Story telling enables you to take others on a journey, to galvanise your team and build bridges of understanding. Storytelling has been used for hundreds of years and it is present in all aspects of our life. It can be the difference between a ‘merh’ project and one in which the team you are working in truly understands and is bought into what you are aiming to achieve. One in which stakeholders are aware and excited about what it is you are building towards. One that delivers real value to users.
Few people are natural story tellers and this article is not about becoming the best at this. This is about being aware of why stories are so useful to your work as a UX designer, taking some of the fundamentals and applying them to your day to day work. To be aware of the impact they can have and knowing that it is something you should build on and improve throughout your career.
Show them the solution, how you have overcome adversary and are now victorious. Let them know how the future can look.
When I talk about characters, heroes and villains, in the context of your work this could be your processes, the journey, the data or any other part of your work. When telling a story around your work don’t feel the need to embellish the truth or add in dramatisations just to make a better story. This is about structuring the facts and presenting them in a way that is interesting, intriguing and informative for the audience. It should still all be useful and accurate information for your audience.
Start structuring your work in a way that fits a story. Be aware of your audience and provide a compelling narrative to them that has a beginning middle and an end. Take a presentation and dissect it, write out on a separate document the key parts that make up that presentation. Does this flow as a story, run it past a colleague or friend and see which section make sense, identify key elements and make sure it flows.
One of the ways I learn best is to pull apart what other people have done before me. Pick your favourite TED talk and watch it all the way through then go back to the beginning and note down as you watch it again all the parts that make up the story.
As with anything, practice makes perfect so give it a try and start applying this to your day to day work. Find out what works, what doesn’t, adapt it and experiment. Learn as much as you can and have fun. The possibilities are endless and the potential for positive impact amazing.