From Episode 3 of the weekly Storyteller Tactics episodes
Each week we release an episode containing two tactics from the up and coming Storyteller Tactics card deck.
Each episode shows you how our characters use the power of story to overcome challenges (and how they also help us write their narratives!)
What is the Abstraction story tactic?
People understand more than they can explain. So don't just ask your user questions, observe them in action.
Imagine you're watching a group of eight year olds playing a made-up game in the playground. Take one kid aside and ask her to explain the rules of the game and why she's taking part. How useful do you think her answer will be? Explanations are an abstraction. Real knowledge lies much deeper, in action and stories.
ℹ️ Remember: story is everywhere.
When you tell stories, people pay attention, and most importantly - stories are never forgotten.
The opportunities for using Storyteller Tactics in your work are endless. From emails, pitches, job interviews, or show and tells.
There's no right or wrong way to use them. Experiment and play. You'll find what works best for you.
How to use Abstraction
Watch your users in action. See how many levels you can discover, starting with action and working up to rationalisation.
- Action - what is your user doing?
- Imitation - who are they modelling their behaviour on?
- Ritual/Play - what patterns/rules are they following?
- Narrative - what kind of story do they tell?
- Rationalisation - how do they explain why they do this?
When you ask "Why?" you're only getting the highest level of understanding, which is rarely as complete as the lower levels.
Look for contradictions between what people say and do, as these can reveal new angles for your project.
Make a note of anything that surprised you. Use the "That's funny..." tactic to help.
Use the Three Ts tactic to explain your research.
🤔 Confused? Enlightened?
Let us know! We are still developing Storyteller Tactics. Drop us an email with your feedback. We reply to every single one.
- Charles & Steve.