In discussion with digital storytelling pioneer Dr. Amit Nagpal

A Potpourri of Vestiges Feature

Editor-in-chief, A Potpourri of Vestiges, Murtaza Ali Khan, recently caught up with Dr Amit Nagpal, PhD, who is one of the pioneers of digital storytelling in India. After working for more than two decades in academics, and corporate (including publishing, television and digital marketing), he realized teaching is meditation and storytelling is his Nirvana. He is also Chief Inspirational Storyteller at AL Services. AL Services has co-created stories of some of the most inspiring people in India and abroad. Dr. Nagpal is the author of the book ‘Personal Branding, Storytelling And Beyond’. He tweets at @DrAmitInspires.
Here is a summary of the Q&A session we had with the esteemed author:

Murtaza: Congratulations, Dr. Nagpal, for your book, ‘Personal Branding, Storytelling And Beyond’!

Dr. Nagpal:   Many thanks Murtaza for your warm wishes. The book has been No 1 on Amazon for past 4 months in personal branding category. It is also available on most of the online platforms like Flipkart, Paytm, Snapdeal etc and also in major book store chains across India.

Murtaza: ‘Personal Branding, Storytelling And Beyond’ has been receiving positive reviews all over. Tell us about your book and what inspired you to write it?

Dr. Nagpal:   My journey in personal branding and storytelling is six year old now. I wanted to share my experiences and learning of this journey with the readers.
The book also takes the reader on a journey viz from base feeling to higher emotions, from branding to bonding, from self promotion to inspirational storytelling, making it an interesting journey of evolution and learning.

Social media tools have made it easier to build a personal brand online and network with people across the world and both working professionals and entrepreneurs can take advantage of the low cost brand building process. Social media also requires a new mindset of collaboration, creativity and open mindedness to new ideas /cultures.

Murtaza: You have written this book in collaboration with Dr. Prakash Hindustani. Tell us about your collaboration with Dr. Hindustani and what are the biggest challenges while coauthoring a book?

Dr. Nagpal:   The co-authors need to have complementary skills and their thinking patterns and ideologies need to match. While Dr Prakash is a mass media expert, my expertise lies in social media. We have presented our book to many celebrities and leaders including Governor of Harayana Prof Kaptan Singh and CM of Chattisgarh Dr Raman Singh.

We are based in 2 different cities, so coordination over phone and email was required. Since we have known each other for nearly 15 years, coordination was not a problem.

Murtaza: What is the importance of digital storytelling and branding in today’s competitive age? What role can social media play in this?

Dr. Nagpal:   Storytelling is the most powerful branding tool, be it organizations, startups, products or people.  Earlier branding was done only through mass media which was expensive and out of reach of SMEs and professionals. Social media is a game changer in that sense. Digital storytelling has a variety of formats ranging from text to visual, from PPT to podcast besides video of course.

Social media is slightly biased towards people branding, because people want to converse and build relationships with people and not organizations. In fact people prefer to read people stories vis-à-vis organizational stories.   

Organisational stories have to be interwoven with people stories to make them more effective and catchy to read.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        
Murtaza: Tell us about your journey as a motivational writer, storyteller and an author. How did it all start?

Dr. Nagpal:   My first book (From News to Infotainment to Tamasha) was based on my PhD thesis and my second book (The 7 Joys of Life) has inspiring stories from my life.

As a child I had been fond of creative writing, though I used to write poetry mostly and less of prose. I began writing management articles around 2001 and blogs around 2010.

In the next 6 years, three books followed.

Murtaza: The youth in today’s age has to be deal with endless competition. The expectations of family and friends are sky high. How can he/she increase his/her chances of success?

Dr. Nagpal:   I recommend a three step route to success. First step needs to be to discover our deep or sustainable passion. Second step needs to be building relevant skills and attitude. Third step is to build ‘Brand You’.

Only if one has deep passion, one is able to win against odds and have devilish persistence. One is also able to enjoy the journey rather than being focused on a mirage of a destination.

Murtaza: Writing is often described as a painstaking process. How do you see it? What would be your advice to aspiring writers?

Dr. Nagpal: Writing is painstaking as one need to sculpt words. One needs to rewrite and edit at least 2-3 times to create good content. To create great content, one may needs 5 or more rounds of editing and word sculpting.

I learnt ‘Word sculpting’ from Dr Janet Smith Warfield, a well known author based in Florida, USA. It requires cutting the flab or removing unnecessary words, adding the drama, rewriting, to make it more impactful by adding emphasis and so on. 

You can order your copy of ‘Personal Branding, Storytelling And Beyond’ at:

Readers, please feel free to share your opinion by leaving your comments. As always your valuable thoughts are highly appreciated!

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