Archive for December 2018

155: How To Begin A Story

how to begin a story


This is one of the most important episodes in the series on How To Tell A Story.

It’s important for two reasons. One, your opening is your hook; it must create immediate engagement with your audience. Two, it sets the tone and the expectation for everything that follows in your story.

The word, story, defines all of your intentional communication. It can be a presentation to a large audience, a one-on-one conversation, either personal or business, a YouTube video, an email. A story is absolutely anything that uses words to impact and influence another human being.

You will learn about two provocative hooks, real examples from two compelling presentations that I experienced.

Plus, you’ll discover these powerful techniques for how to begin a story:

  • Make a bold statement
  • Open with a shocking statistic
  • Begin with a prop
  • Start with anything that arouses strong curiosity

Finally, you will hear the opening of a short story called “Mrs. Kelly’s MOnster,” by Jon Franklin, a Nobel Prize winning journalist.

You will be able to improve and transform your everyday communication immediately after listening to this podcast.


 Writing for Story: Craft Secrets of Dramatic Nonfiction by Jon Franklin


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154: Do You Matter?



Of course you matter. The question is, do you allow yourself to know it?

This episode explores the story we create about the word, contribution.

You’ll hear a true story about an acting student of mine who loved acting, was good at it, and gave it up because she did not believe that acting was a profession for responsible adults.

Actually, that belief, that story, came from her parents. She had internalized it, and felt a burden of guilt when she thought about living her dream to be an actor. The seed of that guilt was society’s limiting belief about contribution.


  • Society’s most valued and honored professions
  • “Selfish” professions
  • Taboo professions
  • People without professions or any meaningful work


  • To be honest about the work and life choices you’ve made
  • To discover and revive your buried dreams
  • To allow yourself to want what you want without any justification to anyone else
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153: Elements of Storytelling

elements of storytelling


This episode reveals the 6 essential elements of storytelling.

There are many kinds of storytelling. There are novels, short stories, parable, screenplays, to name a few.

This podcast and episode focus specifically on persuasive storytelling for business and for personal influence. In this context, think of storytelling as sharply focused intentional communication that engages people, arouses their emotions, and inspires them to take actions that will improve their lives.

Listen to this to learn the WHAT of storytelling. In future episodes, you learn the HOW by exploring each of the elements of storytelling in greater detail. Here are the…


  • IMMEDIATE ENGAGEMENT – Your goal as a persuasive communicator is to grab your audience’s full attention immediately.
  • MYSTERY – You hold people’s attention by creating a mounting sense of mystery.
  • VIVID – Always communicate with sensory language. Paint three dimensional word pictures by using your senses – all 5 of them. Make people hear, see, smell, taste, and feel what you are talking about. By doing that, you touch and move their emotions.
  • CONFLICT – People identify with struggle. Learn to make your audience central characters in narratives that take them on a journey from a painful before state to a desirable after state. Along the way, they will face obstacles that you will help them overcome. This process involves tension and conflict. You are taking people on a hero’s journey in which they play the hero.
  • SHOW, DON’T TELL – Showing is like lecturing; it speaks to people’s heads. “Show” storytelling bombards your audience with data. It does not touch them emotionally. Telling is example based storytelling that uses vivid sensory language that depicts human beings in struggles and actions as they move toward a desired goal. “Tell” storytelling speaks to the heart and moves people emotionally.
  • UNIVERSAL – A universal story allows people to see themselves in the narrative. They identify with the character’s pain, struggle, and desired outcome. Universal stories create deep rapport, and they win trust.

Listen to this episode more than once. Burn the 6 essential elements of storytelling into your memory. Use them when you speak to people every day. You communication will gain great clarity, confidence, and power.


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