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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152: Holiday Memes

holiday memes


Happy December, the season of the holiday memes. Huh? What’s a meme, and what’s it got to do with the holidays?

A meme is an element of culture or system of behavior that is passed from one individual to another by imitation.

This episode explores the beliefs and “festive” images that bombard you during the December holidays. They are meant to cheer you up. But they can play havoc with your emotions if you are not mentally prepared for them.

Here’s some of the fun stuff you’ll hear and learn about as we undress the holiday memes:

  • The origin of the word meme
  • How things we hate can become things we love overnight
  • Why all beliefs are made up stories
  • The media holiday traps to avoid if you want to feel good
  • The 5 biggest memes guaranteed to spoil you holidays
  • Why no one is better off than anyone else

Plus, you will discover 12 “weapons of mass empowerment” that will lift you spirits high during the upcoming holiday season, In fact, they can empower you for the rest of you life.

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151: Your Story Structure

story structure, persuasive business communication


Ready for the secret to story structure? Here it is. Every story you tell must have a clear BEGINNING, MIDDLE, and END.

I know. that sounds insultingly obvious. Truth is, it’s no more obvious than “what you focus on expands,” or “you’ve got to give to get.” And, like those often repeated phrases that may seem like cliches, the concept of beginning, middle, and end widely misunderstood, unclear, or not practiced at all.

The proper application of beginning, middle, and end in your business storytelling (the persuasive communication of your brand message) can take your company and brand from invisibility to world class recognition.

This episode clarifies the intention or purpose of each section of your business story that collectively take your prospective clients and customers on a transformation journey that gets them excited to do business with you.

These are the three specific intentions of a strong story structure:

  • BEGINNING – to engage your audience immediately, introduce your story’s character and biggest problem, and your promise to solve that problem
  • MIDDLE –¬† to embark on the character’s journey toward a solution, overcome a series of obstacle, and discover the solution (your product or service)
  • END – to rapidly move toward a resolution, and paint a vivid picture of what your character’s life will after saying yes to your offer

You will also learn:

  • The magic and power of the number 3 and how to use it to your advantage
  • How to heighten your awareness of the 3 in your life, in nature, and the universe
  • How listening to a piece of music can help you become a persuasive storyteller

Finally, you will find out what you can expect from the episode on storytelling that will follow this one.

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