Posts Tagged ‘SpeakeasyDC’

FAQ: What are the key elements of a story?

FAQSince I almost always advise executives to “use fewer statistics and tell more stories,” I’m often asked what makes a good story. Fair question. To answer it, I’ve decided to steal from one of the best, Amy Saidman, Artistic Executive Director at SpeakeasyDC. She gave a great presentation at NSA-DC recently. To paraphrase her a bit, she said the key elements of a story are:

  1. Set-up
  2. Inciting Incident (What event, action throws the speaker’s life out of balance?)
  3. Desire (What’s at stake?)
  4. Rising Action (Obstacles that stand in the way, actions taken to overcome them)
  5. Climax (What choice did the speaker make?)
  6. Resolution (what broader conclusion did the speaker draw from the story?)

She also stressed one other element, which I think is critically important: use vivid language that paints a picture. The more details you can mention that help an audience visualize the story, the better.