10 dead-simple tips to make you a better storyteller

Cut the fluff

Most people amble on in backstory for 10 minutes or write an intro paragraph.

This is a waste of time.

Find the interesting parts of your story, jump right to it, and provide as little backstory as possible.

Start with the end in mind

What do you want the outcome of your story to be?

• Customer buying a product
• Friend laughing his ass off
• Investor giving you money

If you start with the end in mind, the intro and middle naturally funnel to that target.

Make it emotional

People make decisions based on emotion.

But it’s impossible to make your audience feel everything.

Nail down 1-2 emotions and direct the entire story to amplify those.

I regularly refer to this chart from @ShaanVP:Image

Raise the stakes

Apple realized the iPhone was competing on the same few features each release.

So it raised the stakes: privacy.

This tells two stories:
• Apple protects your privacy
• Competitors exploit your privacy

The story became a feature with iOS 14.5.Image

Use data intentionally

Numbers tell, stories sell.

But if used well, data backs up the story you’re telling.

I aim to use 1-3 high-impact data points to support my stories.

Keep a story log

You have story-worthy moments every day but forget almost all of them. Simple fix:

• Create a two column spreadsheet (date and story)

• Before bed, take two minutes to write the best story from that day

You’ll start seeing stories everywhere.

Structure your story

Humans gravitate to structure. Luckily there are tons to wrap around your story:

• Hero’s Journey
• StoryBrand
• Three Act

Here’s the structure JK Rowling used for the 5th Harry Potter:Image

Talk to a niche

Great stories aren’t told to everyone.

They’re told to the specific group of people who will resonate most with them.

The idea of “1000 true fans.”

Nail the hook

It doesn’t matter how incredible the rest of your story is if nobody sticks around for it.

A few guidelines:
• Punchy
• Short
• “Big if true”

Here’s the hook Steve Jobs used for the iPhone product launch: 

Sell the transformation

Great storytelling boils down to the transformation the Hero goes through.

Nike never sells its clothing — it sells what the clothing can do for you.

“If you wear our stuff, you’ll jump like LeBron, run like Ronaldo, and hit like Serena.”Image

Hope you enjoyed that!

I write about storytelling 1-2x times per week. Follow @nathanbaugh27 so you don’t miss those.


The Latest

To Top