“That night was unusual. I was going to leave Fernanda’s house to go home and take a shower and die.”
This sentence, from a Washington Post article link in the Apple News Feed, got my attention. It’s our Speak For Yourself® (SFY) Story Formula in action. And so I clicked.
You want your listeners to do the same thing, albeit without potential dire endings.
Using this article, written by Jaclyn Peiser, let’s see how our SFY Story Formula plays out… and how you can use this same strategy to tell your stories.
The Apple News Feed teaser: “He wanted to head home to Champlain Towers. His girlfriend wanted him to stay. She may have saved his life. Erick De Moura was supposed to be home the night of the Champlain Towers collapse. In a last-minute decision, he decided to sleep at his girlfriend’s house.”
SFY Story Formula Step 1: “C” for Context
First sentence of Peiser’s article: “Erick De Moura woke up at about 5:30 a.m. Thursday to use the bathroom. He was at his girlfriend’s house — a rare occurrence on a weeknight — and walked into the kitchen to get his phone.”
SFY Story Rule: You must set the context first. Describe your exact time and place.
Done. It’s 5:30am and Erick is in his girlfriend’s kitchen.
SFY Story Formula Step 2: “C” for Characters.
SFY Story Rule: make your characters identifiable – so that your audience can relate and identify.
Next few sentences of Peiser’s article: “That’s when he saw all the calls and text messages.
One text in particular stood out — it was from Rochelle, a door supervisor at his building on Collins Avenue in Surfside, Fla., asking if he was okay.
“Oh, my God, you’re alive,” Rochelle said to De Moura, 40, when she answered his call.
Done. Characters are Erick De Moura, Rochelle the Door Supervisor, and Erick’s girlfriend, Fernanda.
SFY Story Rule: Keep the number of characters minimal. Use dialog to shape your characters.
Done and done. Peiser uses clear dialog that moves this story forward.
SFY Story Formula Step 3: “C” for Conflict.
SFY Story Rule: What’s challenging your characters? You must have emotion here.
“What do you mean I’m alive?” he responded in a sleepy haze.
“The building collapsed,” she said.
Done. We already know the conflict in this story. Through Peiser’s use of dialog you can feel the emotion.
SFY Story Formula Step 4: “C” for Conclusion which includes Resolution + Relevance.
Peiser tells more details using good dialog to resolve this story and provide timely and topical relevance.
She wraps by writing, “’I feel like I’m in a dream,’ Erick said. ‘I feel like I’m in a movie. I’m in a bad movie.’
He is still trying to process how close he came to death. He noted that not a single person who lived in the units directly above and below has been found.
‘For me, for Fernanda, this is definitely a miracle,’ Erick said. ‘This is an act by God.’
Learn from Peiser’s excellent example of storytelling to tell your stories.
Data tells. Stories sell. And Peiser got 3 million hits on her article.
😎 Crazy Coincidence 😎: I picked Peiser’s story to write about NOT realizing that she is the daughter of our friends Allan and Janis! Allan has been our accountant for many years and I’ve spoken to their successful accounting firm on how to tell stories. Now I’m going to follow Jaclyn.
© 2021 Karen Cortell Reisman, All rights reserved
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Karen Cortell Reisman, M.S., author of 2 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, #AlbertEinstein, in a message about hope, resilience and brassieres.
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