The Four Pillars of a Great Story

Posted by Chris Sharp on Oct 24, 2018 7:00:00 AM
Chris Sharp
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Storytelling is something that all of us have done naturally from a young age.  As children, we would offer up whimsical stories from the playground or backyard to whomever would listen. But, something happens during the transition from childhood to adulthood. We tend to lose our sense of wonder and curiosity, leaving many of us unable to connect with others at a deeply emotional level. Telling a great story is an art form and, when done correctly, can have significant power in connecting with people. This emotional connection is extremely meaningful in building trust and long term relationships.

Great salespeople are great storytellers.  Most, however, were not naturals and had to work really hard to get better.  So, begin to think about what kind of awesome stories you would like to tell and then start building those stories with these pillars:

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Develop Your Character

Characters are the individuals that we follow on their journey and are the heart of any great story.  Those characters can be you, your client, a colleague or a combination of them all, but most importantly, it has to come from authentic human emotions and experiences.  The more you know about your character, the more real and authentic the character will feel.  You know yourself best, so start there first.


Each and every successful story that is told has a structure.  Think of a story structure as pouring the foundation for a building, and if you do not have a solid concrete foundation, the whole thing will collapse.  Like the builder of a home that uses an architects design, a story also needs a plan and layout to help guide the storyteller to lay the foundation and then begin building the structure.  Make sure that every story ends with a moral.  Example: "I have had other clients that selected that provider (insert competitor here) and found that the grass was not greener and chose to come back to our organization.  They wish they would not have left us in the first place."


Great salespeople are great storytellers. Hone your storytelling skills with these four concepts.

Paint a Picture

Don't be lame.  Make your story come to life with passion, enthusiasm and color.  People connect with a storyteller that can help them visualize your journey.  To present your story effectively, be sure to pace yourself as you talk.  You need to work on this part during the Pitch It pillar, below.  If you speak to quickly, you will lose the listener.

Pitch It

Practice, practice, practice.  Pitching is the process of telling your very rough story and receiving feedback in an effort to get better. Work with a friend, colleague or in front of a mirror and tell your story, over and over again until it becomes natural.  The more you practice, the easier it will become and the less you will be stumbling and fumbling your words.  When you pitch it, ask for feedback on what your friend or colleague liked and did not like.  Truly listen to their feedback and do not get offended.  All of this will help you assess what is working and what is not.

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