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Storytelling Tactics

Lesson 3 from: Storytelling for Leaders: How to Inspire Your Team

Cory Caprista

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Lesson Info

3. Storytelling Tactics

Next Lesson: Emotion & Strategy

Lesson Info

Storytelling Tactics

So what I want you to think about, then, is the next piece is starting with the why. It's just another way of thinking about this, right? Always start with the why. Why am I telling this story? Why am I communicating? Don't start with the how or the what. Always the why, 'cause you can always come back to the why. You can tell people the why, tell them the story, and tell then the why again, and they'll just be like, cool, I get it better now. (Cory laughs) We can be transparent with that. Know the lesson. So why are you telling this story? And then little bit more targeted, what's the lesson of the story? What's the moral of the story? What should the person take away? What is the learning? Then that lesson, you can rip off that. You tell your story. You show them the lesson, and then you can say, how does that connect to you? How does that connect to what's happening right now? Once the lesson is clear, the story is a vehicle for the lesson. The story helps the lesson have emotional ...

resonance. If I came in here and Sam told us to be courageous and triumph over our fears and we'll get reward from it, we'd be like, yeah, yeah, yeah, cool. And then we would forget about it. You're not going to forget Sam's story, probably because I've also brought it up four or five times. But because of the richness and the coding of that, it gets into our emotional centers, and then we can remember it. That lesson, then, after Sam tells the story, he can apply it for us to telling us how he wants us to who up on his team in the workplace. Hey, we're going to have to overcome our fears. And I think if we do, we're going to be able to triumph over some of our really challenging goals and really be able to have that reward that lasts a long time, something like that, right? Rule of three: try not to plan things with any more than three key points in any given section. But it's fractal, and what I mean by fractal is, when you have a fractal, if you zoom in on one part of the fractal, it's sort of a designed pattern, yeah? It looks, it has this complex geometry to it. What's cool about a fractal is if you take one piece of the geometry, like just one tail of it and you zoom in on it, there's more complexity as you zoom. And then you zoom on one piece of that, and then there's more complexity. So, it's kind of the same thing here. You can have three key ideas at the highest level of your story or the highest level of whatever you're trying to communicate, and as you go deeper, you can have three points for each of those. And you can zoom in, and each of those three points could have three key details that add richness. But try to think in threes. It will really help you. So, what I'd love, then, is to bring start with why, know the lesson, and rule of three to bear on your favorite story. So just make sure. Take a moment, and for whatever story that you like to tell, an easy one, hopefully, for you, just write down the why. Why would you ever tell that story? Way do you keep telling that story? What's the lesson of that story or the moral, the thing you can export, and feel free to use the rule of three as you write down any thoughts on that. Any key points about anchor points. I want you to apply the rule of three to the anchor points for the three anchor points of the story. Why, and if you're online, if you have the workbook, there's some places to fill that out. If you don't, again, just take your favorite story to tell, and we're just doing a little analysis of it so you understand the components of it a little bit better and how you do it. Who will share some details about their favorite story? Who will break down their favorite story with us so we can just make sure we're on the same page? And if you're not sure, that's a great time to share, 'cause we'll coach you. You're making eye contact, but you don't seem like you wanna do it. (Cory laughs) Amazing. Evil, maniacal laugh there. Amber, will you play with me? Yeah, I can do mine. Great. So, tell us like sort of the concept of the story, and then break it down for us. Sure. So the concept for me was deciding my career path. So it was a pivotal moment in my life between two different roadmaps in life, and I was at a crossroads, and my boss was telling me try both, but you will have to make a decision. So that's kind of the concept. Why as that important for me? I needed to know where I was going in life and pick a direction that I can continue working on and get more granular in m development. And so also I would say, other people face that same challenge all the time, right? So what's the lesson of your story? The lesson was to try things out. Don't be afraid to try more than one thing. Find yourself in the process, and find our what makes you tick and what's going to drive your passion. Great. So that was three key lessons that came out of that, right? So that same story, you would probably branch off on any of those three key lessons. What was the first one you said again? Oh, good question. Oh, sorry. Experiment. Experiment, yes. Don't be afraid to experiment. That's so important, right? How often are people trying to figure out what to do in a vacuum without actually tasting things? If you wanna know what wine to drink, make 'em bring you over and pour some wines and try 'em. Great. So that's fantastic. So you know the components. And so what I want you to add to that as we go along, as you think about it in these sections, what richness would you add