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