ask them word respect, they will have three different reasons. So two examples. Now, what is a value? Value is nothing but a guideline for behavior. Right? You can't have multiple guidelines for the same behavior. Correct? You have to have one guideline. And so if this guy thinks that respect is that, then you obviously taken him down the wrong path. Correct. So he left and I said, Okay, let's get someone middle level because that Junior guy, poor guy, yeah. Interesting. Yeah. He's gone. He's gone through his induction program, where values was a section, but poor guy, let him go. So we got this lady who was a middle level manager. And I'll never forget this because I asked her the same question. I said, Ma'am, have you ever seen respect in this organization? And her eyes teared up a little? And she said, Sir, it is because of respect. I will never leave this organization. Okay. Yeah. I said, Well, what happened? she said, Sir, two years ago, my father suddenly died. He was just 50. I'm the only daughter and my mother was very distraught. So I walked up to my boss and said, Can I can I take two days off? And then two more days? I'll work from home. Yeah, my boss said, Yeah, go ahead. But my colleagues, they would have nothing for it. They took away my laptop. And they called each of my doctors and said, if there's any trouble for the next seven days to call them, and told me to just focus on my mother for seven days, they treated me with so much respect. I'm not going to leave this organization. And again, the colleagues did a good thing. very wonderful thing. Yeah. But that's called empathy. That is not respect. Good. Right. And so so that's when the senior leadership understood that, just because you think you understand, it doesn't necessarily mean everyone and get it. Nine out of 10 companies have the word integrity there. Right. Yeah. Now, and I think it's most often looked at as I will not give bribes and I will not take bribes. Yeah. And that's about it. Because the number of companies where I've seen a presentation with a watermark. Yeah. Is is huge. But isn't that lack of integrity? The guy who took that picture with you download it from the internet, he put a watermark because he wants to be paid for his effort, which is bad. Yeah, yeah. But you just took that picture, and you've got the watermark, and you're presenting to the senior leadership. No one has questioned your integrity. But isn't that integrity? Yeah. So then, when we go about collecting, and I'll go back to this company. And and we got this this example, when I was talking to a bunch of sales guys in medical reps right, in Hyderabad. And I was asking the same question. I mean, have you ever seen respect and guy said Sir let me  share an example that happened two years ago, or maybe it was about a year ago, and we were having a meeting, our monthly meeting, and our boss had come from Bombay, okay. And during the meeting, he announced the promotion of one of my colleagues. We and we are really excited, but it was also announced that he's going to move to Bombay the very next day. Okay, so we said the only day we have to give him a farewell would be tonight. Yeah, so after the sales meeting, let's go and have dinner together and give him a farewell. But this was during Ramzan, okay, right? I'm a Muslim. So and one of my colleagues is also Muslim. So we walked up to the boss and said, boss, after the meeting, you guys go to the hotel. Yeah. And you start the celebrations. And we'll go and, you know, break our fast do we start? And then we'll join you. Right. So boss said, Okay. And he says, sir, when both of us reached the hotel, where the party was supposed to be on the terrace, we found that the whole team was sitting and waiting in the lobby. Because they didn't want to start the party without us. Yeah. Now, to me, that is a form of respect. You respect someone else's religion who needed to go. You didn't say, Hey, listen, yeah, you left your problem. Yeah. So it's not one story, you need to have multiple stories to collect it from the company and use then select them and put them back into the system. Hmm, yeah. So this is exactly what I did back in at Club Mahindra. And that's when I saw magic happen. I wouldn't say 100. But over the next few weeks and months, I started getting stories from across the company, of each of those behaviors being lived. And you'll find some of the stories as I said in the book. And that's when I realized that this is this is a powerful thing to do. And what a lovely place to be when all you have to do is tell stories and listen to stories. So that's how story work started

Shubham(10:32) -
Indeed, that is powerful. And I think, if I may say that, do you really need questions? Or can you just go on and share stories and things that you have had in your experience?

Indranil(11:02) -
No questions would be nice.

Shubham(11:03) -
So Indranil your book stories at work is about how do we make communication at work impactful. And we heard while you were describing a lot of stories, which is now our stories at work any different than say, you know, telling a story to a friend or a grandmother a bedtime story, or reciting a fictional story or the other different?

