Stories are powerful.
Parents tell stories to help their children find their place in the world. Coaches tell stories to inspire their players. Leaders tell stories to rally their teams to tackle a project or navigate a change.
Jesus is widely recognized as a great teacher. While he certainly had “lectures” that he delivered to audiences, he is perhaps best remembered as a master storyteller. Religious or not, many people can retell the basic meaning of parables (stories) such as the Good Samaritan or Prodigal Son. Jesus understood the power of stories.
A good story is more than entertainment; it has the ability to shape and form the hearer. It has the ability to introduce a new perspective or challenge an outdated one. Stories are also sticky. A well-told story can stick with us long after we first hear it. Given the power of stories, I find it interesting that more leaders and communicators don’t use them.
What makes for a good story? Here are a few tips I’ve learned over the years that you can use to shape a good story.
Simple. A good story shouldn’t be as hard to understand as nuclear physics. In our modern environment, people decide within the first few seconds whether they will continue to listen or not. If the story feels like it’s going to be too hard to follow (like nuclear physics), they will tune out. A simple story – that utilizes the following three points – is always the best.
Focused. Stories need details in order to be stories. Otherwise, you are just reciting a list of facts. But too many details can be distracting. Knowing the difference is part art and part science. An audience needs to know enough about the situation to feel emotionally invested and connected; if you tell them too much, it will bog them down.
On Point. This one seems obvious. We tell stories because we want to make a point. But how many stories have you listened to and walked away wondering, “What on earth was he talking about?” It may be that the story had no point, it was just an opportunity to talk. Or, and this is more often the case for communicators, the story tried to make too many points. Before telling a story, you must know what point, principle, or action you are trying to convey.
Shareable. What makes a good story a great story? When it gets shared! Family stories may be passed down for generations. Leadership stories get passed around the company. Jesus told stories that are still changing lives 2,000 years later! A well-crafted story has the potential to take on legs. When it does, the impact is exponential.
Experience and Background
- 25+ years of senior leadership experience
- masters in business administration (mba)
- presenter at the WFX National Conference
- former president, Church Planters of the Rockies
- helped start 2 for-profit tech companies
To get a better feel for my style and personality, you can watch past sermons on our YouTube channel.
Need an engaging speaker for your event or conference? At the moment, I am available on a limited basis to speak for seminars, workshops, or worship services. Click here to learn more.
I’ve written a few books that might help! You’ll find books on preaching, leadership, Ephesians, as well as my first novel. Follow this link to learn more.