Build a Story Bank

story A very dear friend and client of mine, George MacAllister, shared this smart idea with us a few years back and it never left me.

George has 24 stories he’s gathered and memorized.  They are complete stories that he’s told over and over and uses from time to time to illustrate a point, communicate an important idea or to build credibility.  He’s written them down, put them into categories and organized them so that he’s ready to use them whenever he needs to conduct a presentation or close a deal.  As a professional sales trainer, George knows that this is a powerful capability to hone and leverage.  And when George tells a story, boy he really delivers.

Brilliant.

So here’s the exercise:

  1. Make a list of all of your best stories
  2. Categorize them according to the purpose they serve
    • “Who I Am” stories
    • “Moral of the Story” stories
    • “Case study” stories
  3. Outline them or even write them out and save them
  4. Practice them so you can tell them well

How to tell it well?  To tell a good story you have to remember to enjoy the telling, include details, relish the contrasts, enjoy the pauses and imbue them with passion and enthusiasm.

  • Characters: Who are the people in the story and how do they talk, think dress?
  • Challenge: What is the key question or need they are trying to answer?
  • Adventure: What was the unique idea or premise that they embarked upon?
  • Conflict: Who or what stands in the way of their success?
  • Result: How are they (or will they) overcome this conflict?