WhoDecember 2, 2019 2023-03-07 5:11
“Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.”
- Robin Moore
Hi, I'm Ravi
You could call me ’The Storytelling Guy’ – I view everything (EVERYTHING) in life through a storytelling lens!
From boardroom reviews to big family gatherings, from TED Talks to teachers in classrooms, from magical monuments to mythology epics, from job interviews to jungle safaris, from CEOs writing shareholder letters to cricketers making superb videos, from Presidents making inauguration speeches to political experts cutting the clutter…
I see stories everywhere. And I can help you leverage the power of this ancient yet rare skill at your workplace.
But wait, was I always like this? Born with the story-spoon in my mouth, so to speak? Not really. In fact, for the longest time I thought otherwise... and horror of horrors, instead of studying literature or history, I studied... Accounting!
Connecting the storytelling dots
Like most middle-class parents, my dad valued job security and believed that Accounting is perhaps the safest career option. And so I started my career as a Chartered Accountant. (Which reminds me: Any questions you have about your investment portfolio, the best stocks or mutual funds to invest in, the right tax-saving options, anything about crypto... basically, any questions you have about investing...? Please don't ask me).
Anyway, after a couple of years at my first job as an Executive Assistant to the CFO of Larsen and Toubro, I did my MBA from IIMA (batch of 2005). From campus, I joined the management consulting arm of an infrastructure advisory firm called Feedback Ventures in Delhi. Those seven years were extremely formative for me, especially from a storytelling point of view.
Post consulting, the development-sector bug bit me and I worked for three years in B-ABLE, a social enterprise that works in the skill-development space. I really enjoyed working with the people there and learned some new skills. But after some time, I realised that I don’t have what it takes to work extensively with the government - which was a key requirement in that space.
Through all these years, history was an abiding interest for me, and in 2014, I quit B-ABLE to co-found CaptivaTour, a mobile app that told audio-visual stories of famous Indian monuments. I researched the history and wrote the stories for the app - and really enjoyed the experience. Our app was built well and got great reviews. Unfortunately, the app didn’t take off at all. Not enough folks were willing to pay for history made interesting and our idea fizzled out.
But for me, there was a bigger lesson - that it does not matter whether one is dealing with balance sheets or business pitches, social impact statistics, or historical anecdotes - the underlying principles of storytelling are all the same.
And it is possible to learn and teach those principles to drive better outcomes at work, especially in high-stakes situations.
But for a long time, I had a limiting belief - that storytellers are born, not made.
Storytellers are not born, but (can be) made
When I worked at the consulting arm of Feedback Ventures, my super-boss was a genial, smiling leader called Gopal (we used to call him Gops). One of Gops’ standout traits was his superb articulation. He just knew what to say at what time and how to word his thoughts. When he spoke, the audience nodded in agreement… and we were struck in awe.
At that time, I had a belief… a story in my head. That there are two kinds of people in the world. The Storytellers, like Gops, who can magically conjure the right expressions for their thoughts.
And the ‘Non-Storytellers’ - the rest of us, who might be equally good at our work, but would not be able to tell a great story of that work. Because, you see, we ‘Non-Storytellers’ didn’t have that gift of eloquence, that gift of storytelling.
Over the years, however, my belief changed. As I honed my storytelling skills, I realized. “Hang on, this is not something that you are born with. This is a set of proven, repeatable techniques that you can actually use - to significantly enhance your work impact!”
Sure, not every storytelling technique will work all the time. And sure, you will end up using the wrong technique in some places. But that’s how you will learn. And as you learn, you will appreciate the immense power of this wondrous skill called Storytelling.
And so that original belief of mine - that there are two kinds of people - has now changed. Now I believe that you don’t have to ‘become’ a storyteller. There is a storyteller hidden inside you. All you have to do is to give that storyteller full expression.
My mission in life is to help you discover and hone your inner storyteller. Story Rules is my vehicle to fulfil that mission.
Here's a detailed blog post about my career and how I became a 'storytelling coach'.
And oh, here's my story in verse - a short poem that describes my journey. 🙂
Hear what clients say!
Kevin IgnatiusKPMG Management Consulting
CEOYourNest Angel Fund
ParticipantLeading Analytics Firm
Ashwin NaikSerial Entrepreneur, TEDx Pune Leader
Senior HR RepInterGlobe Air Transport
Senior HR LeaderAmdocs
Vineet JainCFO, Medtronic India and COE Pricing, Asia-Pacific
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