Use Stories

Stories make the abstract tangible, they draw people in …


“People love stories, and one of the really good ways to relate to your prospect is to tell a story. (…) a story can be invaluable and creates an emotional relationship of bond that keeps your prospect riveted and listening.”
Joe Sugarman

How To Craft A Story

The starting point in crafting your story is your objective; the story is a means to an end. Are you trying to change a person’s mind, motivate them, change their behaviour, persuade them to make a particular decision?

  • set the scene
  • introduce the characters
  • explain what is at stake
  • look for an inciting or starting incident that throws life out of balance (such as the arrival of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story! Choose an appropriate film for your audience). There may be:
    • lack of resources – time, money, energy, skills
    • conflict, doubt, fear, confusion
    • external events beyond your control
    • changes in people, society, organisations
  • what drives the person to take up the struggle
  • how are the opposing forces overcome?
  • are other characters involved – affected, helping or hindering?
  • what are the ups and downs along the way
  • what does the ‘hero’, the main character, learn – what is the resolution


Personal stories are powerful because: They give the audience new material. When you talk about events that have taken place in your life, you will naturally feel some of the emotions that you felt when those events took place. As a result, some of this emotion will show through in your delivery, resulting in a more authentic delivery. You won’t have to practice your gestures and your facial expressions because all of that will come naturally when you’re delivering a personal story.

Using Dialogue

Dialogue is more powerful than narration. It puts audience members into the scene, allowing them to hear exactly what was said. Dialogue is also shorter and punchier than narration. Finally, another advantage of dialogue is that it allows vocal variety – to slightly change the pace, pitch and volume of the voice to reflect the emotions and speech of the different characters.

Be Careful

  • remember: it is not about you!
    • if you are talking about you, you are not talking about them
  • recognize that their situation is not the same
    • we like to draw general principles from our own experience but we are less likely to accept that someone’s experience is valid – especially if they use it as ‘proof’: “This was my experience so you should …”
    • allow them to draw conclusions
  • be short – longer stories risk becoming a distraction