Storytelling Secret Sauce - Part 2 (How to get to the point in your story)
Updated: May 23
In our last blog post, we learned why stories are so important and the best narratives are the ones that win mindshare.
The art of a good story is like the art of any compelling creation – it evokes an emotional response in whoever is on the receiving side. When it comes to strong communication, there may be no more effective tool than that of a well-thought-out, planned, and delivered story. This is the “storytelling secret sauce”.
There are 5 structural foundations to any good story and now is the time to dig a bit more into each of these. Today, we will talk about the importance of having a point of view and a point of reference - and most importantly, how to get to the point in your story.
Save the funnies for later.
Remember getting the Sunday paper and immediately reaching for the funnies? Hold up this time around.
One of the biggest misconceptions about stand-up comedy is that it is all about telling jokes. In reality, what makes stand-up comedy really work (or not), just like any good comedy writing, is about the Point of View (POV) that the comedian or writer holds. The humor (and jokes) support that perspective - not the other way around.
The audience, rather, decides what to make of the POV. In fact, the comedian, author and/or characters may not even try to be funny. And when it comes to telling your story, the very same concept applies. Simply put, what is your POV about the story you are about to tell? Excited? Frustrated?
Find your inner Princess Bride.
Remember Vizzini, the criminal mastermind hired to kidnap Buttercup in The Princess Bride? He would always shout "inconceivable!" every time he was frustrated.
Well, let your inner Princess Bride be the "conceivable" protagonist of your story. Ask yourself a couple of simple questions to get started:
What makes you the best person to tell the story you are about to tell - whether it is directly related to you or not?
How do you set it up so it remains believable and authentic?
Cite your references.
Like any good term paper, make sure your references are authentic. In this case, a point of view that resonates is only as authentic as it is to the person that is articulating it.
If you are married guy with 4 kids talking about the trials and tribulations of navigating dating apps - it's going to be a hard sell, unless you're in a open marriage situation (and I'm sure there's a blog about that somewhere, but not here!) However, if you're talking about living in your minivan because that's where you end up spending most of your time shuttling runny noses and open-mouthed chewers to and fro, then you have an immediate lane to acceptance because your point of reference (POR) is spot on - being a stressed out, poor dad - and matched to your point of view.
Your "get out of jail card".
An effective POR and POV creates believability whether you intend for it to be funny or not. It allows you to be broad in the way you approach it. This flexibility is a "get out of jail card" from having to stick to any specific structure.
This is the critical first step to any good story is because this is the audience's entry ticket to the story you want to tell. A solid POV and POR allow your audience to immediately enter the world you are about to let them into. It gives them a framework for how to understand where you are coming from and even empathize with who you, and the other characters, are to this story. If it really resonates, they will see who they are to the story, as well.
Treat your story like a fine wine.
Wine enthusiasts talk about notes and hints when they describe their grapes. We may not be sommeliers but we know that crafting some important notes that give clues to your story are critically important. The POV and POR should be reinforced with the four most important parts of your story: Use the following as you take notes to make your story follows a:
Relatable and recognizable characters
Emotional authenticity that resonate with your listeners
A pivotal moment that changes the trajectory of the story in a significant away and impacts the audience
The "Devil in the Details" - specific elements that transport the listener and allow them to imagine
The VITAL5 ROUNDUP– Storytelling Secret Sauce: Get to the Point!
1. The funnies can wait – solidify your point of view and then work on the humor.
2. Inconceivable! – find your inner Princess Bride but focus on the "conceivable" protagonist you are narrating your story.
3. Don't block the (point or) view – make sure your point of reference is believable and authentic - this supports your point of view.
4. Get out of jail– a solid POR and POV means flexibility in how you tell your story and how your audience becomes part of it, too.
5. Notes of humor and hints of surprise –treat your story like a fine wine and capture key reinforcements for the four main parts of your narrative.
In our next post on Storytelling Secret Sauce, we will dive into how to make a promise and set it up so people believe you can deliver on it.
VitalConex is a connect-and-create company. To learn more about the "peanut butter cup" of successful teams, check us out at www.vitalconex.com