The CEO of one of the largest IT companies based in Pune believes that the best skill to possess in 2019 is Storytelling. I neither have a reason nor qualification to disprove this. In fact, I cannot agree with it more.

When we make any kind of purchase, we either buy commodities, or we buy brands. Brands are obviously more successful and long lasting than commodities. To build a brand, you need to tell a story. A story for people within and outside the company. We become loyal to those brands, whose stories resonate with us. Think Apple for user-centricity, and Google for organising information.

So it comes as no surprise that Storytelling is one of the most sought after skills in the corporate today. As a result, several storytellers have sprung up, and they are all good.

I am writing this not to judge storytellers, but to throw light on the other side of storytelling. There is one thing imperative for the storytellers to be effective. The audience. Or as I would like to call them – Storylisteners. Zuckerberg, Gates, Jobs and even Churchill did not start off as being great storytellers. They developed this skill as they made progress. But they all listened. Listened to their customers, employees, co-founders and the masses. This empowered them with knowledge in their area of expertise. They were great storylisteners.

If there is one thing I would attribute to me becoming a better marketer, it would be active listening, without judgement. When I look back at my years as a marketer and as an entrepreneur, I have gained more from listening than by talking. Listening is an art. A rare one at that. Even if you are not the best storyteller, you can still make a fortune, by being a fantastic storylistener.

In the age of the storytellers, I proclaim myself to be a storylistener.