Indranil(11:24) -
Yeah, so somewhat. Let me break this question in two parts. What is different for stories in business? And what is different for storytelling in business? Okay, yeah. So when you talk about stories in business, the three things that have to be there and usually not as relevant in casual storytelling is it should be factual. It should be relevant. It should be brief. Let me take each of them. factual isn't stories in business need to be real? Now, does that mean that a Maulana Naseerudin story does not have a message? Of course it does. Yeah. So why do I insist on real stories? In fact, my definition for stories in business is, stories are facts. What I help organizations and leaders to do is wrap the facts in context and deliver the fact with emotion. Okay, now, why do I do that? Why, why am I so finicky about facts? Now? Because stories have a bad name in business. And many of us have been told by our boss, when we are answering a question, say Kahani mat batao. But yeah, tell me the truth. Yeah. Which means kahaani is a bad thing, right? Kahaani mat batao tell me the truth. Now, where does that come from? Where does that come from? It comes from our definition of stories and our definition of business. So what is our definition of stories? stories are usually made up? Correct. Stories are usually for children. What do you first think of when you say stories? You say, children, you started this podcast with stories from your childhood? Correct. And three, you think about stories as entertainment. Hmm. Your grandmother and parents etc. told you to keep you busy to keep you entertained? Yeah. Right. So stories are made up. They are for children. They're for entertainment. Look at what is business? Exactly the three opposite. Yeah, it is not made up. It has to be factual. And it is not about children. It's about adults. And it is not about entertainment. serious stuff. Yeah. And because the way we have defined stories, we believe that Oh, if you're saying stories, Kahani mat batao means what? Don't waste my time and don't make it up. Correct. Because we are in that place. If I'm going to train someone to be a good storyteller. I don't want people to say he's a great storyteller. Yeah, in fact, storytelling in business needs to be invisible. What do I mean by that? People shouldn't be sitting in awe. That's a story. Oh, that's a strategy. Now. That's a story. Yeah, you can't have that it. It has to be seamless. So the first is it needs to be factual. Okay. Yeah. The second it has to be relevant. Why are you telling that story? Because you're trying to drive home a point in business. Yeah. So you can't just tell a story for the sake of telling a story. You're telling a story so that you are passing a message. The third thing is it has to be brief. You don't have all the time in the world, you've got 90 seconds or 120 seconds. So that's how you need to finish your story. So you need to learn how to make your stories brief. Yeah. So you know, now how is it different? So if that is what is business storytelling, which is factual, relevant brief? How's it different in casually when you're talking to a friend or in a restaurant or whatever? You don't have to be factual. You can tell a made up story. It doesn't have to be relevant. You could just say, Hey, you know what, I heard a great story. Yeah. I'm just gonna share a great story I heard Why are you telling the story, just because it's a great story. And that's perfectly fine. But in business, you can sort of in the middle of the meeting, say, Hey, I'm going to tell you a great story. I don't know what it has to do with the rest of the conversation, but it's a great story. And when you're having dinner or at the bar having a drink, how does it matter if the story takes 10 minutes or 15 minutes? True? Yeah. So factual, relevant brief. So that's about stories. The one bit about storytelling in business. It's storytelling in business is not about performance. Okay. Yeah. Storytelling in business is about driving home a message. Right? Yeah. So when I started eight years ago, a lot of people would tell me in corporate What the hell is business storytelling? Yeah. Why do we have to tell stories? And today there are, you know, you throw a stone in Bombay, you will find the business storyteller. Yeah. And the problem is, a lot of it comes from saying, I need to perform my stories. I need to bring in that storytelling voice. It was a dark day in December when I walked into my boss's, no, we can't, right. As I said, storytelling in business needs to be invisible. So if you were to go back to the beginning of the podcast and re listen to it, I didn't change my voice inflection. I didn't do voice modulation to tell you the stories. They were in the same format. So those are the two differences, story differences, storytelling differences.

