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Vanessa

@vanessaw752

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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

@vanessaw752

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

buffer.com

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.

The former head of the FBI’s behavioural analysis program, Robin Dreeke has studied human interpersonal relations for about three decades.

He has some expert advice on how to put strangers at ease, and how to use your body language like a pro, among other things.

How To Get People To Like You: 7 Ways From An FBI Behavior Expert - Barking Up The Wrong Tree

bakadesuyo.com

  • When you meet someone don’t judge, but listen attentively. Validate your thoughts without colouring them with prejudice or judgement.
  • Take your time to understand the person’s needs, wants, dreams and aspirations.
  • If during listening you come across stuff you don’t understand or agree with, act curious and dig deeper.

Most people want to talk about themselves, as it provides their mind with a pleasurable sensation. Let them do so.

Contradicting others does not build good relations, because as soon as people hear contradicting information that is proving them wrong, their logical instincts get shut down and they slide into a fight-or-flight response.

While it does feel good to one-up someone with a clever story as a reply to theirs or to correct someone, just don’t do it. Suspend your ego and ignore the desire to be always correct, or to be emotionally hijacked by a situation in which we are not in agreement with someone else's thoughts and actions.

Stop thinking about what you are going to say next when someone else stops talking.

Simply be curious and hear out what the other person is saying, even if you are listening but not shutting up mentally, you are not really listening, but are thinking about what you want to say. Ignore that instinct and just explore what the other person is talking about.

Asking people to talk and simply listening to them makes you a better conversationalist and extremely likeable.

The basics of active listening are:

  1. Do not interrupt, disagree or evaluate the other person’s words.
  2. Nod your head or make appropriate acknowledgement.
  3. Repeat back a short summary of what you heard.
  4. Inquire and ask questions, showing real interest.

Everyone has struggles, obstacles and challenges in life. Asking about what kind of challenges the other person is going through is an ideal path to a great conversation. The challenges they may have could be at work, or at home.

Seeking advice is one of the best ways to influence peers, superiors and team members. It is a soft, persuasive approach that is effective, provided you are sincere.

If you tell someone you are leaving in a minute, they are relaxed and open to listening to you, but if you are at a bar and offer a drink to someone, their shields go up. Tell them when you are leaving, upfront.

If the approach is preceded by inquiring politely if they have a minute, the compliance rate among strangers is higher. People need to feel safe, in control and not trapped in talking to some weird person they don’t know.

Just like our words need to be positive, vibrant and free of ego, your body language has to match, and a smile is the best way to portray it quickly. A gentle smile with a palms-up gesture suggests openness and comfort. Smile slowly, not in a hurry, and don't grin.

Smiling also makes us happier and provides the brain with the same amount of pleasure as 2000 bars of chocolate.

If we encounter manipulative people using psychology to gain an unfair advantage, be upfront and honest without being hostile. Seek further clarity in their motives and goals and the underlying reasons.

We need to focus on trust, not the various tricks in the book, to earn respect. Trust is the single most character trait that any person will look up to.

Criticizing and justifying selfies

An assumption that sharing selfies is or should be embarrassing runs throughout the journalistic and scholarly coverage on the topic.

When discussing about this practice, descriptors like "vain" and "narcissistic" inevitably become a part of the conversation. Qualifiers like "special occasion," "beautiful location," and "ironic" are used to justify them.

Technology (physical and digital) makes it possible, so we do it. But also, we do because both the technology and our culture expect us to.

The selfie is not a new form of expression. Artists have created self-portraits for ages, from cave to classical paintings, to early photography and modern art. What's new about today's selfie is its commonplace nature and its ubiquity. Technological advancement liberated the self-portrait from the art world and gave it to the masses.

As photos meant to be shared, selfies are not individual acts - they are social acts. Selfies and our presence on social media are a part of an "identity work".

This is the work that we do on a daily basis to ensure that we are seen by others as we wish to be seen. The selfies we take and share are designed to present a particular image of us, and thus, to shape the impression of us held by others.

This term refers to the idea that we have a notion of what others expect of us, or what others would consider a good impression of us, and that this shapes how we present ourselves.

Memes are cultural entities that encourage their own replication. Memes pack a powerful communicative punch with a combination of repetitious imagery and phrases. They are full of symbolic meaning. As such, they compel their replication. If they were meaningless, if they had no cultural currency, they would never become a meme.

