Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Story Telling’

You cant go too far without hitting an expert sounding off on content and content marketing. Everyone and his uncle…

But not much said on what goes into content. Of course there is stuff to be found on story telling, but not tied tightly with content creation.

To clarify the point, many of travel and touristy content is at best a package of excitement experienced personally by the traveler like the cliche kid-in-a-candy-shop, but not necessarily worrying about taking the audience along vicariously. This is where story-telling gets in. But to tell a story, one must discover them first during travel, bringing altogether another dimension of excitement to travel!

A case in point is this short photo-post: Animation In Stone!

Posted just after returning from a sight-seeing trip to Egypt and Jordan, its impact could be to make one dig up a little more of history or may be to look henceforth at stonework wherever a little differently or even lure one to consider a trip to the place.

A small side story: The local tour operator, owned by some globally well-known names, did not take it up along with a few other posts for promoting his tours, when offered free for his use. Not even an acknowledgement! Of course the content may need to be improved upon with more drama and history injected and made a part of a larger canvas.

In conclusion, need to create content is widely accepted, but making it readable and actionable is something else.

End

Read Full Post »

How was a king, preoccupied with affairs of the state, reluctantly giving time for listening into just one slokha (verse) ended up ‘buying’ a hundred thousand of them and more?

Read on to find more about this unparalleled feat of communication skills and story-telling!

Sage Vaisampayana came to Raja Janamejaya to teach him Dharma through Mahabharata (the epic) as written by sage Veda Vyasa.

The occasion:

Sarpa Satra

The Raja, a descendent of the Pandava’s, was performing Sarpa Satra, a sacrificial ritual designed to exterminate all living naga’s (serpents), to avenge the death of his father King Parikshit at the hands of Takshaka, the naga (serpent) chief.

While the sage was quite intent on narrating the story, the Raja rejected his proposal outright saying he was too busy for such stuff.

This did not dampen the enthusiasm of Vaisampayana. ‘No problem. There are 18 Parva’s (sections). I will just narrate to you only one Parva’.

Janamejya pushed him back: ‘Sorry, Sir, I have no time. I am very busy as you can see’.

The sage did not give up, ‘One chapter?’.

The Raja was curt now, ‘I repeat myself, I’m quite occupied now.’

The sage was the embodiment of patience. He insisted, ‘Won’t you permit me to tell you just one slokha from the one hundred thousand couplets?’.

“OK, Ok. That is fine, just one slokha, Sir. Hope that would not take too long. Please go ahead”, said the Raja.

Vaisampayana did not miss the opportunity. He began:

Dvaavimau purushau moodhau duryodhana­ dasaananau
Gograaham vanabhangam cha dhrishtvaa yuddham punah punah

Meaning: Here are these two fools, Duryodhana and Dashanana (Ravana, the 10-headed). Even after witnessing Gograhana and Vanabhangam, they went to war again and again (and finally to their demise).

Now this piqued the interest of the Raja: ‘I don’t understand head or tail of what you’re saying, Sir.’

He wanted to know why Duryodhana and Ravana were fools…what was the story behind Gograhana and Vanabhanga, why was the fight over mere cows (this didn’t seem right), etc. etc.

A bit of explanation is in order here:

Gograhana (seizing of cows) refers to the episode told in Virata Parva (fifth Parva of Mahabharatha) wherein Arjuna successfully retrieves all the stolen cows after defeating Kuru army, at the end of their period of exile. Vanabhangam in Ramayana refers to the destruction of forest Ashoka Vana and the great arson of the impregnable Lankapuri by Hanuman after his tail was set on fire in Ravana’s court.

The sage responded to the Raja’s mounting curiosity reciting slokha by slokha, all the time drawing the once-reluctant Raja deeper into the epic.

When the sage was finally done with his captivating narration, the Raja had listened to all of 125,000 slokha’s of Mahabharatha and 24,000 of Ramayana as well!!

Let’s pause here and go back to the innocuous slokha to see what it packed to hook the Raja so inexorably despite himself.

And herein are also the lessons for today’s honchos in corporates, teachers in pedagogy, leaders in politics and preachers in religion, all fighting for their audience’s ears.