Shubham(16:09) -
Well, I've never heard it better. Thank you so much. You're welcome. So a Steve Jobs has been acclaimed as one of the best storytellers in the league of great leaders. As, as my knowledge goes, there must have been many more obviously in that league. But Why the sudden surge with everyone claim to be a storyteller, like you said, you know,

Indranil(16:29) -
So I think every inspirational leader that I have ever worked with or would love to listen to are Gopalakrishnan included, every good teacher, and every effective sales person. And all of them are great storytellers. They may not call it a story, okay. For example, lot of a lot of people on this show would say, chemistry is not their favorite subject. Yeah. But chemistry was one of my favorite subjects. And why when I think back, it has nothing to do you know, with the formulas or anything in

Shubham(17:02) -
Equations in bond equations, and

Indranil(17:04) -
You know, all the tape, periodic tables and stuff like that. It has to do with the fact that my teacher told a story for everything. For every experiment, why did the periodic table get born? How did it happen? And most discoveries, as you know, are people stumbling into things. And he would tell us stories about each of those reactions and how, and that's what made the whole thing interesting. So I am pretty certain if you reflect back and think of people that you've loved listening to in your business, people that you've loved being in the class with, and people who have sold multiple things that you don't need. Yeah. Including Steve Jobs who managed to sell you iPhone every year. Yeah. Yeah. So they're all great storytellers. So it is not that only Steve Jobs is a storyteller right now, all these guys, etc. The question is, why this sudden surge, and the sudden surge, of course, benefits people like me. As I said, eight years ago, people used to ask me strange questions like, are you a boutique advertising agency? No, no, I'm here to teach your leaders to be better at communicating and in engaging and inspiring, right. Now, why do we need that? Because I think three things have happened. One is complexity of messaging has gone up. Yeah. You are not no longer talking about simple things. If you are in if you are in technology, when I am a computer science engineer by education, you know, those days, what did you have? You just had a mainframe, correct? Yeah, that's it. So the way I did my computing was actually go to a large machine and say, you know, put my program and then come next day with the punch cards were given. And I took the punch cards to another department and my program ran in the third day, I got the errors. Now explaining a mainframe. Once I got it, right. I was able to explain it for the next 8-10 years. Yeah, today technology's changing every month. Correct? Yeah. How do I go and explain to everybody IoT AI, machine learning

Shubham(19:01) -
So much.

Indranil(19:02) -
So complexity has increased. And the second is, thanks to many things, including devices, our attention spans, like less than a goldfish, true. So I have a complex message and you're not going to be listening to me. I mean, that's, you know, double bang, right? And the third thing is that, I think over the years, we've in business, we have inculcated a belief that if I have 100 rupee idea, I need to have 1000 rupee word to explain that idea. Yeah. And I keep when I talk to leaders, I keep saying people are not going to buy the proficiency that you have on the English language. People are going to buy what you're selling. And, you know, I keep telling them, people don't buy the best thing in the world. People buy the things they understand the best. Oh, wow. Okay, yeah. And so if I have to get across all this, right,  okay, let's imagine, imagine a room full of people, pre COVID. Yeah, a room full of people and someone is presenting, and a lot of people are on their mobile phone. Yeah. And just imagine that you were in that room. And at some point you said, you know, guys, three years ago, and you stopped? What would happen to them? If that's what happened? So you had a bunch of people looking at their mobile phone, someone presenting, and you said, you know, guys three years ago, what will happen?

Shubham(20:28) -
It takes some time for them to realize that have stopped it.

Indranil(20:31) -
Not Not you. I'm saying if you were not presenting, but someone said, you know, three years ago,

Shubham(20:37) -
I would probably look up.

Indranil(20:39) -
Absolutely. So most people would look up, right? Why would they look up?

Shubham(20:43) -
Because there was something going on and it's stopped there's a change?

Indranil(20:48) -
So that you think that there was curiosity, let's say, Yeah, they were curious to know what happened three years ago. Okay. So I want you to, you know, you know, we nowadays you do A B testing. Yeah. Right. So I want to do do a B testing, you take a same situation, and you use when the presenter has stopped, you say, you know, guys, the three best strategies in this case, and you stop? What will happen?

