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Start with a message

First, settle on your ultimate message; then you can figure out the best way to illustrate it.

Every storytelling exercise should begin by asking: Who is my audience and what is the message I want to share with them? 

Each decision about your story should flow from those questions. 

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...by attaching emotions to things that happen. That means those who can create and share good stories have a powerful advantage over others.

Facts and figures and all the rational things that we think are important in the business world actually don’t stick in our minds at all.

Not every story you tell has to be a surprising, edge-of-your-seat epic. Some of the most successful and memorable stories are relatively simple and straightforward. 

Don’t let needless details to detract from your core message. Work from the principle that “less is more.” One of the bigges...

The best storytellers look to their own memories and life experiences for ways to illustrate their message. 

Think of a moment in which your own failures led to success in your career or a lesson that a parent or mentor imparted.

There may be a tendency not to want to share pers...

Do:

  • Consider your audience: choose a framework and details that will best resonate with your listeners.
  • Identify the moral or message you want to impart.
  • Find inspiration in your life experiences.

Don’t:

  • Assume y...

Good storytellers understand that a story needs conflict. A story without a challenge simply isn’t very interesting.

Don’t be afraid to suggest the road ahead will be difficult. We actually like to be told it’s going to be hard,” followed by "but if we all pull together and hang in t...

You can be a central figure, but the ultimate focus should be on people you know, lessons you’ve learned, or events you’ve witnessed.

The more you celebrate your own decisions, the less likely your audience will connect with you and your message.

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How to Tell a Great Story

Principles to Remember

Do:

  • Consider your audience — choose a framework and details that will best resonate with your listeners.
  • Identify the moral or message your want to impart.
  • Find inspiration in your life experiences.

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Storytelling and reading

Reading to your children is an indispensable tool. Storytelling goes hand-in-hand with reading to help children develop language and story comprehension.

Research shows that children understand and retain more of a story they were told than having the same story read ...

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Storytelling and Social Impact

The ability to tell a compelling and evocative story is a critical part of our work, especially if it is related to creating a social impact.

Communicating with clients, potential donors, bank loan officials, remote co-workers, and supervisors can benefit from effective storytelling.

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