to that story? So just be thinking and maybe jot down some things like ooh, if I told that part of the story, that would really add richness, right? So we have some good bones there. So that's segue to the next component. So we're talking about strategy, right? This is the strategy piece. What are the bones of your story? What's the scaffolding that's gonna hold your story up? Now the fun part. I mean, it's all fun. It's storytelling, right? It's all fun. But this is particularly fun. I'm just going to ask you to be entertaining. Now, nothing short of entertaining, and nothing more than entertaining. But it's hard to be entertaining. It takes energy and like risking some things. But the reason being entertaining is so important is you have to earn people's attention. You have to earn people's attention. People look at you like they're listening to you, and they're absolutely not listening to you. People are really good at staring at you, and inside, they're thinking about whatever they're thinking about. So, you better do something that's worthy of their attention, especially given our phones. We have like the whole world in our pocket. It's not just like a folk song anymore. It's like, true. So you better be interesting enough. You better be worthy of their attention, and you better be interesting enough once you get it to keep their attention. Once they give you attention, it doesn't mean they're going to stay with you. They'll give you a shot. It's an audition. Go ahead, Cory. What do you have to say? And then you fall flat, and people are like, oh, I got better things to do. I'm ready to go do something else, right? So bring everything you've got to it. At my best, I'm barely entertaining. There's so much stuff on there. There's roller coasters, VR, YouTube. I'm just a guy. So at my best, I'm barely entertaining, yeah? So I'm going to bring everything I've got and hope that's enough. That's all I'm asking you to do. Just be as entertaining as you can be. That's it. So, how are some ways to get better at being entertaining? Kind of like, okay, Cory, I've bought in. Let's be entertaining. How? Well, one way, model the best. Monkey see, monkey do. Copy, copy, copy, copy. There are people that climb the Mount Everest of entertainment. Being a standup comedian is so crazy hard. You literally stand up there on a blank stage with a microphone. People are expecting you to be funny at a certain time on a certain day. They know you're trying to make them laugh, and you still have to be able to make them laugh. Oof. Those are entertaining people, yeah? Some of my favorites are Dave Chappelle, Aziz Ansari. I steal liberally from their moves, and you should, too. I also like to watch actors are usually very entertaining people, especially when they go on late night shows like Jimmy Fallon and things like that. They come prepared with stories that are canned. They picked them on purpose, and they have an interplay with the host. So you can see what techniques are they using to be charming and entertaining, and also what stories do they chose to pick? Copy from them. Is there anyone in your world that you think is super entertaining that you think would be worthy of copying or you already do copy to be entertaining? Yeah. This is silly, but Parks and Rec. Yeah, who, especially? Leslie Knope. What's so great about her... What's the actress's name? I'm just, it's blanking for a second. Oh, good question. Oh, it doesn't matter. We all know who she is. In my mind, I'm just blanking on it. What about her is so entertaining? What does she do? She just doesn't stop. Even when she's wrong, she's just so determined, but it's just funny watching her really get to the end, and she always gets to what she wants, but not without a bunch of detours. Yeah. And even in her comedic style, it's like, she's incorrigible. She's just like a rascal, right? She's always going. And so for you, that's actually a comedic technique or an entertaining technique is like, doubling, tripling down. You say something silly, and then you say something doubly as silly after that. And at first, people are like, eh, and then they're like, ah, right? So that's a good model. Who else? I've been really watching the Master of None show on Netflix, and I know his first name, the actor in there, it's Azi or Aziz. Aziz Ansari? Yeah, that's one of my favorites too. Yeah, he's so great. What do you love about Aziz? I think at least in his acting style, he's very expressive. What? How'd you do that? And very curious. He uses like this like, he's very curious, and his like, voice spikes up in this like high register that's kind of silly for a man to use. It's just great. He's got great facial expressions, too. He's very animated, yeah? Who else? I get one more. Let's get some diversity. Come on, Sam. I really like Kumail Nanjiani from Silicon Valley, and he was really compelling. I recently saw him at a conference. He wasn't even acting. Like you said, he was just up there on stage, just riffing on jokes and stuff, and his delivery and sort of tone and personality just really shine through in everything he says, even when he has no idea what he's talking about. It's really funny. And what about his pacing or tone? I might do an impression in a second, but he's kind of... Oh, it's really hard to describe. He kind of drags it out, right? He's like, I don't know what you're even doing. Like, he does that thing where like, even, so, when you are entertaining, you're usually doing something to defy a person's expectations in some form. If someone knows what you're gonna do, if they expect what you're gonna do, if it's what everyone else does or you always do, it's gonna just filter into like, the stream of information that gets in and out the ear. Changing your tone or