The three steps of an impactful story

28th May 2013

Stories are an essential part of how we communicate. When you’re with your friends and family, they’ll be an integral part of your conversations. They make things real, fun and personal. This makes them interesting and memorable.

And it’s the same when you’re communicating at work. Incorporate real, fun and personal stories and you become more interesting and memorable. The opposite – no stories, just details – is quickly forgotten. As the saying goes ‘facts tell, stories sell’.

So, want to be more interesting and memorable? Want to be better at using stories to persuade others? The three most important elements of a story are:

  1. Why it’s needed
  2. The desired future
  3. Immediate next steps

In more detail:

Start by convincing others of the need to change. Without this, they don’t see a need to change! Discuss the things that aren’t right now; and the impact on them personally of these things continuing in this suboptimal way.

Then, paint the desired future. This helps them see where they want to be. It also gives them a Northern Star to guide them, going forwards.

Once they’re committed to this future, discuss what each of you – and it’s imperative it includes you – can do now, to start moving towards it.

Want to see the three steps in action? Simply re-read the top three paragraphs of this Tip…

Action point

Identify your next opportunity to convince somebody to change. As part of your prep:

  • Consider whether a story would help (it almost definitely will), and
  • Whether this three step approach will help them and, therefore, you (again, it almost definitely will)

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