Some individuals enjoy crafting stories. Not so much the other stuff. The number of speakers who have difficulty composing speeches and anecdotes astounds me. You need to have the ability to weave compelling stories into your speeches if you want to be a successful keynote speaker. Here is one easy—really easy—method I employ while writing a story.
(Note: We’re not discussing tale in the sense of creative writing. We’re talking about using storytelling strategically in business to influence your audience to act or believe a certain way. You might need to think about it first if you’re not certain of your story’s purpose.)
The Three-Paragraph Story Formula by Kelly
Make sure you can sum up this story’s significance and the lesson it teaches in a single line before you begin. (For instance: This is the account of the time I got lost in the woods and discovered how important it is to always have a compass with you.) It doesn’t need to be elaborate. This sentence will not be seen. But before you create the story, you must be aware of it.
Start by setting things up. Context, please. sufficient only to paint the picture. Only the information that I actually require to understand and somewhat color the story. Create the conflict your main character will encounter.
Tell me what happened in the next sentence. Show me how the character resolved the conflict.
Tell me what you took out from it, third. Tell me what I should do with this story, what to do, and what lesson I should take away.
A story that exemplifies this model
One sentence: What a Mop Lady Taught Me About Passionately Serving Customers
Kelly Swanson, a motivational speaker, wrote The Woman With The Mop.
From the parking lot, you could hear her singing. booming, staccato notes of joy from a life well lived. She was standing there with her mop held like a loving dancing partner, like if her fading cotton outfit were made of the finest silk, when the automatic glass doors opened. I sat in the corner of the lobby, trying not to stare at this woman who was oblivious to everyone else, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to be singing and twirling her way across the marbled floors of her hotel lobby, while the beeps of the monitors and the dings of the elevators sang to her in sweet harmony. I could smell the perfume of my changed perspective as I watched this woman transform her job into an art – turn her work into
She was unaware that I was in the bathroom, where I could hear her stop working and go offer prayers for a stranger’s injured child. She was helping the elderly guy wrap the blanket around his wife’s shoulders more tightly while I stood there watching her. She was unaware that I had seen her give away her meal. I observed how many times throughout that day her singing, her smile, and her entire aura had an impact on everyone who came into contact with her. I observed as, while dressed in a worn cotton dress and cozy shoes, people in pain sought comfort in those chilly, unexpected, antiseptic areas of the hospital. When she walked to meet her bus at twilight, you could hear her singing all the way to the parking lot. I watched her leave as she passed by the enormous glass window, wanting she would stay, wondering if I would ever see her again, but knowing I would never forget her – next to the sizable, glossy commercial sign that hung nearby. The sign read, “Excellence starts here,” and it was unquestionably produced by a team of marketing experts. And I questioned whether the CEO was aware of just how accurate that was.
A woman with a mop that day altered my viewpoint. I was shown how I wanted to treat my customers by a woman who smelled of bleach and blessings. Funny thing was, she was clueless. Why can’t we sing if a woman with a mop can do it?
Of course, not every narrative will work well with the three-paragraph format. But this is a terrific template to always utilize when you need to finish a story fairly quickly.
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