You Have a Great Story to Tell – You May Not Be Able to See It

Everyone has a good story to tell – they just don’t always know it. 

Often people think their story is not as good as someone else’s story. The simple truth is that it is not about the story it is what you do with the story.

Recently I was talking with a client about the fundamentals of how to tell a story. There are steps and lessons in what makes an effective story. The client, we’ll name him Tom to protect the guilty, told me one of his favorite stories. Although he loved the story, he didn’t see any value, any lessons to be learned. He couldn’t see how to use the story even though he knew how to tell the story.

The speaker needs to connect the dots for the audience. The story was about his dog, Millie. One day, during Covid safer-at-home, Millie made off with Tom’s sandwich. When Tom found the sandwich wrapper, Millie had spread the sandwich “fixings” all over the carpet. Tom gathered the remnants, put them back in the wrapper, and proceeded to eat the sandwich.

As soon as he told me this story, I saw the lesson. The lesson is the “twist”, the unexpectedly outcome to the story.

I suggested he use the story in two ways: 1. To warn his employees that there is always a “Millie” ready to run-off with their clients. 2. To remind himself that there is always a “Millie” ready to run off with his employees.

The story may have seemed too simple or inappropriate for a business scenario. To me it was the perfect story to tell a business principle in a different way, with a “twist”.

What about your story?

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