Topic: Book Club

Stick: Tips For Story-impaired People?

Posted by Anonymous on 500 Points
Being able to tell stories to illustrate your points makes your message more sticky. It seems to me that storytelling comes more naturally to some people than others. I, for example, have a tendency to want to extract the most important lessons from an experience and talk in those generalities rather than laying out the details in the form of a story. I think it's the introvert in me that just wants to cut to the chase. Do any of you who are good storytellers have tips or suggestions for how to tell an effective story that illustrates your points (and where to find those stories)?

Moderator Note: This discussion refers to the book Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath (topic: communications). Click the title to learn more. Then join the conversation. We'd LOVE for you to participate!

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  • Posted on Accepted
    I think telling stories comes from life experiences is how story tellers tell great stories. It's kind of like telling jokes. If you didn't really get the joke at first, it is probably best not to tell it to someone else. It is all in the delivery. You have to be real and act like yourself. It ones ability to be able to confront others and talk about anything.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Nedra, try using metaphors. A lot of the story...if it's a good, apt, well-known metaphor...can be told through that "mental visual." I am having more and more luck with metaphors these days as they give me a point that is common and then I get to go all wonky with the metaphor and it makes the product, service or idea spring to life.

    And if you've got a metaphor with legs you can tell that story through many programs and over several weeks or months.

    I hope that helped. It's something I've been leveraging quite recently--it makes challenging projects more enjoyable ;-).
  • Posted on Accepted
    I think there are some key elements to any good story (simple, sequential, great ending - and not giving it away at the beginning, etc.). I have always wanted to be a better storyteller so I have begun practicing on other people as Bob suggests. However, for me I have found that friends can be too kind and listen only at times because you ask them to. Try telling a story and practicing the key elements on a four-year old (or better yet, a bunch of four-year olds). They will let you know right away if you’re on the right track.

  • Posted on Accepted
    A good storyteller to me is someone who knows how to balance between providing enough side note details but not too many to bog down the story.

    Too few and you would be better handing out a bullet point list.

    Too many and you would be better handing out Ambien.
  • Posted on Accepted
    Ask your customers to tell your story through their words. We did this with our Annual Report the past two years to great effect.

    Not only can does it put another face on your company or organization, but it lends authenticity to your messages (especially if you don't censor the speaker).

    See for examples.

    Also, if you're really stuck, Andy Goodman ( offers a story telling course that is worth the price of admission.
  • Posted by Jay Hamilton-Roth on Member
    From my background doing improv, every good story has an "arc":

    Every day... until one day ... and then ... and then ... and ever since then ...

    You're looking for "business as usual" until something remarkable happened, which caused something else to happen, until it wasn't business as usual.

    A good story fits the audience. It provides some details, but not too much to prevent the listener from "personalizing" it to them self.

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