How Do You Tell Better Stories or Become a Better Storyteller Tips from Carmine Gallo

Jun 29, 2016 -

How did Google Start?
Google's roots sprouted from two Ph.D. students working on a research project back in 1996. It's initial aim was to license its search technology to other Internet companies and enterprise and not to make money off ads. After a few years had passed, the founders of Google quickly discovered they needed more cash to grow. It's early efforts to raise capital drew them to Sequoia Capital a venture capital fund. 

This happened in 1999 during a time where the dot-com boom had spawned a boatload of new business ideas that the world had not seen before. Michael Moritz of Sequoia Capital had seen his fair share of structured and bland PowerPoint presentations. Focusing on predicting what new concepts or technologies would catch on was hard enough, but the added agony of trying to sit through PowerPoint presentations just worsened the investing situation. 

What Sergey Brin and Larry Page brought to the table was a breath of fresh air. They came into the meeting with Moritz with a working search engine superior to anything that was out there. Instead of a PowerPoint presentation, they presented a story with a solution. Needless to say, this kicked off a $25 million round of venture capital funding.

Benefits of Becoming a Better Storyteller
Being able to tell a story can make the difference between landing that job or losing the trust of your coworkers. It isn't enough to have the facts on your side, you have to do the storytelling. How do you become a better storyteller? Let's take a step back and think about why certain lines from songs and speeches stick with you even many years after. Do you remember the first four words of Martin Luther King's famous speech? The reason you do is because we are wired in our brains to want to process in story mode. Ideas that catch on are those that are wrapped in a story. 

Everyone likes to hear stories about people who overcome struggle, especially those that "shoot for the moon". For example, Howard Schultz, founder of Starbucks, often tells his rags to riches story as he watched throughout his childhood as his father struggled to make ends meet to support his family. Stories that show where you've faced an intense struggle and come out better are inspiring. 

For all of you chemist or biologist out there, did you know that storytelling actually triggers the same parts of the brain between the listener and the storyteller. So you actually do sync up emotionally through brain chemistry. A compelling story with an emotional trigger alters our brain chemistry and makes us more understanding and trusting. Now that I think about it, this might explain why my mother enjoys listening to my long and drawn out work stories once a week.

Everyone knows the best grapes come from vines in the steep hillsides because they are "stressed" and that build character.

Three Main Parts of a Great Story (Not Beginning, Middle and End)
In the movie the Martian, the set up is the backdrop whereby Matt Damon and his team embark on a exploration journey to Mars. Once you set the stage and background of your story, you'll need conflict. After a huge sandstorm, Matt Damon wakes up to find that his team have left on Mars en route to Earth. He has limited resources and supplies that were not meant to last for long periods of time on Mars. Psychologically, we can only imagine how it must have felt to be trapped on a planet by yourself. Finally, in every great story there is a resolution. Matt Damon figures out how to make water from hydrazine, communicates with his team back home, and is able to plant potatoes as a result of all of this. You'll have to watch the Martian or read the book to find out what happens at the end. 

Great storytellers are made and not born. You have to believe your own story. If you don't believe your own story, how can you expect to inspire others to believe it? Here are four tips to becoming a great storyteller. 

1) Practice your story. Great storytellers on TED have practiced their stories over 200 times.
2) Provide details and illustrate your story as best you can. Illuminating your story helps it become more memorable versus strictly providing facts. 
3) Appeal to the emotions of your audience. 
4) Remember good storytellers instill hope. 

Elon Musk has become are great storyteller. In his recent presentation at Tesla of the Powerwall, which is essentially a battery, he showed slides of pollution. In the next slide, he showed the picture of the sun. Using simple language and pictures, he indirectly conveyed to his audience the solution of harnessing the sun to lessen pollution. In doing so, he offered a solution to a problem via his Powerwall or in other words he provided conflict and resolution.

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