pace, saying a spike word or a super, we're going to talk about those, anything that's gonna go outside their expectation is what's going to draw their attention, right? So some people are masters at finding a rhythm that your ear's not used to that's funny or entertaining. Robert Downey Jr. is one of my favorites too, right? He speaks so fast but so clear and so charming. He's speaking fast, but his face is like completely clam. He's like in it, but his mouth is moving like a mile a minute, right? It's amazing. No one talks like Robert. I mean, people talk like Robert Downey Jr. now, but people didn't talk like him on screen or in the public before him, right? That's why he's Iron Man, and not everyone else is. But we can steal from Robert Downey Jr. and be, you know, kind of like a second-rate version. That's still pretty good. (Cory laughs) Okay. Anecdotes. An anecdote is a short story. So we're talking about storytelling overall, but an anecdote is sort of something that happened that you're referencing, and it could be something that really happened or didn't really happen. And an anecdote can kind of blend into a joke. There's an anecdote about a sculptor. There what a sculptor of a very fine marble elephant. And he was asked, how did you do it? And he replied, well, I just knocked away all the bits that didn't look like an elephant. It's just a little anecdote that could be real or not real. Maybe your friend' a sculptor and he said that to you, and he might have been joking, but he really said it, and it made you think, oh, yeah, like, don't overcomplicate a situation. That could be the lesson from that. That's just a short anecdote. Another anecdote, I was looking for a job, and I was talking to some senior executives about what I should do. And one executive gave me the advice. He said, Cory, you don't join or leave companies. You join and leave people. And is that true? Yeah. Is it completely true? Eh, I don't know. But it certainly was impactful. and guess what I did? I joined that person's company. He was very persuasive. And it changed my thought about it. It's not like I'm at this company versus that company. It's like, who am I around all the time? Who's got my back? Who am I gonna enjoy learning from, growing from? It really flipped my understanding of how to think about it, just from a quick experience. So that's an anecdote from my life I might share. Any questions about anecdotes? Does that make sense? It's kind of just a short story we reference, pull in quickly. Metaphors? Yes. So an anecdote can have a metaphor in it, but a metaphor is more of a structure. We'll get to metaphor in a second. Great, great question. And once we get there, if it's not clear, let's talk about it. Please put in your possible compelling research. Does anyone remember the research I used at the opening of this course? (audience murmurs) Boom, gotcha. It's meta, baby. Comin' atcha. So I put in a little bit of compelling research. In the leadership skills for managers course, I told a quick story. It's a story, but it's about data research. There were parole judges that were studies in Israel, and about when they sent people back to jail versus when they let them out. And they did a data correlation to figure out what was the biggest factor in that. And it turned out the biggest factor was how long it had been since the judge had had a break or a snack. So, what it's showing is, our judgment is often very biological, even though we post-rationalize later. So, that piece of research is helping you understand. You need to take care of your body and your mind in order to be at a high form of functioning, because we have biological needs that if we don't take care of, we can't perform the way we wanna perform. I could just tell you that, or I could give you some research, and you're going to be much more compelled by my research. Compelling research means it's applicable, it's hopefully digestible, and it like, it moves instead of getting lost in the research. If it's unclear or lengthy, it can get lost in there. Now, to Mandy's question, metaphor and simile, a metaphor and a simile, I don't really care about the difference. They're pretty much the same. Now, there's probably, excuse me, someone from Grammarist that posts on the message board there that's gonna like, write in now about metaphor and simile being very different. I get confused, and it doesn't really matter. The point is, you're saying something is like something. Now, with a metaphor, you're saying it is the thing, and with a simile, you're saying it is like the thing. Okay? So a metaphor would be, life is a game. I can turn that into a simile by saying life is like a game. Sometimes, metaphors are a little more powerful. A simile, just to expand a little more, so, when friends of mine break up with someone, I try to let them know, hey, right now, you're most likely gonna feel like a frog who is on a lily pad with your current relationship who now it might feel the need to jump to the nearest lily pad so you don't have to go into the cold and murky water of being single and not knowing what's next, but I encourage you and push you to jump in and swim, 'cause the water is not as old or scary as it seems so you don't just jump to the next thing. You find the little pad that's best for you. So that's a simile. You're like a frog. And here's what the frog is doing. Adding to that, and you can layer this on on anything, is something I call super words or spike words. I asked the group in the course on coaching to notice if I was saying any spike words or super words. Has anyone noticed any today or in, excuse me, in this course or the last course that I've used, any super words that have really had a lot of charge in them? Are there any that anything of you