Shubham(21:13) -
Do you think the heads up? I don't think

Indranil(21:16) -
So, but you just said curiosity. No? If it is curiosity, oh, you had said, three best strategy, they should say, wow, what is the three best strategy? Now the reason that happens is because when the brain hears three months ago, or three years ago, it's a marker to the brain saying there's a story coming. And human beings love stories. And so when I look up, because what is the most quintessential way that you start a story once upon a time? Yeah, you don't use that in business. But you use time marker. So you say three years ago, right. So that has now got to what have I taken care of attention span? Yeah, yeah. By by getting you hooked, which the best three strategies is not going to get you hooked? Can I use a story that will get you hooked onto and get over the attention span? And the second is that when we tell stories, we usually don't use big words. We don't talk about how how bold in Agile things will change. You know, what? Drive deep collaboration and connection across companies?

Shubham(22:26) -
Yeah. wouldn't make sense. Yeah.

Indranil(22:29) -
But but that's how you talk. And you take go to the website of any company, correct. And take out if they have their vision or strategy, etc. They have a lot of, you know, lots of thousand rupee words to explain 100 rupee idea, right. And, and jargons. We are all very good echo chambers of fancy things. Data is the new oil. What the hell does it mean? Now, it's not about whether I understand it, like we talked about respect. Do everyone understand? Does everyone understand the same thing when you say data is the new oil? Right? Yeah. So those are the reasons complexity of message, lowering of attention span, and are sort of proclivity to use big words. And big things require us to go back to some simplicity, and some storytelling. Wow.

Shubham(23:18) -
I mean, therefore, the onus of generating or igniting that curiosity in the listener is also on the storyteller, and that's really important.

Indranil(23:26) -
Absolutely. And so the thing is that, what are you doing? Let me let me give you an example. Yeah. So let's say I'm , let's take one of the messages that are very common. Let's say you're a leader, and you're telling your team, guys don't focus on the short term, focusing on short term profitability is not going to be the right thing. We should focus long term. Yeah, I'm sure you've heard if you worked for 10 days, you'd have heard this before, right. Now, what are the chances that if you gave that speech, and I went to your team A day later and said, What did Shubham say? Yeah, they say kuch bataya tha profitability ke bare mein? the chances that they will remember this is probably low, but what if you did this, you said, You know, I think short term profitability can never be good for any any ongoing business, we need to focus long term. You know, here's an example that will happen with late Manohar Parrikar, the ex Defense Minister and the ex Chief Minister of Goa so Manohar Parrikar  grew up in a little village called Para, in Goa, Para and that's where Parrikar comes from. Okay, now, Para was very, very famous for watermelons. Some of the biggest watermelons in Goa grew in para, and there was this ritual or ceremony that was held every year by the watermelon farmer, which was a watermelon eating contest for kids. Yeah. So one day you gathered around and the farmer would come cut watermelons and you could eat as much watermelons as you could and the kid that ate the most watermelons got the first price. Okay? And Parrikar said that, you know, on this day he liked the farmer more than he liked his father because his father would get one watermelon for the entire family here he could have multiple watermelons. Okay. So he had this love for watermelons and then Parrikar, you know, grew up, left Para went on to study at IIT, as you know, and when he came back, he was no longer living in para he was living in the the capital city of Punjab. And one day he wanted to have watermelons so he goes to the market in Punjab and loops 10 pints everything is a very average watermelon size. So he says none of the farmers are from para. So he says, Yeah, that farmer is from Para, someone said, so it goes to this farmer, similar size. So he asked this farmer, what happened to those watermelons in from para. So he says which watermelons from Para. He says, when I was growing up, there was this huge watermelon. Yeah, he's I don't know, I've only seen this watermelon. So Parrikar had also taken additional sub subject during his IIT days on genetics. And that and his curiosity, he's wanting to know what happened, led him to this great understanding. Yeah, which is the first understanding was when the farmer was doing the watermelon contest, he was actually using these kids as child labor. Why? Because one of the rules of the watermelon contest was that you could eat as many watermelons as you wanted, but you couldn't chew on the seeds. Okay, you had to put the seeds in a bowl. Yeah. And the farmer would keep the biggest watermelons for the contest. And the so he would get the seeds of the biggest watermelon. Yeah. And so then he would saw the, those seeds and get big watermelons. Right. Now, the farmer had died during this period, and his sons are taken over. And the sons thought that the Father is stupid, because the biggest watermelons get the biggest prize. So they had to do this ritual of the watermelon contest, because dad had started that, but they kept the smaller watermelons for the contest, because after all, the big watermelons got the best price. But they continued the ritual of those, you know, seeds being collected, and so on. Okay. And so every time they did that, there was a generation loss of size. And in seven generations, you wiped out the size of watermelons in Para. And that's what short term profitability does.  you. They went for the short term of selling the big watermelon today, yeah. And destroyed industry, which would have lasted for a much longer time. And that is why, you know, my team, don't focus on short term profitability focus on long term. Now, what are the chances that this message they will remember for longer?

