“Once Upon a Time…” Using Storytelling to Make Magic Happen

Monday night I had the opportunity to write speeches for an awards show in NYC.

As you know if you’ve watched any awards show, there is a tendency for speakers to fall back on what are known in my business as “useless modifiers.” 

(“Amazing, incredible, awesome….” Are you talking about your director or your sandwich…? Who knows? I don’t.)

Given this, each time I began my work I explained to the client how storytelling would both make their words come alive and help them with nervousness.


First, because telling a story makes the speaker feel like our new friend who is taking us behind the scenes/letting us in on a secret.  

Second, because when you’re telling a story, you know where you’re headed. You’re not straining to remember a bunch of gobbledygook. 

Do you need to be a celebrity for this to work?

Absolutely not.

No matter who you are people remember stories longer, trust them more, and repeat them more accurately. 

So, for example, if you are talking to a potential client about your product or service and you say, 

“It’s really amazing. It’s incredible! It will change your life…” 

I’m guessing there will be no follow through.

But if you say, “This is what happened when I used it/this is how it made me feel/here is how my life changed…” 

I am pretty sure magic will happen. 


For more on the value of storytelling, take a look at “Beyond the Pro/Con List: What Do You Do When Things Get Weird?”