The art of storytelling, tips from Atlassian's Head of Buyer Experience
I visited San Francisco for the first time in my life back in August and it was when I walked past Twitter’s HQ and waited in line with Twitterers (?) to pay for my ready-to-go lunch that I realised I was in the tech hub of the world. I mean, of course I knew it as a concept but it took a whole bunch of people with Twitter tags around their necks for me to actually know it in my bones.
So I added “attending a tech talk” on my '“things to do in SF” list.
I searched on MeetUp and found “How to Excel at Storytelling by Atlassian Product Manager” by Product School San Francisco and signed up immediately.
About the speaker Sajida Kaliyadan
Well, she’s amazing and I want to be her. She began working for banks in India and Singapore, then moved to New York to be the first female developer for an algorithmic trading system provider. Then, she did a part-time MBA and soon began working at Walmart Labs After 7 years of absolutely kicking ass, she joined Atlassian as the Head of Buyer Experience.
And I was lucky enough to hear her speak.
The art of storytelling for product managers - notes
Her talk covered tips for product managers to become better communicators, not just within the team and to developers, but also to management teams and investors.
Step 1: Start with the end
Define your outcome: What do you want to achieve? Ideally, have a primary and secondary outcome only. If absolutely needed, add a tertiary.
step2: Know your audience
You need to care about the people you’re working with (your team) and serving (your customer). Empathy is key. Ask yourself:
What are their goals/ interests/ apprehensions? This context will help you craft your message better.
How strong is your relationship with these individuals? You want to establish relevance and build a deeper connection with the people you’re speaking to.
Step 3: Pick your protagonist
Who is at the center of this story? HINT: It’s always your customer. When delivering key points in your story, alway use real-life quotes or case studies to back up facts and statistics. Humanise your customer.
step 4: Your story arc
You want to repeatedly contrast existing experiences versus aspirations (i.e. outcome outlined in step 1). Go back and forth between what is and what could be, what is and what could be, and weave your big idea into this story. You want to show how these changes can affect or improve the larger picture.
Note: I’ve come across this idea before and Martin Luther King’s speech is often used as a great example of this type of storytelling. Steve Jobs’ Apple presentations are also used as examples. Here’s a video by Nancy Duarte who came up with this type of storytelling technique. Oh, she also wrote an article about it.