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Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

Dave Lieber’s V storytelling formula

  • Introduce the character;
  • Bring the story to its lowest point;
  • Turn it around and finish with a happy ending.
Once you introduce the character of the story, describe how things went awful for him/her, using emotions to draw your audience into your story. At the lowest point of the story, turn things around, describe how things improved, and end the story on a high note.

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Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

Social Media Storytelling Formulas: 11 Quick-Fire Ways to Create Your Stories

https://buffer.com/library/storytelling-formulas#

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11

Key Ideas

Three-Act storytelling structure

One of the oldest and most straightforward storytelling formulas:

  • Setup: Set the scene and introduce the character(s)
  • Confrontation or “Rising action” : Present a problem and build up the tension
  • Resolution: Resolve the problem

Five-Act storytelling structure

Also known as Freytag’s Pyramid:

  • Exposition: Introduce important background information
  • Rising action: Tell a series of events to build up to the climax
  • Climax: Turn the story around (usually the most exciting part of the story)
  • Falling action: Continue the action from the climax
  • Dénouement: Ending the story with a resolution.

Before – After – Bridge storytelling formula

  • Before: Describe the world with Problem A.
  • After: Imagine what it’d be like having Problem A solved.
  • Bridge: Here’s how to get there.

Set the stage of a problem that your target audience is likely to experience ( a problem that your company solves). Describe a world where that problem didn’t exist. Explain how to get there or present the solution (i.e. your product or service).

Problem – Agitate – Solve storytelling formula

  • Problem: Present a problem
  • Agitate: Agitate the problem
  • Solve: Solve the problem

First, you present a problem. Second, instead of presenting the “After”, you intensify the problem with emotional language. Finally, you solve the problem by offering your product or services.

Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle

  • Why: Why the company exists (Why are you in this business? What motivates you)
  • How: How the company fulfills its Why
  • What: What the company does to fulfill its Why (i.e. your products and services).

Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula for storytelling

  • Incident: Share a relevant, personal experience, to grab your audience’s attention.
  • Action: Describe the specific action taken to solve or prevent a problem, showing that a change was needed.
  • Benefit: State the benefits of the action/change.

Dave Lieber’s V storytelling formula

  • Introduce the character;
  • Bring the story to its lowest point;
  • Turn it around and finish with a happy ending.
Once you introduce the character of the story, describe how things went awful for him/her, using emotions to draw your audience into your story. At the lowest point of the story, turn things around, describe how things improved, and end the story on a high note.

Star – Chain – Hook storytelling formula

  • Star: An attention-getting, positive opening
  • Chain: A series of convincing facts, benefits, and reasons
  • Hook: A powerful call-to-action.

The star grabs your audience’s attention. The chain turns your audience’s attention into a desire. The hook gives them something actionable to fulfill their desire.

The Story Spine: Pixar’s award-winning formula

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

The idea is to introduce a character or a group of character, describe their usual routine, present a twist that disrupts their daily lives, explain how they overcome it, and celebrate!

The Hero’s Journey storytelling formula

  • Departure: A hero receives a call to go on an adventure, receives advice from a mentor, and heads out on her journey.
  • Initiation: The hero meets a series of challenges but eventually completes the mission.
  • Return: The hero returns and helps others with her new found power or treasure.

This formula is used by many of the greatest storytellers including George Lucas for his Star Wars films!

Nancy Duarte’s secret structure of great talks

  • What is: The status quo
  • What could be: The future that could be possible

Go back and forth between the two and end off with a …

  • New bliss: The wonderful future with your idea/product/service adopted.

SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Storytelling is...
Storytelling is...
...the process of using fact and narrative to communicate something to your audience. Some stories are factual, and some are embellished or improvised in order to better explain the core message.
Why we tell stories
  • Stories solidify abstract concepts and simplify complex messages;
  • Stories bring people together: stories connect us through the way we feel and respond to them;
  • Stories inspire and motivate, by tapping into people’s emotions and baring both the good and bad.
Good stories are …
  • Entertaining. Good stories keep the reader engaged and interested in what’s coming next.
  • Educational. Good stories spark curiosity and add to the reader’s knowledge bank.
  • Universal. Good stories are relatable to all readers and tap into emotions and experiences that most people undergo.
  • Organized. Good stories follow a succinct organization that helps convey the core message and helps readers absorb it.
  • Memorable. Whether through inspiration, scandal, or humor, good stories stick in the reader’s mind.

