Insurance and the art of storytelling
Consider for a moment that an office building under construction in your neighborhood fell apart, resulting in human casualties and destruction to property. Also, assume that the contractors had an insurance policy that covers them for all possible types of losses, in case of such an event:
- The injured construction workers have to be paid treatment expenses and a certain sum as compensation for the days they cannot work. This is workers’ compensation insurance.
- Vehicles in the nearby parking lot which were destroyed will be covered by auto liability insurance.
- Delay in repairs could bring about business loss due to non-availability of office space, which is an interruption in business, covered by property insurance.
- The head office of this branch which had operational dependency on the destroyed office also suffers a setback in business. This is contingent business interruption, also covered by property insurance.
So, coming back to our topic – what is the relation between insurance and the art of storytelling? There is none.
Many consulting engagements usually involve multiple stakeholders spanning technology, business, engineering, sales, marketing, etc. An apparent challenge then becomes the use of common language which everyone understands. With specialists from multiple fields, it is not uncommon to be carried away into a world of jargons which might make little sense to other involved stakeholders. Lack of common verbiage, often leads to confusion resulting in ineffective meetings, despite having tight agendas.
So how does storytelling help?
- Stories help in binding together a sequential set of causal events where one event dovetails into another. This is often convincing and intuitive – at the least, it should get everyone to think and start asking questions.
- A simplified story helps set the context of the business problem. It also helps to outline the impacted stakeholders, associated challenges and the intended outcome of the engagement. Remember, collective contribution for solving the problem entails that all parties understand the problem equally well.
- It provides a frame of reference to go back to. Almost everyone remembers a story!
So what’s your take on this?