What’s your story?
Everyone loves a good movie, it doesn’t matter if it is a sci-fi, drama or action. What truly matters is the storyline. When a movie has a good storyline, it’s definitely worth our time.
The same is the case with every conversation we make. Conversations can be written or oral. Instead of telling the steps or things we did, if we can focus on the outcome, it can be made interesting. People are too focused on narrating what they are doing and often forget to state the outcome.
Let’s analyse a stand-up update.
“Hi, yesterday i was trying to load 1M rows to the competitor database. It worked, then tried with 10M which also passed…”
What is the story behind this update?
Can it be rephrased to “Completed Performance testing for ETL module”
Shall we analyse a performance review discussion?
“Last year i completed a Udemy course on python. It had 60 hours worth of video and 100 classes. I had hands-on python scripting on different domains.”
Or can it be rephrased to, “Under personnel development bucket, I learnt Python for data science and machine learning.”
Which of the above statements can make an impact?
When you make a conversation, decide at what level you want to give information. Depending on to whom you speak, it can be at any of the five levels.
With your team members who are very close to your work, it makes sense when you speak in terms of input, activities and the immediate outputs. But when you speak to people playing different roles and are further away from your daily work, it will be effective if you craft your story with the outcomes or the impacts.
Studies have reported brain synchronisation between the speaker and listener during a conversation. Stories have a way of touching human brains, as it focuses on the human side of work instead of just listing facts. Good stories engage your audience. You might have a number of things to share, but structure it so well that it is like a beautiful movie. One event should lead to another, and so on.
Recently I attended a workshop. Within 10 minutes, I felt totally disconnected. As I couldn’t see any value in it for me, so I drifted, and then I decided not to waste my time and went offline. Information that is not understood is not useful. What could have made this workshop interesting?
Knowing your audience helps you figure out what content and messages people care about. Sharing pre-reading material to familiarize themselves with some of the key topics that will be discussed during the workshop might help grab the audience attention.
One should not misunderstand the title as the story itself. Consider, the workshop was about API Testing for Beginners.
“How i enabled myself to write API automation tests from scratch” can be a storyline to the audience who would like to try their hands in API automation.
To the operations team or likes of them, it can be “Ran successful API hiring workshops where we got above 50% conversion ratio”.
Thus, Stories can be different based on the audience.
Next time you speak, make sure you know your audience, and you know your story. With practice we can make better conversations. Let’s be better at it.