Stories are powerful communication tools. When told in a business context, simplicity, relevance, and intent are essential.
1. Identify the goal.
Business stories should be told with intent so that they feel relevant. Start by identifying what you want to achieve.
2. Outline the raw material.
Identify the five Ws—who was involved, what happened, where it took place, when it came about, and why it occurred.
3. Shape the story.
Map out other elements (such as emotions, senses, relevant details, and dialogue) to add interest. As you tell the story, dial these up or down, summarize them, or elaborate on them to maximize impact.
4. Insert your story into the conversation taking place.
Wait for the appropriate time during the conversation to tell your story, and use a lead-in phrase that makes the story feel like a logical extension of what came before.
5. Bring it home.
Relevance matters, so finish your story with your established goal. "I wanted to share this with you because …" or "What we can learn from that incident is …."