How To Effectively Use Storytelling in Your Business & Life
Story is the most powerful medium we can communicate ideas, values, and culture to a group of people. Yet we tend to lean on the crutch of data, charts, and analytics, ignoring the way we've shared ideas with each other for thousands of years.
The main reason is that we forget what elements make up a great story, and how to tell it. Telling a great story can get even trickier when we're talking about our work and the message we're communicating to customers.
In this talk, I share different story structures and elements you can apply in your life and work, and examples of how successful companies are telling great stories. You'll hear from storytellers like Joseph Campbell, Donald Miller, Pixar, and more.
To hear the audio from this talk, visit http://soundcloud.com/matt-ragland/storytelling-in-life-and-work
Once upon a time there was _____. Every day, _____.
One day, _____. Because of that, _____. Because of that, _____.
Until one day, _____
A character is presented with
a challenge. He seeks (or is
given) help from mentors and
collaborators. He formulates
a plan and begins the journey.
Along the way, he
experiences success, failure,
and is changed. Upon
completion, he returns, ready
to help others change.
I want ____, but need ____ in order to
____. ____ is in the way, and I need
help from ____ to overcome it and
achieve my goal.
Choose your Storyline
Athletic challenges are popular !
because they offer absolute clarity.
I want to run a half-marathon, but
need to get in better shape. My
priorities and ﬁtness habits are in
the way, and I need help from a
coach or training plan to overcome
the challenges and ﬁnish the race.
I want to write a book, but need a
plan and a practice. My choices on
how I spend free time are in the
way, and I need help from other
writers and teachers to overcome
the resistance and do the work.
“Stories have the power to transport us and affect our
beliefs. Storytellers are often more believable and their
mistakes are less apparent than data-dumpers.
Furthermore, stories help make information and lessons
easier to process and retain”
Green & Brock
Journal of Personality and
Social Psychology, 2000
“A story is a trick for sneaking !
a message into the fortiﬁed !
citadel of the human mind”
1. Great characters understand
challenges and responsibility!
2. Great characters understand conﬂict
and the role it plays!
3. Great characters in great stories
show vulnerability and seek help
“Cultivating vulnerability in a relationship or
organization is like turning on the lights in a dark
room. It’s best to turn on a string of little lights than
blind someone with a ﬂashlight.”!
- Brene Brown in Daring Greatly
Effective Storytelling for
The champion for the common man,
making air travel affordable & democratic
food should be
We are dedicated to collaborative and independent
creativity, continuously seeking to remove the barriers
which impede such work.
We want our gear to integrate and connect with
the outdoor experience, not conquer it. !
“We want Topo gear to do exactly what is
needed in your outdoor adventures, but nothing
more. The pack should be a integrated in to the
experience, and not conquer it. In a way, we
want the gear to get out of the way and allow the
outdoorsman to take in the majesty of the
outdoors without fussing with his pack”
Jedd Rose, Founder
1. Solving the Story
What problem are they solving?!
What challenges are being overcome?!
What are the obstacles & conﬂicts?!
Can anyone else help guide/teach us?!
Who else is on the journey with me?
2. Simplify the Story
Now, simplify your answers
down to a few sentences.
3. Scaling the Story
What can we do this !