The art of storytelling — and why I agree with Tyrion Lannister

Bindiya Mutum
May 24 · 4 min read
Image credits: www.time.com

‘What unites people? Armies? Gold? Flags?… Stories. There is nothing more powerful in the world than a good story.’ — Tyrion Lannister, Game of Thrones season 8, episode 6

This line probably resonates with every presenter, designer, a storyteller in the world.

More often than not, when I step into a meeting room — I sit and ‘try’ to listen to the presentation being given. But almost all the times, I get distracted and when I ‘try’ to focus back, I am either completely embarrassed to ‘try’ and ask the presenter to repeat — cause it was my fault for not listening, or I ‘try’ to keep quiet and waste the next hour trying to pull together the facts and get something out of it.

There are 4 ‘try’s above… These are actually my futile attempts to wade through most of my daily meetings. Nonetheless, I still wish for a supernatural brain power to understand all the words that are spoken at me.

But then, shouldn’t words be spoken with me and not at me? As much as this statement lacks sense, all I desire is a two-way communication, where I can understand all the words I hear every day! It doesn’t necessarily mean I have to speak anything back.

Over the course of my short and bright new design career, I have figured out that those rare instances of pure comprehension of spoken/written words are those where I have understood the story. Which is how, I am in complete consensus with the last Lannister — stories are unbeatable, ‘no armies can defeat it’, and it stands the test of my horribly short attention span.

Through several trial and errors, I have come to realize some pointers to keep in mind when I craft a story, especially when it needs to be told to a larger audience. Here are a few pointers you might want to remember the next time you craft your story:

- Don’t make the beginning seem like the end -

Have an introduction — a short one which will bring everyone to the same page, one might be just back from the gym or from a hot ride in the sun. Getting them together on the same page makes your job much easier later to bring consensus later — like how every Marvel movie does with their opening theme songs, the sound of comic book pages turning and the appearance of Marvel logo onscreen!

- A bit of all worlds -

A bit for everyone in the room —be inclusive if you are presenting to a variety of people, make it contextual for the poet, the engineer and the lunch lady!

Pull metaphors with day-to-day processes for your listeners to connect easily

Pull metaphors and analogies for extremely difficult topics —connecting it to simpler things will make it easier for people to understand. Not everyone has your rocket scientist brain!

It's okay to talk about the mistakes, in fact, talk about them more!

Identify the high points, but more importantly emphasize on the low points — the ‘aha’ moment, where you fell down the well of redundant redesigns but found a shiny new idea of making the product better!

A conclusion that everyone is in-line with, agree to disagree maybe?

Have a conclusion — what do you want everyone in the room to walk out with? A solution, insightful queries or a common ground of disagreement that needs to be resolved perhaps.

Of course, there are probably more effective ways out there and am sure more experienced people in the field can render their perspective on this. Hopefully, you will tell me your stories as well!

Let me know how you tell your stories! You can drop me a mail at bindiya.mutum@gmail.com or connect with me on LinkedIn.

I am ‘trying’ to write about fashion on my Instagram here and also create noob level travel videos here.

Bindiya Mutum

Written by

UX designer | Microsoft IDC