The Art of Story Telling

We all know people who can blow your hair back with the stories they tell.  I’ve come to realize that story telling is a part of life.  Whether you’re in a social setting with friends, or in the midst of a competitive deal trying to get the person on the other side of the table to change his opinion and take action.   Coming to this realization made me study “the art” behind the story.  Through research, I’ve realized there are 5 points to a good story.  Here they are;

1. The Point. What’s the point of your story?  Begin your story by telling the end result.  Example- “They realized a 45% lift in year over year sales.”

2.  Setting.  Next you’ll speak to the setting of the story.  This is your beginning point where the story unfolds. Include the time-frame and subjects.  “I first started working with ABC company in 2003, right when the economy started to pick-up after the dot-com crash.”

3.  Challenge.  This is where you’ll speak to the obstacles your story subjects were facing.  You’ll want to focus on the “tension of a conflict.”  Example: “ABC company realized they had 7 months of run-rate left to keep the company afloat.  The understood if they didn’t take action and fast, they soon would be forced to layoff employees and potentially go out of business.”

4.  Action.  Speak to the action taken that addresses the challenge.  “ABC Company doubled down in their networking technology and made a substantial investment in Internet Protocol Hardware.”

5.  Resolution.  This is what happens as a result Action.  The resolution bleeds into the point of your story.  “As a result of their investment, ABC Company merged 3 call centers into 1, refurbished their legacy hardware, sold their real-estate, reduced taxes owed, and re-positioned staff members.”

Remember, story telling works best if you appeal to your audience’s emotions. Here’s a few resources to help:

What good sales people do.

Ted Talks on Story Telling 


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