Shubham(27:42) -
Oh, definitely. I mean, there's, there's no two ways about it.

Indranil(27:46) -
So that's, that's really, that's really what storytelling in business is about.

Shubham(27:51) -
Lovely. That's, that's really lovely. But Indranil is this concept of storytelling getting too diluted as well? There's a lot of noise around stories, storytelling. In fact, my podcast is also called secrets of storytellers. But then is it losing the importance of storytelling?

Indranil(28:08) -
I think No, I think it's increasing the buzzer on storytelling. But What I don't get is stories. Yeah. So what I would ask you and your listeners do now look at his look at all the articles you'll find on LinkedIn, over the next one month, which is about stories and the power of stories, and see how many of them actually have a story. And how many of them are full of opinions. And this happened to me just the other day, I had, I will be pitching the work we do to a very large company, and they had met multiple vendors or the fancy word is partners. Yeah, they had met multiple partners. I was one of the last. And I finished my sort of talk because when I walked in, they said, you know, that's the court to put your laptop. I said, Why do I need my laptop? He says, but you're pitching for our business. Right? I said, Yeah, but why do I need a laptop? He says, but everyone needs a laptop. Yeah. So I said, isn't it counterintuitive that I am come coming to pitch storytelling, and I'm going to use a PowerPoint? Yeah. Lovely. Yeah. So they laughed. And, and then I finished my brand presentation and within my talk without the PowerPoint, and they said, you know, okay, we will, we will consider all the applicants and we will get back to you. Right. So I said, you don't have to name the people you've met this morning. Can I ask you something? Can you tell me one of one or two of the good stories you heard? Because I'm always trying to collect stories? Yeah. And they reflected for some time and said, We didn't hear any good stories. And someone said we didn't hear a story. So I said, Wow, that's surprising. You heard four storytelling companies before me coming pitch, and none of them told your story. Yeah, and I left it at that.

Shubham(29:58) -
I think so.

Indranil(30:01) -
Of course we got, we got the contract, which is what is most important?

Shubham(30:06) -
I mean, it's a given you get the contract anyway. Yeah. Great. It's a it's storytelling then an art, or is it a science? Can it be learned and groomed? Or is it something that you know? Someone is born with this that?

