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Crafting compelling business stories: Secrets no one tells you

October 16, 2023

The biggest piece of feedback I get from clients is business storytelling is much harder than it looks.

Yet when you hear a story, part of its success is that it seems effortless, simple even. Simplicity means that the audience ‘gets it.’

Consider this gem from the late, David Foster Wallace, an American writer.

Two young goldfish were swimming along and they met an older fish, who said, “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” One of the young goldfish looked over at the other and said, “What the hell is water?”

Wallace shares the story to show how obvious realities are often the hardest to see.

The story is relatable, short and purposeful. What makes a story difficult to craft then? The very things that make it simple! Keeping it relatable, short, and purposeful.

For a story to work, it must be relatable. It should usually feature a single person (not teams or organisations) to which your audience can relate.

My rule of thumb is that a story in business should take less than two minutes to share. This means stories take work, drafting and redrafting.

The power and juice of a good story lies in how you link it to a message (purpose). It is important to do it in a way that is subtle. This is difficult, even for story ninjas.

The second most common feedback I get from clients is one of regret. Clients wish they discovered storytelling earlier in their careers. Please don’t let that be your regret.

What stories have you shared or heard and loved?

Story Mastery

Discover stories from leaders like you, who have applied these simple steps and achieved career-defining business results. Storytelling is not a natural gift, but a skill you can learn.

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