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!

Yada Yada Yada

There is so much focus on the importance of storytelling in business. From brand to leadership to managing client relationships, storytelling has become the “silver bullet” for how to approach something better. This post is not about when or why to tell a good story. Instead, I want to call … Continue reading

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Last week I was working with an executive, and he got flustered. “I can’t think of a story,” he said. I told him, “Just think about it – the stories will come to you.” And sure enough, they did. Why were we looking for stories? Not just because it’s trendy … Continue reading

The Deal is in the Details

In case you hadn’t noticed, the concept of story is pretty hot right now. Basically every industry endorses it as its #1 bit of advice, with entire companies popping up to “help tell your story.” There are two avenues of storytelling. First, there is the simple method of telling what … Continue reading

Technology & Storytelling

I got sucked into a vortex again. If you’ve ever been on TED.com, you know what I’m talking about. You attempt to watch one talk (ranging from 2-18 minutes) and all of a sudden, you’re engaged in hours of thought-provoking, imaginative, and powerful presentations, and half your day disappears. Last … Continue reading

The Five Biggest Mistakes CEOs Make in Speaking

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Follow the Four Commandments of Storytelling

We promised more tips from the brilliant speakers at this year’s TED conference (see earlier post on Bryan Stevenson). I just watched Andrew Stanton’s TED talk again, and it’s even better the second time. You don’t have to be an Oscar winner to tell a great story. Chances are you … Continue reading

Learn from TED Live, featuring Bryan Stevenson

Our heads are still spinning from last week’s TED Live conference (we streamed it live into our headquarters all week and took down tons of teaching points and notes). What does that mean to you? You’ll get applicable bits of TED to learn from – we’ll be sharing highlights from the … Continue reading

Need change? Add emotion.

My emotion yesterday? Guilt. From a trash can. And it completely altered my course of action. Throwing anything away is painfully confusing in San Francisco. So much so that many people (tourists especially) will stand paralyzed with their lunch refuse in front of an intimidating wall of bins. The trash, … Continue reading

Video Blog: Tell a story to land your point

Recently, I coached an executive who shared a great example of business storytelling, as an alternative to getting bogged down in data speak. I now share it so you keep using SHARPs (Stories, Humor, Analogies, References & Quotes, Pictures & Visuals) to drive your points and lead others to action. Enjoy! … Continue reading