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Power of storytelling

I received a call from a friend the other day. He seemed anxious, a bit disturbed and confused. He asked me, “Akshay, How is it that some founders are able to raise money without any data while the ones even with data are not able to raise?’’

I took a pause. I remember having the same conversation with one of my mentors a long time back. Back then he had mentioned, investors are also human. They also take decisions based on emotions. Data is important but emotions are more powerful.

I ended up having an hour long conversation with my friend on how to emerge as a storyteller.

In this article, I’d want to share the key takeaways from the conversation where we realised the importance of storytelling.

. . .

The importance of why vs what

First step to effective storytelling is to understand the importance of why.

Here is one idea pitched in two different ways:

  1. Our belief is that humans thrive when they work together with teams effortlessly

  2. We have an app that allows teams to work together

Which one of these sounds more impactful to you?

The truth is — most of us like the 1st sentence, but in real life we pitch like the 2nd. The problem with the second statement is that it’s very transactional. It lacks emotions. It lacks the power to visualise the potential of such a product.

A book by Simon Sinek — “Start with Why”, beautifully explains how can one make a powerful Why statement:

Technique: TO ____ SO THAT ____.

The first blank represents the contribution you are going to make. The second blank represents the impact of the contribution.

Example: “To inspire people to do the things that inspire them so that, together, we can change our world.”

Your Why statement should be:

simple and clear


focused on how you’ll contribute to others, and

expressed in affirmative language that resonates with you

The importance of thought leadership

How many of us have strong views on what would work in the future? Which market will grow? How will the consumers behave?

Thought leaders draw on the past, analyse the present and illuminate the future to create a unique and comprehensive view of their area of expertise.

Most of us don’t know what will work in the future. When few entrepreneurs come up with insights on the emerging consumer trends and trace back their predictions, they are likely to become thought leaders.

How does one become a thought leader?

It’s a simple 3 step process.

  1. Read, read and read The first step is to make yourself aware of the niche of your interest

  2. Write The next step is to put down your thoughts somewhere so that you can trace them back to validate your predictions

  3. Broadcast With the help of social media, broadcast your thoughts to the world. Most of us are consumers, not creators. If you have valuable insights to share, you are likely to be followed by the most.

To conclude, here’s a playbook I am following to improve myself.

  1. Read 2 articles a day and 1 book a month This has helped me gain more knowledge and depth of my areas of interests.

  2. Write 2 articles a week and have a mentor to give you feedback. This has helped me articulate things better.

  3. Record 2 videos/audios a week explaining those articles. This has helped me express myself better.

  4. Do the above for 3 months at least The results are compounding

I publish weekly blogs where I share everything I learn.
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