Well, looking at the slokha,

  • It is very short and crisp – a mere two lines with 10+ words.
  • Does not make general statements like ‘Dharma always wins…’
  • It refers to some significant and very specific events and their protagonists that cannot be dismissed as a trifle.
  • The incidents are drawn from two different epics to show wider applicability of the points being made.
  • The protagonists are renowned kings like the Raja himself, immediately establishing a parallel and relevance. And one of them was an ancestor from his own family tree.
  • The events are ones where exemplary courage was displayed under difficult conditions, attributes that readily appeal to the warrior Raja.
  • The slokha is poised so tantalizingly at a point in narration, one had to find out what happened after and before.
  • What and why things go wrong always hold more interest than when things go right.

So, folks, that’s it. You may now want to revisit your elevator-pitches and stories.

As I’m signing off, I know I’m leaving a few ends loose here yet like…you’re curiouser about whatever happened to Janamejaya’s Sarpa Satra finally, did all the serpents perish in the sacrificial fire, why did Takshaka kill Parikshit, etc. etc. Regretfully I must leave you to your devices to find out (and you now how).  I’m no Vaisampayana!

Ha, Ha, in for a penny, in for a pound!

End

 

 

 

 

Sources: With many thanks, extracted and enhanced from quora.com/profile/Krishna-Koundinya-2, tamilandvedas.com, Wiki and Velukkudi Swamigal’s upanyasam on Vidhura Needhi

Read Full Post »

the-power-of-stories

Our grandma’s always knew. The power of stories to engage, influence and persuade is now being rediscovered by the business community  and its relevance in all functions of an organization. .

In his talk with former Procter & Gamble executive Paul Smith, now a speaker and trainer on storytelling techniques and author of Sell with a Story: How to Capture Attention, Build Trust, and Close the Sale, Skip Prichard got him to share his  personal experience of the power of a sales story.

An extract from a transcript available here (Skip’s blog on Leadership Insights):

Last summer my wife, Lisa, and I were at an art show in Cincinnati. She was on a mission to find a piece for our boys’ bathroom wall at home.

At one point we found ourselves at the booth of an underwater photographer named Chris Gug. Looking through his work, Lisa got attached to a picture that, to me, looked about as out of place as a pig in the ocean. It was a picture of a pig in the ocean! Literally. A cute little baby piglet, up to its nostrils in salt water, snout covered with sand, dog-paddling its way straight into the camera lens.

When I got my chance, I asked the seller (named Gug) what on Earth that pig was doing in the ocean. And that’s when the magic started.

He said, “Yeah, it was the craziest thing. That picture was taken in the Caribbean, just off the beach of an uninhabited Bahamian island named Big Major Cay.” He told us that years ago, a local entrepreneur brought a drove of pigs to the island to raise for bacon.

Then he said, “But, as you can see in the picture, there’s not much more than cactus on the island for them to eat. And pigs don’t much like cactus. So the pigs weren’t doing very well. But at some point, a restaurant owner on a nearby island started bringing his kitchen refuse by boat over to Big Major Cay and dumping it a few dozen yards off shore. The hungry pigs eventually learned to swim to get to the food. Each generation of pigs followed suit, and now all the pigs on the island can swim. As a result, today the island is more commonly known as Pig Island.”

Gug went on to describe how the pigs learned that approaching boats meant food, so they eagerly swim up to anyone arriving by boat. And that’s what allowed him to more easily get the close-up shot of the dog-paddling piglet. He probably didn’t even have to get out of his boat.

I handed him my credit card and said, “We’ll take it!”

Why my change of heart? The moment before he shared his story (to me at least), the photo was just a picture of a pig in the ocean, worth little more than the paper it was printed on. But two minutes later, it was no longer just a picture. It was a story—a story I would be reminded of every time I looked at it. The story turned the picture into a conversation piece—a unique combination of geography lesson, history lesson, and animal psychology lesson all in one.

In the two minutes it took Gug to tell us that story, the value of that picture increased immensely. It’s the kind of story that I now refer to as a “value-adding” story because it literally makes what you’re selling more valuable to the buyer.

End

Read Full Post »