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Crafting Impactful Stories with the SAR Storytelling Framework

By Arun Vijapur – Senior Product Manager at Nutanix

For product managers, storytelling is one of the most important skills to have. Whether you are pitching your product or inspiring your team, the art of storytelling can make all the difference. One impactful way of doing this is by utilizing the SAR storytelling framework, which stands for situation, action, and results.

Key Takeaways:

  • SAR storytelling framework stands for situation, action, and results. 
  • The Golden Circle, introduced by Simon Sinek, emphasizes the importance of storytelling from the inside out, first focusing on the why, then how, then what.
In this article
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    What is the SAR Storytelling Framework?

    By following this SAR storytelling structure, product managers can captivate their audience, convey complex ideas, and drive product success. 

    1. The SAR storytelling begins with setting the stage- the situation. This is where you tell your product problems, challenges, or customers’ pain points. This stage helps your audience understand the significance of the situation and empathize with those involved.

    2. The next stage is the action phase where you explain the steps to address the problems. What initiatives were launched? What decisions were made? How did you communicate these plans to those involved? This stage highlights your problem-solving abilities to your audience and stakeholders.

    3. Finally, the results phase comes in. This is where you showcase the outcomes and benefits of your actions, ideally quantifying them whenever possible. Whether it’s increased revenue, improved efficiency, or enhanced customer satisfaction, concrete results lend credibility to your narrative and demonstrate the impact of your efforts.

    The Golden Circle

    Storytelling is key to product management. There is a way in which the story is communicated. First, we tell the why, then we tell the how then we tell what happened as a part of that. This is called the concept of the golden circle, introduced by Simon Sinek. Most good leaders communicate in the same way and they communicate from the inside out. By beginning with the underlying purpose or motivation behind your actions, you tap into your audience’s emotional core, engaging them on a deeper level.

    For example, the President of Ukraine has inspired the people of Ukraine to fight for their freedom with the Russian army. He used the same concept. He communicated from the inside out. You start with the why. You talk about why you do what you do. Then move to how you want to do it. Then move to what you want to what you want to do about it. 

    More often than not, the reverse happens. Failures in communication can have significant repercussions. There is a classic example from 2001 when a company called Creative built a great product but they did not communicate it properly. The company name is creative. They built a 5 GB MP3 player much before Apple’s iPod. But the way they communicated the value and marketed it was we have a 5 GB MP3 player. Apple’s marketing campaign emphasized the transformative experience of having “1000 songs in your pocket”. This influenced the buying behavior of customers to a huge extent. When you start with why, it directly communicates to the part of the brain that controls your decision-making. So you always start with why. 

    These examples prove that effective storytelling begins with addressing the “why”. This helps you engage your audience on a deeper level, influencing their decision-making process and driving product success. Whether you’re a product manager, a team leader, or a world leader, mastering the art of storytelling can be a powerful tool for success. 

    About the Author:

    Arun Vijapur – Senior Product Manager at Nutanix


    Frequently Asked Questions

    SAR storytelling framework stands for situation, action, and results. 

    Good storytelling in product design helps understand the customer’s pain points better. It evokes certain emotions in customers which decides the buying decisions made by them.

    Golden Circle is a term introduced by Simon Sinek that emphasizes understanding the why of the problem, then moving to the how, and then finally the what.

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