The Power of Story

by | Mar 12, 2018 | Articles | 0 comments

It’s been a noisy week in Tampa…

In the mid-1990s, I felt like I had a surplus of free time. A new transplant to Florida, I worked a menial job in a mortgage company, spent my evenings tightening up two out of my three Great American Novels, and trying to live a bit of the single life on weekends.

I still remember listening to Garrison Keillor on Prairie Home Companion, spinning tales of his fictional hometown. “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Woebegone,” he began each tale, the audience erupting in applause at the well-worn tagline.

Keillor’s reputation has suffered badly in recent years – I won’t post links here, as I’m not thrilled with the trend to excoriate people based on hearsay with no due process – but the fact remains, the guy is a gifted storyteller.

As owner of my own company and power of attorney for my mother, I’m in too much of a time crunch today to sit around listening to the radio like I did 20 years ago. But I still remember that era fondly, and the power of story has a lot to do with that. Yes, it’s been another noisy week for me, but just thinking about stories calms me right down…

Give Me More

I’m doing a weekly video series these days, and on Wednesday I’ll be talking about, for lack of a better term, story structure for dummies.

Of course, you have to have a beginning, middle, and end. But you also should have some conflict and some rising action before a climactic moment of some sort. I could hear those elements clearly in a ten-minute talk, much more than I could see them in The Odyssey or even a three-act play.

What does this all have to do with you? Well, if you’re a storyteller in the traditional sense – using story in your books or your talks – then you already know. But if you’re in business, it’s something else entirely.

The fact is, most of us learn about the world through stories. And a good story, whether about your aunt Sara or your best client’s success, will hold someone’s interest. So the lesson is always there: tell a great story and people will listen to you – and want to hear more.

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