In this sense, the selfie is very much a meme - a normative thing that we do that results in a patterned and repetitious way of representing ourselves.

Circumlocution: Too Many Words

People often say something using more words than required, usually to be vague or misleading. This phenomenon, known as circumlocution, is often intentional and a ploy used by politicians and salesmen to be evasive or to confuse the listener(or buyer).

A lengthy, wordy response is often used to hide the fact that they don’t really want to answer the question directly, or don’t have the answer for it in the first place.

Circumlocution: When People Use Too Many Words - Effectiviology

effectiviology.com

The act of saying a lot but in essence saying nothing at all is also described as ‘beating around the bush’ by many.

People use too many words intentionally in order to:

  1. Hiding their stance.
  2. Shifting attention away from the current topic.
  3. Avoiding answering personal questions.
  4. Avoid sharing the truth.

Many of us use circumlocution unintentionally or in situations that are harmless, using way too many words when we:

  1. Don’t know the exact phrase or word.
  2. Are speaking and thinking at the same time.
  3. Are avoiding using technical jargon.
  4. Are feeling awkward discussing something.
  5. Are being polite to the other person by using familiar phrases.
  6. Are creating a rhyme or a literary effect.
  7. Are learning to communicate in a foreign language.

If the other person is using more words than required, we need to understand how much of a misleading act it is, and how much of it is genuine or unavoidable. We also need to see if the use of too many words has some valid reason or not.

We can use Hanlon's Razor, which would mean that we don’t need to assume that the intentions of the person using too many words is negative, provided there is a good explanation.

  1. Simply call out the use of extensive words, and demonstrate to the other person that they are in fact saying nothing.
  2. When a direct question is being non-answered, directly point out the problematic behaviour in the person, by stating that the question hasn’t been answered.
  3. Observe and take note of the behaviour but do not say anything.
  1. Think and form sentences before you start to speak.
  2. Try to make your words concise and simplified.
  3. Learn new words and phrases to create better expressions.
  • Equivocation is a relatively similar rhetorical technique, which involves using fancy, ambiguous language to avoid clarity, like the ones we see when we read the terms and conditions.
  • Gish Gallop is like a DDOS attack, where a whole lot of rhetorical and circumlocutions are sent to the opponent with the intention of overwhelming the person, even if the arguments carry no accuracy or relevance.
The people pleaser

There's a high price for continually saying yes to the thing you just don't want to do.

When your top priority is to be liked all the time, you suppress and repress who you are. The good news is that it is a habit you can change.

How To Say No, For The People Pleaser Who Always Says Yes

npr.org

  • Over one week, observe how you spend your time and energy. Keep note of how many times you say yes, no, or maybe to a request. Notice and record how each request made you feel.
  • Identify the times you say no and everything still works out fine. This will help you to know how you can respond in the future.
  • The requests that caused you anxiety: Ask yourself what the baggage behind it is. Does it remind you of old hurts and loss? The habit can also be a survival tactic to repress who you are.

Once you know where you can safely say no, try cutting back on saying yes.

Try to document your energy level and your calendar. How much did you have to do? Did saying yes to too many things mean your days were too busy?

Next time someone makes a request, assess your time and energy before taking on more tasks.

Writing down your data helps you distinguish between when you feel excited to say yes to something and when it feels like an obligation.

Be intentional about saying yes. When you feel an urge to please, pause. It will buy you time to assess what’s really behind the question. Was it a request, demand, or just a suggestion? Knowing the answer will quiet your thoughts.

There is a difference between a hard “No, thank you” and a softer “Thanks so much for asking, but I’m not able to this week.” Another example: “Thank you so much for asking me to do this project. It sounds fascinating, but I don’t have the bandwidth for it at this time.

Don’t feel obligated to give too much of an explanation or being over-apologetic. It may confuse the other person. Stick with an elegant and soft no.

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. 
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words that sound pretentious.
  5. Never write more than 2 pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

10 Tips on Writing from David Ogilvy

brainpickings.org

  • Clarity: on your objectives, on what you want and what you don'y want, what is acceptable and what not.
  • Detachment it’s about keeping emotions out of the process.
  • Equilibrium being able to maintain your equilibrium and be able to stay calm, clear and connected to what you’re trying to achieve.

How to Strike the Right Note in a Negotiation

mindtools.com

3 Keys to breach the company walls

To breach the customer service walls of the service provider/company, and successfully resolve your complaint, you must use the three p’s: patience, persistence, and politeness.

