Programme PGP Term IV Academic Year 2021-22

Course title Strategic Storytelling Area Communication Credits 0.75

Prof. Vaibhavi Kulkarni

Course Description & Objectives
For centuries, we have used stories to make sense of the world. Human beings are hardwired to tell stories. We use stories to forge connections, create a sense of community and communicate our core values. There is ample research demonstrating the significance of stories within the organizational context. Leaders use stories to enact change, persuade, inspire, and motivate. Storytelling can drive decisions; people often tend to disregard obvious facts, choosing to attend to a compelling narrative. Data by itself can appear to be disjointed, but it becomes more meaningful when combined with stories that resonate with the audience. Well-crafted stories provide meaning and context, leading to a shared vision within the organization. And yet, many of us are not able to recognize or leverage the power of storytelling. This course will introduce the students to the essentials of crafting and narrating a compelling story. 

The course has been divided into three parts.
- The first part will help you recognize the ubiquity of stories and answer the question – why do stories matter? We will examine how stories surrounding us play a crucial role in shaping our perspective of the world. 
- The second part will focus on the way in which leaders utilize stories. This will include unpacking different storytelling techniques used across various contexts, and application of these techniques for specific goals. 
- Just as a persuasive story can move people to act, a poorly delivered story or well delivered yet ill-chosen story can lead to scepticism and mistrust. The third part of the course will include exercises that will help you find your stories. You will learn how to identify the ‘right’ story, apply a suitable structure to ensure that the narration does not fall flat, and learn how to deliver a story with impact. 

Part 1: 
  • Recognize how our ‘reality’ is shaped by communicative narratives
  • Delve into what storytelling means in everyday lives; understand why stories matter, the role they play in defining who we are, the way they shape our worldview, and learn to identify the ‘subtext’ within the stories that surround us.
  • Recognize that stories can often be deeply problematic; understand how they can be used to exert control or demonstrate resistance. 
Part 2: 
  • Discover the storytelling techniques used by leaders to gain credibility, motivate, persuade, influence, and manage crisis. 
  • Learn how organizational leaders deploy stories to create corporate culture and influence employee engagement.
  • Learn how to leverage the power of personal stories in different contexts (e.g. interviews, corporate presentations, ceremonial speeches, entrepreneurial pitches, persuasive communication). 
Part 3: 
  • Master the art of choosing the right story, based on the context and audience
  • Utilize different storytelling structures and archetypes to make your story interesting
  • Learn how to narrate your story with impact

The course pedagogy primarily revolves around class exercises. The first part of the course will include exercises that focus on examining stories and their sub-text. This will include examination of taken-for-granted stories about the world-at-large, media narratives, stories in popular culture, folk tales, and myths. As the course progresses, the class exercises will move towards practical application of stories within the organizational context. This will involve crafting and sharing of stories by the students. Students will also be expected to make a presentation on context specific storytelling techniques/archetypes.