What’s the Point of Your Story?

The weather at the Boston Marathon this year was brutal. Forty degrees, 20mph winds and rain showers. Everyone was freezing and drenched from head to toe. By mile 4, Olympian Des Linden was ready to call it quits. Convinced it wasn’t her day, she offered to help pace and shield the wind for a teammate. It had been 33 years since an American woman had won the race and she wanted to change that, even if it meant sacrificing herself. It was that shift in focus that distracted her from the weather conditions long enough to not only catch the leaders but pass them and win the race!

We’ve all faced adversity in one way or another. And when we do, it’s important to step back so you can shift your focus to the bigger picture. And it’s the same thing when it comes to storytelling.

We love stories. Every single one of us looooooooves a good story. In fact, the next time someone says, “Let me tell you a story,” whether it’s at a bar, around the coffee machine at work, during a meeting or gathering in a public space, just watch how people lean in to listen.

The thing about stories is, you have to know where you are going. A story without a point is just a good story. Sure, that’s great for entertainment value, but you have the opportunity to inspire! Land the point and change the way your listener thinks or acts.

When you are using your story to help influence, it should be leading to a singular end goal and focus. If you’ve taken one of our programs, you know we refer to this as your Point of View. What’s the point of your story?

Once you know the point of the story, you’ve started with the end in mind, it’s time to work on the telling part. We’ve blogged about this before.

Bolster the details. Make it concrete. Make the story easy to visualize for your listener. Then, add some emotion. Emotion will help the story come to life.

Your goal is to help your listeners see, then feel, then change. Describe in vivid detail, add emotion, then hit ‘em with your point of view (and of course your actions and benefits). That’s a story that packs a punch!

Public Apology 101

Mistakes happen. We get it. We hope they don’t, but when they do, leaders need to know how to react effectively. The problem is, so often public apologies get botched. Every year we hear about them. More than a few (like this, and this, and this) have landed on our … Continue reading

Are You Cursed By Knowledge?

It’s a tough question. Mostly because you probably don’t even know you’re cursed. That is, you don’t know what it’s like NOT to know what you know. This has HUGE implications in our communications. We end up communicating to clients, internal team members, and even our kids in a language … Continue reading

Stinkin’ Thinkin’: Change Our Communication Perceptions

Jerry Seinfeld once famously said, “If you go to a funeral, you’re better off in the casket than giving the eulogy.” Although meant as a joke, this quote resonates with a lot of us who say we are “terrified” of communicating in front of others. Our fears are not commensurate … Continue reading

How About a Little Wabi-Sabi With Your Communications?

Almost Famous is one of my wife’s favorite movies. There’s a part in it when the main character, Russell, travels to Topeka and gets sick of hanging out with his rock and roll band and crew — instead, he just wants to hang out with ‘real people.’ I think craving … Continue reading