How to Be Memorable (Part 1): Storytelling Tricks

Storytelling is the foundation for effective, memorable communication. Do it properly to hook your reader, draw them in, and keep their attention through the end. Get-It-Done Guy explains how.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #336

Motivate with a Question

How do you engage people?

Have you listened to the Get-it-Done Guy episode on using questions? Yup, you ask a question. When people hear a question, they want to know the answer. You start your story with an introduction that raises a question in your listener’s mind. For Get-it-Done Guy episodes, listener Andreas sends in a question. I just read the question, your curiosity is piqued, and you’re ready for me to jump right into the content.

Without a listener question, the introduction must raise a question. I use a framework from a book called The Minto Pyramid Principle by Barbara Minto. It’s the best book I’ve ever read on how to logically structure your writing. It’s also the most astonishingly expensive book I’ve ever read. Unlike me, Barbara Minto is a GrandMaster at getting paid handsomely for her work. She rides in limos, I ride a rusted tricycle.

The framework for creating a gripping introduction is: situation, complication, question, and answer. 

You set up a situation by describing the scene. For a tip that deals with a real-world problem, I just describe the problem in story form. For a tip about combining all your calendars in one master view, I’d start with the situation, “As a CEO, Bernice needs to be highly scheduled. She jots meeting reminders on her calendar, on sticky notes, and on the back of lace napkins, which is really tough to do.”

Then add a complication. A complication isn’t necessarily bad, it’s the element that motivates the need for the situation to change. 

Situation: Bernice needs to be highly scheduled, and she has notes everywhere.

Complication: She’s always missing appointments or double-booking herself. 

The framework for creating a gripping introduction is: situation, complication, question, and answer.

The complication should be stated so it raises a question in your audience’s mind. In this case, the question is, “How can Bernice stop being double-booked?”

With this question in mind, the listener is primed to hear out the rest of the story. This is really manipulative stuff, but there’s more good manipulation ahead because you want to be compelling, influential, and memorable, so your audience remembers your material.

Now we’ve covered the need for stories, creating the plot from your content, and motivating the reader with a situation, complication, and question. But that’s just Part 1...and now we’re out of time. So stay subscribed for Part 2, when we'll discuss characters, story arcs, fictionalizing real life, and using humor in stories. 

(See what I did there? Situation: You want to use compelling stories. We’ve covered a bunch of material and we’re out of time. Complication: But there’s more good stuff to come! Question: What else is there? And now that you’re motivated to hear the answer, you’ll tell all your friends to subscribe to the Get-it-Done Guy podcast, and next week, you’ll get the answer!)

I’m Stever Robbins. I help high achievers accelerate or change careers by developing influence, persuasion, and leadership skills. If you want to know more, visit SteverRobbins.com.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

What is your story? image courtesy of Shutterstock.


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT. 

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