I attended a two day International conference/workshop on Storytelling and the theme was ‘Regional Stories – Colours and Textures’. What really struck me was that as English becomes a universal language, the death of regional languages is soon nearing. There are a few regional stories that cannot be translated into English as the essence is lost. But if the theme is universal then the story is understood – like the thirsty crow story which tells the kids to never give up and keep trying or little red riding hood story which teaches the lesson, do not talk to strangers.

This workshop just got me thinking that isn’t there a story everywhere? I reach my workplace and tell my colleagues you know today while driving, there was a cow that was sitting right in the middle of the road and how there were people who were feeding the cow in the middle of the road instead of trying to move her. Or when I return home and my mother fills me in with what happened in her day at school and how a standard one kid made a beautiful painting which featured her as his favourite teacher. We are surrounded by stories. And this is true even in our professional lives – a good story will always get your customers/clients/stakeholders attention.

For a story to reach the audience, involve them – make them characters within your story so that they can relate to the story. Narrate a story like a performance on stage and not like a paper reading on a podium.

A story is a little nugget of wisdom; and for knowledge to become wisdom, there needs to be understanding. Storytelling is an art…it is an essential skillset for an ethnographer – if you cannot tell stories about people to people, then what purpose does your research meet?

About Neha Thakurdesai

Neha Thakurdesai, heads INDI Research, leading a team of designers who are passionate about ‘designing experiences’. INDI Research helps clients and colleagues think about the connections between people, brands, products and services. Neha has worked as a Design Researcher with BBC, PDD, Matt&John (London), Tata Elxsi (Bangalore) for multi-national clientele like Unilever, Reckitt Benkiser and Pepsico. Neha holds a masters degree in Design Ethnography from the University of Dundee, Scotland and a masters degree in Communication Management from the Pune University.

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