These days, storytelling is a trending topic. But is there an actual formula for how to tell a great story? And are there any tips for how to do this well in a business? That’s what we invited our friend Patrick to Crowdcast Talks this week to find out.
Patrick has worked with some of the biggest brands out there — like AT&T, Apple, Toyota and the NFL — and has won 5 Emmys for his work with his team of filmmakers. He’s taught for Canon, Vimeo and YouTube and worked alongside Jonah Berger and Paul Zak at the intersection of storytelling and virality.
So what did we learn from our chat?
How to tell a great story
“The idea of storytelling is thrown around all over the place but there’s often not a very clear way to do it.”
According to Patrick, there is a formula. In fact, there are 4 pillars of a great story.
- People. Who’s in the story? What do they desire? The stronger the character and their desire, the more we feel something and the better we connect to the story.
- Places. Where does the story happen? This context is what creates trust.
- Purpose. Why are you telling the story? Your “why” is key — this is what lets people remember your message.
- Plot. What’s the structure of your story? A good plot is key to keeping your audience engaged.
It turns out that if any one of these is missing, the story is weaker. A great story is about maximizing all four of these essential ingredients.
A few other takeaways:
- Listening is key. “The best storytellers are the strongest listeners,” says Patrick. True listening is about being present. Why does listening with presence matter? Because this is where authentic connection starts.
- Knowing the stories we tell ourselves is important. This is “the most important story you’ll ever tell,” according to Patrick, and is the key difference between regular people and remarkable people. Learn the narrative you have and work towards making it the most affirming one you can.
- Don’t focus too much on the product. Every business has to talk about its product and the problem it solves. But, Patrick warns, “the story you tell is actually more important than the product you sell.” Make sure you understand your customer and find the story that will move them to care about your product.
- Stories have higher ROI than stats. Don’t believe it? Check out this case study that Patrick and his team wrote about to illustrate how donations poured in to an important cause when people were told a personal story instead of stats.
- The why behind your why is what differentiates you. Starting with why — like Simon Sinek’s famous TED talk — is important. But even more important is what led you to that why. This is what will differentiate you from everyone else who has the same beliefs, and it’s what will make you memorable.
For these insights and more, click here to watch the full replay.