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 5 Story Templates to Avoid

by | Jan 9, 2024

Stories make your message stick – whether you are talking to your board, your team, your prospect, your kids, or even people you meet while traveling.

But not all stories are created equal.

5 ways you screw up on telling your stories ➜

BORING STORY – Think about movies and books. Something always goes awry, then you’re hooked on the plot. A story without conflict is a boring non-story. You might as well be sharing your grocery list. If you want to engage your listener, include the problems and challenges. Otherwise you don’t have a tale worth telling.

CONFUSING STORY – The trick about telling a good story is to explain your context first. Where are you? What’s the setting? Include some specific details about the place or people that bring the locale and characters alive.

POINTLESS STORY – Why tell a story that has no relevance to your listener? Is there a learning lesson or value to your story? You don’t have to be preachy, but you do need to provide a reason for your audience to want to hear your story

ALWAYS THE HERO STORY – You know people who do this! Every story is about themselves and their triumphs. The best stories are self-deprecating. You can still share your successes but we learn more from your foibles than from your gold medals.

TANGENT STORY – A first cousin to a Confusing Story! You begin and then get lost going down various tangent lanes… without tying the subplots back to your main story. If your tangent adds to your story, like a funny riff, then circle back before you lose your main thread.

Practice telling good stories in non-stressful settings. Be aware of when you lose your listeners’ interest, or they don’t laugh when you think they should, or they don’t “get” what you’re saying. Then tweak.

Review this Glossary of Bad Story templates and call us to work on this skill set.


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