Ten Tips for Story Tellers

casal-1724694_1280One of the best ways to get your message across is with stories.  Facts and data can be persuasive but many people prefer a story.  So how can you craft a good story? Here are some hints which work in most situations including social, political or business settings.

  1. Don’t tell theoretical stories.  Talk about real people and what happened to them.
  2. Set the scene.  Describe the situation – which will often involve some kind of problem or challenge.
  3. Use some dialogue to personalise the story and draw out the intensity and seriousness of the situation.
  4. Explain how the issue was resolved.  What action was taken and what was the result?
  5. Draw out an insight or conclusion.  Don’t assume that your listener or reader can deduce the lesson – spell it out for them.
  6. Involve your audience in the story with an appeal to their feelings – such as pride, fear, anger, sadness or guilt.
  7. Include a call to action.  What do you want the audience to do as a result of the story?
  8. Most stories follow one of five plot types – a) the hero’s journey b) love story c) coming of age d) stranger in a strange land e) revenge.  Follow the structure and people will instinctively know where it leads.
  9. A personal story (about ME) is good but a story in which the audience can picture themselves (about YOU) is better.  Best of all is a story about US – e.g. working together to to overcome a challenge.
  10. Try taking a customer case study and turning it into a story.

Practise your story and tell it with feeling and conviction.  People are more likely to remember a story than a set of facts and figures.  And they are much more likely to be persuaded to your cause.


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3 thoughts on “Ten Tips for Story Tellers

  1. Couldn’t agree more! Indeed, presenting facts and awesome ideas can be interesting but what allows people to better relate to something- to identify themselves- would be a story. This is also why I always get fascinated to hear stories from different people. Great post!

  2. Lately I’ve been working on keynotes and there seem to be big differences between storytelling in that format vs. a workshop or training format. In workshops I offer numerous stories to illustrate different points but the best keynotes will have one overarching story, I think. This is much more challenging. Do others agree with this idea?

    1. Stories in keynotes have to be more boldly written than for a workshop as there is far less time.

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