Indranil(30:22) -
We are all great storytellers? Yeah, there is not a human being in this world, who is not a great storyteller? The question is to, can I make that person a great storyteller? And more importantly, for me, can I make sure that he doesn't leave storytelling behind in the canteen, and in the bar and the house and suddenly become this PowerPoint, bullet point animal as soon as he enters office? Because think of you go, I'll, you go to a canteen of any big company. Yeah. Yeah. And be a fly on the wall. While people are eating, what do you think they're doing? They're all telling stories? Isn't You know, I think what happened, I went to my boss, and I had this, you know, note that had worked on for five years, or five months, and you don't that guy threw it away? What is that with? Those are all stories, there isn't a human being who's a who's not a good storyteller. And so we couldn't have sustained a business where we have worked with very senior leaders of over 50 companies, 14 Industries, over 2200 like CEOs, CXO, Senior Manager levels have gone through the program, if it cannot be taught, so it can be taught, which is what, take a storyteller and make him a business storyteller. And make him sort of can remember all this factual, relevant brief. Yeah, I think that the trick there is that it's not that storytelling can't be taught in business it can be and that's a lesson just the thing from average storyteller to a good storyteller and from a non business storyteller to business storyteller. Okay. I think if companies focus on four things, they will get it right. First is teach business storytelling from people in business. Yeah, people who've seen business, because like you, you know, we talked about it that there is a myth that, you know, stories have no work in business. Yeah, Kahaani mat batao. Now, if you are not someone who's been, let's say, in a board of a company, yeah. And if I go, and I'm talking to CEOs, and I say, in your next board meeting, you can use this story, as a CEO is going to turn back and say, tumne board ka room dekha hai kabhi? correct? Yeah. If he hasn't seen if he doesn't know that I have sat in boards. I have made presentations to boards. Why should he believe me? So first is You need to learn business storytelling, because that's what will get a belief that it can work. This guy has been there, done that. So he knows it works. Yeah, yeah. If I'm a theater artist, who might be a great storyteller, why should you believe that it can work in business? One is learn business storytelling, from people who've been in business, two, is most of communication is learned through imitation? Yeah. And what I mean is, as you know, if a guy goes abroad for three months, it comes back with an accent. Yeah, some of them do without knowing why because we learn speaking through the year. Yeah. And so learn business storytelling from good storytellers. If you learn business storytelling from a person who just has lots of bullet points concept, one whole day is taking you through why stories are important how stories to be told, and hasn't told you stories, then you're not going to you you learn by imitation. Right? Right. So the third is, don't don't do these tick mark investments in storytelling by running something that doesn't have a prolonged habit formation program. No new skill can be learned by knowledge transfer alone. new skill is learned by getting that knowledge, but by having a way to practice that knowledge deliberately, right. And, and finally, as you practice that knowledge, you need to have that expert to be there to put you through. Did you get it right? Yeah, because this I there is a stupid notion that practice makes perfect. Yeah, practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. Let me give you an example. I am just about an average badminton player. Okay. So if Shubham when I told you that from today, I am going to go down to my society, badminton court. And I am going to practice two days for the next two years, every day 365 days into two. Can I represent Maharashtra you think?

Shubham(34:36) -
I don't think so.

Indranil(34:37) -
Why are you laughing? Yeah. Practice makes perfect, then two years every day. Practice doesn't make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. deliberate practice makes perfect. So if I would get myself a coach, who then breaks the game down, right breaks the game down to serves, drop shots, nets, etc. And I just focused on drop shots per week and every time. I get it wrong, he's there to tell me how to do it better. I will still not represent Maharashtra, but I'll become a much, much better player. Because I had two things I just didn't have a knowledge transfer because YouTube can give me that knowledge transfer. Right. But I also had a deliberate practice program and I had a coach to take me through that. And so if you put this together, anybody can be made into a fantastic business storyteller. Wow. Okay,

Shubham(35:26) -
I have Today's a Day when I know why do I like the books that I do. Because storytelling is so impactful. I'm sure story work is doing great in the eight years that you've been doing it.

Indranil(35:38) -
We have survived God has been kind.

Shubham(35:40) -
Right. So I was to ask one final question before we move to the next section, which is if you could give a few tips on how one can develop storytelling as a skill. Now you have given a lot of tips in the last one if you were to add one or two final bits

Indranil(35:57) -
Without attending my program, you mean so first is being inquisitive. Yeah. If you're not inquisitive, you're not going to be going back and getting stories if Manohar Parrikar just went back in complained to his wife that you know, nowadays there is no big watermelons. Kahaani khatam, right? You need to be inquisitive to and you know, when when you're talking to people do more listening. That's why we have two years and one mouth do more listening be ask questions. How did that happen? What happened next? Yeah, I'm not a very big movie person. But I remember one dialogue from some Amitabh Bachchan. he said Phir Kya hua, ask that phir kya hua right, you keep on asking, so be inquisitive. That's number one. Number two, is when you hear a story that you like, collect that story. Stories are like raindrops, they are all over the place today, if you keep your unit yours open to them by end of the day, by the time you go to sleep, you'd have heard at least 50-60 stories. That's how many stories you'll hear. But if there's some that you like, and you don't find a way to collect them, they're just gonna run through your mind and off to go. So you need to find a way to collect them. And we talked about how we can use a story bank to do it. Any of your listeners who's interested can go to the story works YouTube channel, there is a video how to create story bank, okay, and so you create that story bank. The third is practice. You can't walk into a place and just say I've heard the story five years ago, it's there in my story bank, I'm going to deliver it. You talked about Steve Jobs. Yeah, yeah. People would say Steve Jobs is a natural. Yeah, he can get up in the you know, he could have got up from sleep and made a presentation. But Steve job practiced. I can I have photographs of him practicing in his shots in the auditorium in front of his vice presidents? Do you think that's the first time he would have practice? No, he would have practiced 100 times at home. And then he would have practiced as a what you call a dress rehearsal in his jeans and turtleneck. And then on the day of the event, he walks in and looks like he can do it anytime. It happens through practice. So be inquisitive, collect stories, create a story, bank and practice. And you shall you'll be well on your way. Great.

