Let Your People Be People:
An Interview with the Authors
By: Brooke Landrum
Consider this a birth announcement.
Narrative Science has literally written the book on storytelling. The authors are Narrative Science’s own Nate Nichols, Distinguished Principal of Product Strategy and Architecture, and Anna Walsh, Director of Growth Marketing. It all started in June 2019. Anna and Nate were having their monthly coffee chat.
Since Narrative Science is a data storytelling company, there’s a lot of people here that think about what makes great stories. During this particular chat, Nate and Anna were discussing the impact they thought storytelling was going to have on the world and the passion they both felt for it. Although storytelling was (and still is) a hot topic for us, there was not much written on how to do it well or how to use it to change your company’s culture.
A beautifully short and sweet, genuinely human (and free) book was born. It is home to concrete tips and suggestions about how to write stories and how to use stories to make your people more productive and your company more successful.
The authors sat down to give you a quick peek inside the cover.
Q: What is your favorite part of the book?
Nate: “The first chapter of the book came out of a seminar I host at Narrative Science that we call ‘The Storytelling Workshop’. I reflected on everything I talk about in the sessions and all the insights that have come from those who participate in the workshop. It talks about how to tell a story the right way: how to hook people, how to call them to action, and how to show them a glimpse of the future (or past). It was really fun to look back and get nostalgic and I thought some good thoughts came out of it. So, the first chapter is definitely my favorite part of the book.”
Anna: “My favorite part of the book, aside from working with a bunch of Narrative Scientists along the way, is part 26. It is a section about why your company should tell the stories of the people within your company, especially the untold heroes. This is a personal passion of mine, so I love that part. To me, this book would be considered a success if just one untold hero gets their story surfaced to more people in their company and gets the recognition and appreciation they deserve.”
Q: Who do you think would benefit from reading this book?
Anna: “The great thing about storytelling is that it is truly for everyone. Everyone can get value from this book, whether personal or professional. However, the people that will find the most value are two different types of people.
First, there are the people who want to learn about ways to tell their stories better and are genuinely trying to be better in their jobs every single day. They are the people that question the status quo and keep raising the bar for themselves in every aspect of their lives. The second is leaders or aspiring leaders who want to ensure that they give their people the time, space, and skills to share their own stories and lean into what they do best every single day.”
Nate: “I think there are two different archetypes that will benefit most from reading Let Your People Be People. People who are newer to the workforce and who might be unsure of themselves and their position in the world and workplace. This is something that came out of the workshop. Storytelling is very natural and everyone has a story to tell. When you were a kid all you did was tell stories, probably nonstop actually, but somewhere along the way, we get that kicked out of our system. We are always trying to be concise or professional. Storytelling is the answer to that uncertainty a junior member of an organization may feel because storytelling is second nature. We just need to be retrained in it.
On the flip side, C-suite members should also give the book a read. If they do, they will see the impact storytelling has on the way we do business. We have incorporated storytelling into the basic structure of our company as a whole. They can learn from our bumpy road how to do it smoothly in their own company.”
No strings attached.
This is not a book for us, this is a book for other people. We are going through an intense and difficult learning process. We wanted you to benefit from our experiences, so you don’t have to start from scratch. This book, as Anna said, is a success if it inspires people to tell their stories and the stories of the people in their company however they see fit.
The book is free to download on our website and we would love to hear your thoughts, questions, comments or even disagreements about it.
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