How to Complain and Get Results

kiplinger.com

Document Everything
Leave a paper or digital trail. For any product or service for which you pay, keep copies of your order confirmations, receipts, contracts, work orders, warranties, service agreements, and billing statements.
Make your point on Time

It helps to complain as soon as you know you have a problem. The more recent your experience, the greater the weight your complaint will carry. Also, memories fade, records get buried, and work staff gets replaced.

Go to the Next Level
  • If you’re not getting results, take your complaint up the corporate ladder.
  •  Ask a customer service rep, “If you can’t help me, who can I call or write who has the authority to help?
Take it on Social Media

 If it seems you are being neglected, apply leverage by complaining on social media, also known as Twitter shaming.

The Little Known Skill Of Conversations

Asking good, effective questions is a powerful but little known tool to get the most helpful information, facilitate learning and improve interpersonal bonding.

In many cases, asking the right questions depends on complex dynamics and type of interaction, but there are some general guidelines that can commonly be applied to the conversation.

How to ask good questions

nesslabs.com

If you are distracted during a conversation or are asking ‘filler’ questions, the other person will lose interest.

Be genuinely interested and frame questions that help gather maximum facts and opinions about your interlocutor.

Being a good listener is timeless advice, and it has been eighty years since Dale Carnegie mentioned being a good listener in his classic ‘How To Win Friends And Influence People’.

The advice is still rock solid, telling us to listen with intent while asking interesting questions that the other person would love to answer.

We often interrupt an ongoing conversation and say what comes in our mind, and have to be mindful of that.

Statements can also be detrimental to our purpose of building a relationship. It is better to end the sentence with a question and let the other person speak.

Works are like keys that can lock or unlock minds. Use a neutral tone combined with the right words, avoiding conflicting or loaded ones.

It is also a good idea to keep the questions open-ended. Closed-ended questions often sound loaded or biased to the interlocutor.

Random questions should be avoided, and a hierarchy should be built that follows general questions with specific ones while asking only one thing at a time.

It helps to use the new information that you get from an answer to frame your next question, creating a natural flow.

The start of diplomacy

Diplomacy evolved initially to deal with problems in the relationships between countries.

Instead of leaders infuriating each other and making decisions in the heat of the moment, they learnt to send emissaries who could state things in less inflammatory ways, who wouldn't take the issues so personally, who would be more patient.

Diplomacy is the art of promoting an idea or cause without unnecessarily inflaming passions.

It involves an understanding of the many parts of human nature that can lead to strife and a commitment to handle these with foresight and grace.

Within a negotiation with someone, there is often a request that they change in some way.

A diplomat knows that it is futile to state the call to change too directly as many insist on having their way. Behind the arguing may lie a need for appreciation and esteem.

Diplomats know the intensity with which humans crave respect. Diplomats take the time to show that they have bothered to see how things look through the other person's eyes.

Diplomats perceive that people want to feel heard as much as they want to win their case. Therefore, diplomats put effort into securing the overall relationship's health so that smaller points can be won along the way.

Diplomats know that fear holds people back and therefore offer love and reassurance.

They know too when recommending change, they are not speaking from a position of perfection. For a recommendation not to sound like mere criticism, the diplomats know to admit to their own shortcomings: "And I am, of course, entirely mad as well…’’

A diplomat is serene in the face of bad behavior, such as a sudden loss of temper.

They don't take a wild accusation or a mean remark personally but understand that the person who bangs a fist of the table may be worried, frightened, or just enthusiastic - conditions that should instead invite sympathy.

A diplomat understands that there are moments to sidestep direct engagement. They don't teach a lesson whenever it might first or most apply; they wait until it has the best chance of being heard.

They can disarm difficult people by reacting in unexpected ways. They might nod in partial agreement to unfair criticism and declare that they've often said such things to themselves. In the face of a tirade, instead of getting defensive, the diplomatic person might suggest some lunch.

A diplomat has given up on the ideal out of mature readiness to see compromise as a necessary requirement in an imperfect world.

The diplomat may be polite but is willing to deliver bits of bad news. We should say that they're fired, that their pet project isn't going ahead, but instead pretend there is a glimmer of hope. Real niceness means helping the people we are going to disappoint to adjust as best we can to reality. The diplomatic person administers a clean blow and kills off the torture of hope, accepting the frustration that's likely to come their way.

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