How To Tell A Good Story In Business

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Motivational Speaker Kelly Swanson is an award-winning storyteller, author, and comedian who teaches you how to harness the power of your story to connect, engage, and get results. In this blog, Kelly focuses on the business of professional speaking. Kelly’s post day is Friday. If you aren't sure how to comment on this story, click here.

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What Makes A Story Good?

It’s official. Storytelling is the new buzz word, and has been for a while.  People across industries are realizing how important stories are when it comes to connecting and engaging with your buyer, your market, and your world.  But everyone seems to still be scratching their heads and wondering HOW.  Today I’m going to make it as simple as I can, and give you the basic bullet points that make up a good story to use as a tool in business.

  • Before you write the story, know your intent. What is the purpose of the story? There will often be more than one.
  • If the idea of writing a story makes you break out into a sweat, then don’t use the word “story” and use the word “experience”.  Share an experience. That’s what stories are – human experiences.
  • Make your experience specific, not broad.  Don’t share your teen years, share that one thing that happened in sixth grade.
  • Be able to tell your story in one sentence – a sentence that sums up what this experience was all about and what you learned.
  • Don’t just tell me the facts, share the emotion – how you felt along the way. This is CRUCIAL, as this is the part that will allow us to connect with you the most.  We don’t all share the same story line as you, but we often share the same emotion you had in that moment. Describe it for me.
  • Show me don’t tell me.  Help me see the story.  If you have a character in your story, give me a few details so I can see and know that character – including yourself.
  • Tell me somewhere in the story (first or last) why this experience meant so much to you. What it taught you. Why you remember it. Why you are sharing it today.
  • The shorter you can make it, the better. I challenge you to write it in three paragraphs.
  • Stick to a basic three-paragraph formula
    • First paragraph – give me context, set the scene – only what I need to know
    • Second paragraph – describe the moment, the experience, what happened
    • Third paragraph – tell me what you learned from it, what it taught you, how it changed your life
  • Write and tell your story the way you talk. Stories to be read are much different than stories to be told.  The more conversational you are – the more authentic you are to the way you really talk – the more we will connect because we believe that’s you talking.
  • Don’t over polish and become somebody different. Authenticity is everything when telling a story.
  • And have fun. This shouldn’t be painful. You’re just sharing an experience.  We’d like to hear it.

Need Help With Your Stories?

I have three resources that I am SUPER EXCITED about, that will help you on your journey to more powerful storytelling in business:

  1. My Online Hot Seat Shows. This is your chance to bring your five-minute story to a group video call for feedback from me.
  2. Enroll in Story Impact Academy. Everything I know about story condensed into 18 training videos that will have you writing powerful stories in no time.
  3. Come to Story Crafting Summer Camp. Join us in the wilderness by the lake in a small group setting where you can put that story on its feet.