People are often surprised when I tell them storytelling is a skill they can learn.
I’ve been writing and telling stories for years, but I’m still spending this week at a retreat, learning more about this craft of writing and telling stories. There is always more to learn. Thankfully, it doesn’t take much to get started.
Here’s how to create a simple story about just about anything.
Two weeks ago, I released a new podcast episode and wrote a quick email to tell you about it. My original draft went something like this:
Then I thought about how I’m always telling you that you need to tell stories. Seems like I should follow my own advice, no?
Here’s how I turned that announcement email into a story.
First, I used a simple story structure:
- A character,
- with a problem that needs to be solved,
- takes action,
- faces a crisis,
- and changes as a result of the adventure.
You can find the story email here. See the structure?
The other thing I did was to use phrases that signal story and hold the reader’s attention:
- Hook (grabs attention): “Have you ever…? That’s exactly what happened to me, and it changed my life.”
- Emotion (as fear spoke to me): “I’d never be asked to speak again.”
- The turning point: “But then, something amazing happened.”
- Invitation: Not only did I share the life-changing lesson I learned, but I also invited you to see yourself in the story to learn the same lesson. “I’ll bet there’s something you could…”
- Call to Action: “Go be you. Share what you know.”
Could your next email turn into a story?
Try it out, and let me know the response you get.
I help missionaries and organizations tell powerful and effective stories that inspire action.
P.S. Storytelling is a skill you can learn. So many missionaries and ministry/nonprofit leaders don’t know this, and that makes me sad. Do you know someone who needs to know it? Share this email with them!