I’m #franklyCurious About Stories: 4 Tips from a Master Storyteller

Photo by: BreakingTheWalls on Pixbay

Although your grade school math teacher might disagree, stories are more powerful than numbers as communications tools.

On Sept. 28, Andy Goodman — director of The Goodman Center — joined the frank team to lead a Twitter Q&A about using storytelling to help your cause. In addition to a list of books that could rival Oprah’s Book Club, Andy gave out his best advice for eager storytellers. Here are some of the great tips he shared:

Follow Andy Goodman on Twitter: https://twitter.com/GoodmanCenter
  1. “Identify the main points you want to make about your org’s work.”

The first step to telling your story is finding your story. Andy suggests thinking about your or your organization’s main focuses, and then find a story that “brings each point to life.”

2. “Give the audience just enough information that they crave more.”

When asked about how to start a story, Andy suggested giving the audience a good taste so that they want to stick around for more. The thing that makes stories work is the desire to know more, which is why your story should have an interesting start that builds to a climax. You don’t start a joke with a punch line, so don’t start your story at the best part.

3. “Good storytelling always feels fresh and new, even if the plot is familiar.”

Your readers or listeners don’t want to hear more about what they already know; they want to learn something new. Make sure your story doesn’t sound too familiar and that it avoids clichés. Andy also shared a tip from his TV days: “Keep writing.” When you think you have found a good story, “push past the obvious to something new and different.”

4. The Golden Tip: Write about PEOPLE.

Andy says, “People identify with people — not orgs, not causes.” A story that has no people is boring and not relatable, which is the exact opposite of what communicators want. People will be more responsive to your awesome metrics if you engage them with a story first.

BONUS TIP: The future of storytelling is virtual reality.

Andy said the best medium is video, but the future is in VR. Look at how RYOT News is changing the shape of journalism. However, these aren’t the only visual storytelling tools you should be checking out. Boundless is making leaps in the field of 360-degree photos, and Pine Point makes the whole website a story. Experiment with stories!

Following these tips will help you find the stories that fit your brand, engage your audience and hopefully help you create some social good.

For more tips from Andy Goodman, check out frank’s Storify of the Twitter Q&A or subscribe to Andy’s newsletter — free-range thinking.

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