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Steve Jobs

“The most powerful person in the world is the story teller. The storyteller sets the vision, values and agenda of ..."

Steve Jobs
Storytelling Is Everything

Whether it's telling inspiring stories to customers or delivering a presentation to executives and the board of directors, being a good storyteller helps us make the leap from Good to Great.

Product managers and designers can benefit tremendously by great storytelling, and so can anyone who is working with product design.

Purpose

Instead of selling products, we need to focus on their purpose and what good it does for the end-user. Focus on the need of the customer and design the product around it.

5 more ideas

Pete Docter

“What you’re trying to do, when you tell a story, is to write about an event in your life that made you feel some ..."

Pete Docter
Pixar’s Plotting Techniques For Structure And Purpose

The Story Spine structure: Once upon a time there was [blank]. Every day, [blank]. One day [blank]. Because of that, [blank]. Until finally [bank].

A story’s purpose: find why you want to tell this story, what belief of yours fueled that story, what does it teach and its purpose. Stories with a purpose that you are passionate about have a bigger impact.

Jon Westenberg
Jon Westenberg

“Storytelling is the greatest technology that humans have ever created.” 

one more idea

Great leaders are storytellers.
Great leaders are storytellers.

Stories are more than just tall tales or campfire yarns.

They include discussions of the enterprise in the future tense. They can inspire, instruct and invite.

How To Craft Great Stories: The Context

Establish the setting or scene.

Start with a transition to signify the story’s beginning before creating a realistic backdrop.

Ask yourself:
- What do I want my associates to feel?
- How can I nurture a sense of adventure, mystery, suspense, joy or invitation?
- Will my associates be able to visualize the scene I have in my mind?

How To Craft Great Stories: The Challenge

Create a dilemma with proper tension or dissonance with which associates can identify, then using one sentence, describe the challenge for each of the key characters.

Questions to help you create dissonance:

- How can I build a sense of concern, conflict, or suspense?

- Will my associates be able to visualize the challenge the same way I do?

- Will the dilemma create enough dissonance associates will desire a resolution?

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Why storytelling works

Stories are like instruction manuals that explain how we move from one state of being to another.

Stories help us imagine how we can improve our own lives or avoid unpleasant consequen...

A good story moves us

A good story can make us laugh or cry, our bodies can tense with a dramatic horror movie, or we are flooded with relief when the hero comes to the rescue. This experience is called transportation.

Transportation allows us to experience a story's movement through its characters. The characters' struggles and their rewards become our own.

Our relationship with stories

Good stories catch your attention, connects you by drawing you in and move you to action. Stories that don't capture your attention will fail to deliver their message.

When participants remain engaged with a story and see characters overcome conflicts, they will empathize with the characters and be more willing to act on these feelings.

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Matthew Luhn

“When you share a personal, professional moment where you’ve changed in a positive way, you inspire people. That's..."

Matthew Luhn
Closing A Hiring Pitch

Bring the hiring pitch home with personal stories that show how people authentically live out your company’s mission. Pixar’s films often start from a real, personal story.

Your company’s big-picture mission might be inspiring, but it’s not necessarily personal. You can make it more personal by peppering your pitches with personal anecdotes about ways that you’ve changed.

Feeding Interest With The Promise Of Change

After you’ve hooked your audience/candidate, you need to catch their attention and get the story moving by animating it with change and transformation. In Pixar’s movies, that change isn’t just about reversals of fortune—they’re about personal transformation.

Great stories promise to change the life of the protagonist who we imagine ourselves to be, if not our own. In light of that, recruiters should focus on how candidates’ lives will change—not just their day-to-day tasks, but also how the new role will change the way they feel. 

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Stories create “sticky” memories

...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 thi...

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. 

Use personal experiences
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 personal details at work, but anecdotes that illustrate struggle, failure, and barriers overcome are what make leaders appear authentic and accessible.

4 more ideas

Better Your Storytelling With Emotion And Reaction

Though a cartoon is two-dimensional, to make an emotional connection with the audience characters need action and re-action. Walt Disney had his artists focus on learning that.

Too often pres...

Keep The Audience’s Perception In Mind

Walt Disney realized that to tell the best stories he had to invest in teaching his artists how to be the best if he wanted his movies to be the best. They then invested more and created their own schools.

We need to be less concerned about how we look at our stories and instead focus on the images we draw in the minds of our audience. We use words to do that and they need just enough detail to let the minds of the audience to paint an image but not so much that we confuse the image in their mind.