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How To Tell a Story – 4 Must-Have Elements

by | Jul 28, 2016

Karen Cortell Reisman Speak For Yourself Executive Communication Speaker and Coach 4 story elementsYour message comes alive when you add stories.

Incorporate these 4 Must-Have elements when telling any story – whether at your Executive Retreat, your networking event, your son’s Bar Mitzvah, or a cocktail party holding your dry apple martini.

Story Element #1: Context – State the necessary and fun/sad/aggravating, humorous details that set up your story.

My husband, Jim, and I arrived at DFW airport early for our two-week exquisitely planned trip to Argentina involving ten different flights into and around this state.

Story Element #2: Conflict – What went awry?

We hadn’t gotten as far as security at our own airport when the ticket counter person, we’ll call her Mean Mary, pointing at Jim says, “You can go.” Pointing at me, Mean Mary says, “You can’t go.” “You’re joking!” I respond. “No!” Mean Mary asserts. “Your Passport Number is not the same as your Passport Number on your Argentinian Reciprocity Form.”

Story Element #3: Resolution – How did you solve the problem?

Mean Mary instructed, “Go to the Hyatt’s business center next door and spend another $160 to obtain another Argentinian Reciprocity Form.” “Can I do this on my own computer in my bag?” “No! We need a hard copy printout.” For the purpose of this blog I won’t write down the hilarious details (which I do tell in reality) about finally getting the correct document, but it did cost over $200 with the use of the Hyatt’s computer, paper and expedited fees courtesy of the Argentinian government.

Story Element #4: Take-away – What can we all learn?

After returning to the same line at DFW, Mean Mary was all smiles and we had a fantastic trip. Review your travel docs in advance, get to your airport early, find the humor and stay calm!

FYI: When people ask about that trip I ONLY tell this story and it happened in Dallas, not Argentina! No one wants to hear your good stuff – the Iguazu water falls were a feast to the eyes, the Mendoza wine was delicious, Buenos Aires’s opera house was fantastic. BORING!!! Your listeners want to hear the screw-ups and solutions.

More story telling tips to come. Maybe I’ll have some great stories to share when Jim and I go to Scotland next week. I hope our travel docs are in order.

© 123RF Stock Photo

© Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 3 books and President of Speak For Yourself®, works with decision makers on how to speak with gravitas. It’s all in how you speak for yourself. Karen also speaks about her cousin, Albert Einstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.

Read more at www.SpeakForYourself.com/blog.

Did you know that we also do Star Ranch Retreats. Come enjoy the nature, the hills, and the longhorns. It’s a great place to feed your inner-cowboy and grow your company.  https://www.karencortellreisman.com/star-ranch-retreats.html






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