The Five Elements To Lure Others In With A Great Story

The popping of burning wood and the smokey plume that rises as a fire takes hold, transforming the solid logs into glowing embers, is hypnotizing. The fire pit on an autumn evening is the perfect spot for friends to gather, particularly with a bottle of wine…or two. Time lengthens into the quiet of darkness, and stories unfold.

Everyone can tell a story, but some have the talent to make them come alive. And when they do, we are drawn in. Their story becomes our story too.

To share your personal stories, it is important to craft them so that they relay more than facts. You want to draw in your audience and connect with them through the stories. So, what makes for a good story, and what are the elements needed to make it enticing?

In her piece “4 storytelling tips to get you ahead in life and work” Jennifer Worick lists 4.

  1. Get personal. Use your experience to drive your point. Show you’re human and vulnerable to align others with you.

  2. Be honest in your perspective to build trust.

  3. Create a story arc. There is a beginning, middle, and end with some tension that leads to a resolution.

  4. Keep it tight and leave them wanting more. Maybe you have several stories within one. Don’t try and tell EVERYTHING in one story. Make it several if needed.

But I’d like to add one more:

5. Really describe the details. Lace your story, especially during the rise and fall of tension, with details. 

She pursed her lips; he knocked the glass over as he leaped from the table; they raced to the car as the flood waters filled the room.  

As you weave your story, you’ll know when your audience is suspended and listening. That’s when you add those details to make the experience that much more solid. If you DESCRIBE how it transpired with bits of dramatic detail, we’ll FEEL the story. That’s when we share it and re-tell it to others; that's when the story becomes our story. 

Keep these fireside chats in mind as you think about your own life stories. It’s not just about the facts, but the relatable moments of feelings that will make it universally relatable, and will ultimately make it stick.