said? In the last course I wrote down the super words intentional because you wanted to, from a coaching perspective, you wanted to make sure to make your intentions clear when giving feedback or when, you know, identifying some behavior that you may wanna correct or adjust, it's important to be intentional and share your intentional that, you know, what you're trying to do is beneficial and helpful, and it's coming from a place of love. Yeah, so I chose that word to have a specific impact on you, right? Yeah. I've also, some other super words might be an example. I've used the word choiceful before, and I purposefully missay that one so hat your brain has to go, that's not quite right. It sounds similar, but it's not the thing that I normally know. Good. Then you have to think about it, and then it gets in. Another example of words, just ones I like, super words, I love the word panache. If you use the word panache, people will not just move on hr your sentence. They will say, he just used the word panache. What are we talking about? Okay, I'm in. I also like the word bewildered. I was bewildered. Okay, I'm paying attention, Cory. Ruthless. Oh, ruthless is a word. I I use it with the word love. Be ruthlessly self-loving. People are like, what is that? Ruthless is like,, that's like a powerful word, right? So if you use words that are uncommon, it'll up the emotional charge. You can use words that are funnier than normal, more extreme than normal, and that will trigger people to pay attention. Jokes and folk sayings, okay. So, there's a joke. How many consultants does it take to change a light bulb? One to hold the light bulb, and four to turn the table. So, why is that funny about consultants? It's because, you know, the joke is maybe they come in and try to do too much. They try to over-solve. They try to make this something really complicated that is hard to then implement. So inside of just changing the light bulb, they're turning the table and using four people, five people total to do it, right? So there's a joke that I wanted to tell you about why I like or don't like consulting, or maybe the pitfalls of consulting. Maybe I'm a consultant and I wanna tell you, here's good consulting. Here's the pitfalls. I might use that as a joke. Another... So jokes, I will say one more thing about jokes. In the workplace, be careful about jokes. Be very intentional about what jokes you choose to use or not. If you're not sure if it's a good joke or not, don't use it. It's never worth using a joke you're not sure about, because it can really bite you. Some people get really sensitive or that triggers something about them and you didn't mean it to, but it can be hard. They might not even tell you they got injured by that joke. So, really think about your jokes, but if humor is your tool, I would say don't hide from it, but just be very conscious of that one particularly. A folk saying is something like, a rolling stone gathers no moss. Now, is that true? Has someone watched a rolling stone and seen if it gathers moss or not? It doesn't matter. It's a folk saying. It has a lesson in it. What's the lesson in that one? Keep moving forward. And what will happen if you do? You'll continue moving along your path? Yeah, and what won't happen maybe is, I should frame it that way. You'll be stuck in one place and never grow. Yeah, you won't gather dust and get like, all mossy and like, yeah. Saying, keep moving. You've gotta keep moving. That's how we get moss growing on us. So. That was a bunch of techniques around stories that I wanna give you. So be thinking about putting those into the stories I'm gonna have you tell. Big thing here is machines consume data. People consume stories. So, if you try to convince people via logic and data alone, you're going to have a... It's like, god luck with that. I actually heard someone today, overheard them talking. They asked someone a question about data that was presented. What did you think about the data was that was presented? Are you convinced in their data? And the person couldn't even remember what the data this other person was talking about. The other person had to try to explain it three or four times. The person was still like, I don't know what you're talking about. And then the person said, well, I guess you weren't paying attention the meeting. And I think the real story was the person presenting the data maybe didn't tell it as a story well enough, that it was memorable, or the person asking that person the question didn't give them the content of the story to be able to then find out how they felt about it. They were just going straight with the data. Yeah? Have your S together. The point being, yes, it's great to be entertaining, and you've gotta build and be rich, but if you don't have a point to your story or you don't have clarity to what it trying to accomplish, you will be lost, and people will be like, man, what a bummer. It's kind of like a letdown. It's all this like, it's like there's all sizzle, no steak. Have you ever heard that saying? Sam's from Texas, so I know he's heard, all sizzle, no steak. All hat, no cattle. And so, we wanna be both sizzle and steak, hat and cattle, yeah? There are people that can do one and not the other. If you can do both, massive impact. Dare to be interesting, and I say dare to be interesting because it is daring to be interesting.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Cory Caprista - Storytelling Workbook

Ratings and Reviews

Sang Hyo Lee

The live audience group is too small. Always the same people are giving input to Cory. Would be better if the group size is twice the size. He's constantly asking his group who wants to share. This makes it awkward for everyone in the live lesson.

Katarína Hiklová


Student Work