Banker turned PR pro Kritika Padhy shares the science of storytelling

After having spent more than 8 years as a banker, I decided to move from the world of numbers to the world of narratives. For the past four years now, I have donned the hat of a PR professional, a storyteller, not only during the day but in my personal time as well. I am a PR professional during the day and enjoy unleashing my fictional storytelling side during my leisure time with a large group of interested readers on Facebook, where I have a Facebook Group - Kritika’s Stories.

One thing that I have understood with certainty is that everyone likes to read an interesting story, irrespective of the format it is presented in. It therefore follows that a corporate, product, etc story delivered in an interesting manner is for sure going to create the required buzz and amplify the key messages to reach the targeted audience.

From an analysis that I did on my storytelling platform with a sample size of 100 readers, I was able to understand what in my stories has compelled my readers to remain glued from the start to the finish, and in fact, keep asking for more! Simplicity of language emerged as one of the key factors! A majority of 68.3 pc said that they want the language to be simple and easy to understand; 65.93 per cent said that they could relate with the plot and that it isn’t too far fetched, while 60 oer cent said that uniqueness of the plot is what keeps them glued to the story. Another 30.59 per cent interestingly pointed out that they enjoyed the long winded prose. Too much brevity of content results in losing the charm and a slightly more descriptive narrative is appreciated, they shared. So here I am sharing tips that have helped me in my journey as a storyteller. These can be used in our everyday practice regardless of the nature of communication to make it noteworthy and distinctive -

  1. Repetition and variety are characteristics of the great symphony - According to Barry John Raybould, “Repetition, variety, unity, harmony are characteristics of all great symphonies and of all great paintings”. Presenting a concept with a variant that can attract the consumer’s interest is the mantra to make the idea a success. Do not worry if you feel your plot or methodology has already been used. All you need to do is figure out that one key differentiator in your plot which can act as the USP of your campaign.
  1. Find the right connect with the audience - A story or concept becomes a huge success when the user can relate to it. So for an idea or campaign to be successful, you need to know your audience well. Not just demographically but also you need to understand their taste and preferences. This is necessary so that you can shape your narratives in such a manner that it has an emotional hook or tie for the audience to connect with.
  1. Keep it simple - Flowery language and jargon are good to have but if the whole essence and gist of your ideas get buried under its burden then you may not be able to communicate your thoughts. The idea should be expressed simply and clearly.
  1. Explore multiple platforms to communicate - Initially, when I started writing, I used Facegroup groups as the platform. Then I was introduced to platforms like Wattpad, Dreame where I could showcase my product, in this case, my stories. This helped in reaching a much wider audience. The same holds true for PR as well. We have at our disposal multiple mediums to get our story and message across.
  1. Content is the King - Be it a fiction story or a campaign, the content needs to be well explained leaving no open ended questions in the reader's mind. Too short and to the point or too much stretch in content is not appreciated. Keep it short but well explained.

While it is not necessary that every communication should contain all the characteristics described above, they can certainly serve as a guide helping formulate the majority of them for the required impact.