Shubham(38:17) -
Thank you so much. And there's a lot of, you know, wisdom and tips for myself, because I'm in the business of management consulting. And to get out what's really happening on the floor, you really need to do these things, you know, gather stories from what I

Indranil(38:32) -
Call story listening. Yeah. And if you go back and read the book, you'll see what are the tools that you need to have to do story listening? How do you ask questions to your client? How do you do discover, not by asking your clients for opinions, but by asking your clients for stories?

Shubham(38:51) -
Wonderful, great. Lovely, I would love to go on. But we do have a time, you know, constrained so therefore, I will move to the next section, which is the last and concluding section. Something which is common across all the episodes and my personal favorite. So as you know, we call the show secrets for storytellers. So I want to ask you one secret about the book or you know, your journey while you were writing this book that probably you've never shared till date

Indranil(39:16) -
Never because you know, it never is a big one. Yeah, I haven't shared this very often, let's say. Right, you know, and the book has surprised me. It's been two years since the book was was published. It still sells it's still on the bestseller list, which is which is awesome for a business book. Yeah. But the fact is, I'm not a writer. And that comes as a surprise to people. I if you go back to 2014 I hadn't written a single blog. forget anything else. Okay, so there, there is a guy called Inderjeet Gupta, who's whose co founder you had interviewed Charles Charles and Inderjeet, founded founded field. And Inderjeet is actually responsible for creating many business people into writers. And I am one of them. So in 2014, I had met Ig. And he asked me to write an article and I said, I don't know I, this is a you've never written anything. I said, No, unless you count emails and proposals. And he said, you know, just just just go and write whatever you told me you write. You talked about power of stories, just write something. Okay. By the time I reached home, there was a message thing, I keep it about thousand words. Okay, so I call back it. I said he, I, first of all, I am not a writer. I have never counted. I don't even know what thousand words look like, I've never gone to the bottom of the word document to see how many words. So can we have a deal? I'll just write. I'll just send it to you. you edit it and see what happens. The next thing I know, it's published in the mint. Oh, yeah. So I called he said, Yeah, they wanted something. So and then he called and said, Hey to eat had a good both in founding fuel and mint, it had a good response, can you write one more, and that one, too, became 22-24. And someone called Lohit Jagwani from Penguin Random House, was reading these articles, he found this as a new space. He thought that I didn't write like most writers, which is which turned out to be a benefit. Because he said, You know, it was almost like a, you know, having a cup of tea with you. While I was reading that. So can you write a book. And so I started writing. And that's where my wife comes in. Because I'm not one of those writers that writes a draft and then writes in each draft and writes it, I don't normally get to get into writing. But when I write, I finish, and then it goes off to my wife, who, then of course, she keeps saying that she will give me a run in March. Because my grammar is wrong, my spelling is wrong. And anytime there is something she thinks is too complex, you throw it back at me, okay? And then that's how the book was born.

Shubham(41:56) -
Oh Wonderful, so then I agree serendipity is what i would say the reason for your journey. but I think Inderjeet and your wife are too Thank as well quite.


Indranil(42:06) -
That's True

Shubham(42:08) -
Great, Thankyou so much Inranil sir, this was wonderful, I loved every bit of it and I'm sure the listeners would love it because there's so much to gain from this and I also so much learns. I hope you had a great time on this show

Indranil(42:19) -
Yes, I had a great time and All the best and continue on this journey, it's a fabulous journey, So i wish you all the best and thanks for having me on this show.

Shubham(42:29) -
Thankyou so much sir, and thankyou listeners for  listening until the next secret and the next storyteller. this is Shubham, signing off, bye!

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