From the beginning of humanity to the present day, storytelling has kept its form mostly intact; it has an introduction, body and conclusion. All the best solutions are essentially simple and effective - but only for those who know how to get to them and how to use them.

Introduction should be short and clear. A good start to a story can be represented by time and place where the story takes place. It can be a very specific date, you can even start with the exact time something happened – hour and minute – if that’s relevant to your story. But you can also use the first sentence to lead the audience into the very essence, to the crucial moment of the story. This can instantly capture your listeners’ attention, while giving your story direction. As soon as you get that attention, their brains will follow your story with their own imagination and relive it as if it were their own. This is the basis of business storytelling and the main reason why communicating through stories is extremely successful in business to achieve your goals faster and with less effort.

My advice is to never start a story with the sentence: “Let me tell you a story…” Instead, just start it. Something like: “On Sunday, March 12th, at 6am, my phone woke me up…” And never start it with: “Let me tell you a true story…” The listeners will start thinking that everything else you told them so far was fake.

The body of your story should be events and descriptions that are relevant to it. This is where the groundbreaking emotional event that is an integral part of every story happens. It can be the climax of some plot or a sudden event that flips everything upside down or complicates the life of the main character of the story who strives to achieve his goal. The climax represents the culmination of tension in your story, pulling in it listeners who are eager to hear how the obstacle will be overcome and the situation resolved.


The most common mistake in the body of the story is stating facts that are irrelevant to the story: data, names, years, numbers… These are nuisance factors, and their listeners don’t know what to follow and which parts of the story are important. Stick to your central theme and be disciplined during storytelling. When it comes to people who appear in the story, name only the ones that matter. Never say: “At that time I was helped by an old friend, let’s just call him David…”.
Why not do that? Because that will make your story sound fake. Tell your friend’s name if you mention him several times, but don’t reveal his surname, how old he is and how you two know each other, if that is not relevant to story’s message.


The conclusion is the most difficult and important component of the story. To achieve the desired effect in business storytelling, the conclusion must be executed without any mistakes. Two most important things are: capturing a listener’s attention regardless of the nature of the content – even if it’s a story from your personal life – and turn it towards business and teach the proper lesson so that the listener can learn it from the story. Complete storytelling reveals the purpose of the story but allows the listener to interpret it by himself. You can connect a story with your business from private life or your hobby by using these words: “I’m telling you this because I think that when it comes to sales…”
But never teach a lesson with: “The lesson of this story is…”
For example, try it like this: “Imagine what we could change if we did it this way…”


Proper structure will allow you to capture and hold the listener's attention throughout the story, which is one of the most important factors for successful storytelling.


Margaret Eleanor Atwood, a Canadian poet, writer and literary critic who has written more than 40 amazing books, observes that some writers have exceptional ideas about what could be the theme of a good story but still points out that what matters the most for the book to be successful is how well the author can capture and hold the reader’s attention. Attention is also one of the main criteria of successful storytelling. 


The creation of the story can be compared to archaeological excavation; all that is important lies somewhere beneath the surface. And the work for creating a story is similar to archaeological excavation: you need to dig out everything to see the whole picture. That’s why you need to edit and refine the text when you’re finished with it; get rid of all persons, names, data and years that are not important to the story, of anything that’s not related to your goal and the message of your story. Try to avoid boring words and sentences. Those are usually the parts of the story even you would skip if you were reading such text.


The length of the story depends on individual occasions, so it wouldn’t make sense to define the exact number of words. But there’s one rule: the story must be short and concise. Leave out everything that doesn’t matter, use few words and use them wisely. My suggestion is that the story shouldn’t be longer than two, maybe three minutes, otherwise you will easily lose the listener’s attention.


In practice, the length of the story is limited by listener’s concentration. When we go over that limit, the usefulness of the business story is lost.

It is extremely important that you use your authentic stories for business storytelling. That is why anyone who wants to use storytelling to reach his business goal faster is faced with the challenge of finding the starting point for business storytelling. If you think that you don’t have enough of your stories or that you can’t use them for your business and profitable storytelling, then you couldn’t be more wrong. We all got them more than enough.

In the book “The Business of Storytelling – Finding your Story to open Hearts and Wallets” you will find a detailed description of how to effectively piece your stories together with the same principles that guide journalists in their work. You will also learn about my secret story-making ingredient, which has been of great help in my business storytelling for the past two decades, and how to use it.
A business story that can bring huge benefits in the field of business storytelling is the story of your brand. Due to its uniqueness, you can easily portray yourself, your business, or your brand as something exceptional, well-known, and trustworthy.

Now you know how to properly tell your stories to get the desired effect. Use them regularly and may you never run out of inspiration; I wish you a profitable storytelling!

Dušan Waldhütter, storytelling expert, WOW Stories

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