What makes a great story?

What makes a great story? As a species, human beings have learned and developed thanks largely to the stories they have been told. It is an age-old craft and in a world that is bombarding us/you with clickbait, scrolling feeds that have the same dopamine response as a poker machine and the ‘narrative management' we see overtly via influencers, corporates, and politicians, it’s a great time to now ask ourselves what is a great story?

Mind Street and I have been incredibly fortunate to partner with a Duncan Cawdell and Pure Blue Ocean over the last 3 years, developing and delivering a global capability program for the good people at Proximo. Recently, I was lucky enough to recently visit their head office in Dublin to deliver the next module ‘Storytelling’ with Duncan for the global brand teams. Duncan and the PBO team are experts in building storytelling capability, and clients all over the world have benefited from Duncan and his team’s ability to make the complex art of storytelling simple, engaging and fun. Here are the 3 take-aways I think help make a great story.

    1. Care factor: Given how quickly our attention is disrupted now, building enough emotional connection to the story and the characters as quickly as possible so your audience cares about the outcome. Your audience’s engagement factor on the topic is key. Why should they listen and give this the time of day when they have millions of messages coming my way every day? This applies across any story, when working with customers, teams and individuals in organisations, this deep consideration from your audience’s perspective will help you land your message with impact! As humans, one of our core motivations is What’s in it for me? or 'WIIFM' to add to your corporate bingo list.
    2. Single minded objective: This is your ‘Prime directive’ for any Trekkies reading this and another way to think about it, is your big idea. Now that I care, I’m leaning in, I’m now listening to how you are going to tell me the way you are solving this pickle (or possibility) we find ourselves in. This when people are hanging on your every word or slide. Right now, if your first step to telling a story is to open PowerPoint and find the last deck that is remotely on the topic you are talking about, this learning experience is for you.
    3. Involve me: Now you have got my attention and as your audience I have listened to the big idea, bring me with you, we are walking together into the sunset down the yellow brick. Show me, as your audience the pathway, the plan, the actions, and measures of success that helps me have belief, excitement and commitment to the final act. For our audience, our customers, our teams, we are showing the impact and benefits of them walking that road that will more than likely require the audience to think differently to do differently.
    1. If you are and your teams are interested in honing your craft of the age old art of storytelling, give the people at PBO and (Mind Street) a shout. Get in touch:

Find out more about Mind Street and how they enable individuals, teams and organisations to unlock growth  Mind Street – Unlock. Ignite. Achieve.
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