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Storytelling Your Way to a Better Job or a Stronger Start-Up

New York Times Magazine (New York, NY) , December 12, 2014


The age-old art of storytelling ó something humans have done since they could first communicate - has become this yearís buzzword.

In these days, you need to be compelling, unforgettable, funny and smart. Magnetic, even. You need to be able to answer the question that might be lingering in the minds of the people youíre trying to persuade: What makes you so special?

You need to have a good story.

ďAs human beings, we know that stories work, but when we get in a business relationship, we forget this,Ē said Keith Quesenberry, a lecturer at the Center for Leadership Education at Johns Hopkins University.

Here are a few points to keep in mind when developing a good story:

  • Know who your audience is.
  • Have a beginning, middle and end. (That sounds obvious, but people often forget that.)
  • Use concrete details and personal experience.
  • Donít self-censor.
  • Donít try to memorize a story so it sounds rehearsed. Itís not about perfection. Itís about connecting.

Itís that simple. And that complicated. You can have a multimillion-dollar movie that bombs and a brilliant five-act story in 30 seconds. After all, long before Twitter, Ernest Hemingway is said to have managed to tell a complete and heart-wrenching story in six words: ďFor sale: Baby shoes, never worn.Ē

Subjects Covered: business

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