E14: A curiosity masterclass with J Ramanand

The Story Rules Podcast

Mar 4 2022 • 2 hrs 6 mins


"I think the message that I wanted to leave people with was “Can you swap anxiety with curiosity?” This is something I’ve been trying to do for myself: when you’re in an anxious situation, can you take a curious approach and say “What is going on? What can I learn from this?”, whether you can postpone the anxiety to when it is more useful to be anxious, is something that I was keen to get out in this piece"

That is J Ramanand, the Co-Founder and Upleveler at Choose to Thinq, which enables organisations and individuals become future relevant.

Ramanand is a master quizzer, quizmaster and an expert at using the power of curiosity to help others uplevel themselves in a 'shape-shifting' world.

So here’s a confession. I’ve always been in awe of quizzes.

For one, the sheer thrill of quizzing.

Even though I’ve participated in just a handful of quizzes throughout my life, I still remember the memory of the dopamine hits when I would get an answer right. It must be amazing to get these hits much more often in life!

The second reason relates to the skill of quizzing.

Now, many of you may know this, but for those who don’t: Good quizzes are not reliant on memory. As Ramanand says, they have 50% of the answer hidden in the question itself… and the participant can use the powers of deduction to arrive at the answer.

Now, while the ability to deduce an answer with the given clues is one key quizzing skill, the real skill for me is the craft of creating good quiz questions. And it is this craft which has several parallels with storytelling. Both skills use the power of surprise, familiarity and curiosity to deliver an engaging experience to the audience.

Ramanand is uniquely placed to shed light on these two related skills:

- He is a die-hard quizzer - incidentally he was the youngest winner at BBC's Mastermind India and has appeared as an expert on the show Kaun Banega Crorepati (India’s version of Who wants to be a Millionaire)

- He’s a sought-after quizmaster: for the last couple of decades he’s been setting questions on an average of at least one a day. That’s thousands of questions!

- He’s an engaging and thought-provoking writer

- He works closely with the leadership at different organisations in helping them navigate the ‘shape-shifting world’ as he calls it and stay future relevant

I had a ton of fun geeking out on quizzing and storytelling techniques with Ramanand.

Finally, make sure you listen to the fabulous, fascinating story about the Indian flute maestro, Pt. Hariprasad Chaurasia.

Let’s dive in.

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Show notes:
J Ramanand on LinkedIn and Twitter
Choose to Thinq website

Posts by Ramanand on the CTQ blog:
- Three lessons on Managing a remote team an
- How Fouls Changed Football

Quora posts by Ramanand:
- A favourite question he created,
- Favourite personal moments from quizzing

A couple of pieces Ramanand wrote  for Mint:
The Computer History Museum