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How to Tell a Story That Draws in Your Readers

December 16, 2009

fairy tale sceneEver wonder why some stories, articles or blog posts immediately draw you in, make you feel connected or elicit a warm feeling of welcome, while others leave you searching for the “Close Window X” or flipping the page as fast as you can? It’s all in how you tell your story.

Fairy Tales Hold the Key to Compelling Stories
I ran across a cartoon that illustrates this sentiment awhile back that I actually clipped out and tacked to my cube wall. It reads like this:

Frame 1: Once upon a time…
Frame 2: Suddenly…
Frame 3: Luckily…
Frame 4: The end.

That’s it. Sound familiar? It’s the same framework great fairy tales have used for centuries. The same framework that creates an inviting, compelling story. Simple, huh? And yet we often forget to weave these four basic tenets into our story-telling.

‘I Don’t Tell Stories
Yes, you do. Every day. Every time you talk about your product, service or company, you’re telling a story. Giving your elevator pitch: story. Creating a flyer about your latest widget: story. Sending out an e-mail with an attached quote: story. Getting the picture?

So, you may say, “Now what? I didn’t know I was a story-teller. You’re freaking me out! What do I do now?”

Putting the Framework Into Practice
Let’s see if we can’t put this into perspective. Say you’re going to communicate with your clients about your latest product, the Winky-Wonky Widget. Your story may go something like this:

Once upon a time…
If you’re like most small business owners, you use widgets all the time. They’re an inexpensive reliable way to attract more customers.

Suddenly…
Within the last few weeks, you’ve noticed your big-name competitors are using a super-fancy, super-expensive zonko to pull away your customers. It’s blowing your widgets out of the water and leaving you in the dust.

Luckily…
Luckily, Winky-Wonky has the solution for you: the new, super-effective, inexpensive Winky-Wonky Widget. This widget will have your competitors drooling and wondering how you’re able to attract even more customers without raising your prices to cover the cost.

The End (aka They lived happily ever after.)
The secret? There is no extra cost. So, while your competitors are left scratching their heads in confusion, your customers are ecstatic because they receive the same great products and service you’ve always offered without any added cost.

See, that was easy, right? It’s all in how you think about it. You’re already telling stories all the time. And, when you keep the super-simple fairy tale formula in mind, it’s even easier to draw in your readers and give them a reason to read your flyer, buy your product or just listen to a great story.


Image credit: JeroenK

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. December 16, 2009 8:17 pm

    My whole life has been a fairy tale, so it is easy to write about.

    drtombibey.wordpress.com

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