The 3 Tricks to Strategic Storytelling

philmckinney | April 10, 2012

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Strategic storytelling

Strategic Storytelling

Why is it so hard to pitch your idea?  We’ve been taught that the way to persuade people to our ideas is to use logic and facts.  That approach ignores the role that emotion plays in our decision making.

So how do you engage the emotion of a person you’re trying to get a comittment from?  By using strategic storytelling to pitch your idea.

Structure of a Story

Strategic storytelling uses the basic structure of movies to tell the story of your idea.  The key is to tell the story in such a way as the listener places themselves in the story.  They see themselves, their family, their business, someone the know have the challenges you describe.  Its then you have created the emotional connection between your idea and the listener. The structure of the story is that of a 3 act play with some variations.

Act 1: Setup – Define the location, industry, characters and environment in enough detail to allow the listener to paint a picture in their mind.
Act 2: Confrontation – Describe the obstacle/problem including size, scope and impact.  Build the tension on the way to the climax of the story.
Act 3: Resolution – Deliver the climax and the solution.  Show how your idea is the solution to the confrontation.

 

Rules of Strategic Storytelling

Over the years, I’ve collected some hard learned rules to strategic storytelling.

  1. Keep it short (20 minutes is a good length)
  2. Personalize the story to the audience
  3. Put emotion and passion into the storytelling
  4. Use “pause” and “tone” to create tension and excitement
  5. Read the body language in the room.  Get everyone engaged
  6. End the story with emphasis (end on a pause … the goal is to get a “wow”)

To learn more, listen to the Strategic Storytelling podcast

 

Comments

Comments(6)

Posted by Ulf on Apr 12th, 2012

How many people (in percent) do you know that can actually listen?

Storytelling is an art that needs theory – and more than anything else – practice.
Here is a hint on practice – tell stories to your kids. The younger they are, the better. If you can capture their attention, you’re more than likely to make it with anyone else. A welcome secondary effect – it teaches your kids to listen, an almost forgotten but most important skill, especially when working in the innovation business.

Posted by E L S U A ~ A KM Blog Thinking Outside The Inbox by Luis Suarez » Productivity Tips on Presentations: Inform, Inspire and Motivate on Jul 10th, 2012

[...] Entrepreneur’s Guide to Giving Great Talks” that will surely help you get off to a good start on identifying the power of storytelling when being in front of an audience, whether small or a [...]

Posted by What’s a Pitch anyways? | Microsoft Imagine Fund on Nov 4th, 2013

[...] Telling 3 tricks to strategic story telling (Phil McKinney) The Importance of Storytelling in Honing Your Pitch (John Brooks) Storytelling: A [...]

Posted by How to Use Your Strategy Stories to Motivate Team Alignment | Paul Keijzer on Jul 24th, 2014

[…] that they all own it and act to support and build on it. You can also check out this article from Phil McKinney (ex-CTO HP) on the 6 lessons ruled on strategy […]

Posted by How to Use Your Strategy Stories to Motivate Team Alignment | The Marketers Mega Toolkit on Jul 31st, 2014

[…] that they all own it and act to support and build on it. You can also check out this article from Phil McKinney (ex-CTO HP) on the 6 lessons ruled on strategy […]

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