Each semester as the entrepreneurship class that I teach reaches about midpoint, I find myself talking about storytelling and it’s centrality to business in general and startups in particular. You’d think storytelling would be easy, given how long humanity has been at it. And all those folks on Moth Radio and stand up comedians make it look easy. Yet telling compelling and concise story is a skill that seems in much shortage. This is a topic that I’ve written about before here, here and here and still talk about constantly.
Recently, I came across TED curator Chris Anderson’s video on what they’ve learned at TED about storytelling. The eight minute video (half the length of the typical TED talk, concisely lays out four points.
- Pick one idea We often start with one, but it gets lost as we layer more on there. Don’t just stick with one but share context, give examples and link back to it throughout your talk
- A reason to care Give your listeners a reason to care and the best way to do this is by stirring your audience’s curiosity. Provocation is one way to do it he suggests but I’d say try challenging them.
- Build your idea piece by piece Most of us fall into jargon while trying to explain our ideas. Chris reminds us it is critical to use metaphors or analogs to explain in the audience’s language
- Make your idea worth sharing No surprise since this is indeed TED’s byline. By articulating who benefits, you can help the idea spread
So not only can you tell good stories but inspire others.
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