A good story involves something the audience is interested in. A great story uses stories to make news interesting. A good story does more than just inform. It adds to the discussion.
What are three things that make a story good?
- The people involved are introduced by the characters.
- Conflict shows how the character transforms through challenge.
- What did the character change?
Two successful and admired business leaders shared insights and reflections at an event. While there are entire books and courses of study on crafting and telling better stories, anyone who understands and incorporates just three basic elements tends to show remarkable improvement Regardless of plot, twists, and approaches, good stories have three essential elements: Current attempts to tell stories in business focus on environment instead of characters, symptoms over conflict, and present a resolution without the journey and transformation.
This isn’t fiction, no need to focus on internal monologues, deep held secrets, and the work of novels. Most people experience extreme frustration, fear, and disappointment while working. The emotional ride through the process of asking for help, finding a solution, getting the budget, implementing the project, and then hopefully, realizing results is the challenge.
A real connection is provided by revealing genuine emotion and the way people evaluate solutions in terms of risk to themselves. Proof that the problem is understood on a personal and business level is offered if the narrative is real.
Sharing the emotion experienced on the pathway is a starting point for a more detailed and productive conversation. I help clients capture real emotion and distill the right elements on the journey to resolution based on real people. Introduce real people into the situation instead of setting the scene of a generic client. After a cup of coffee, Harry attended project and status meetings to represent security, handled routine and requested security reviews, as well as catching up on the latest threats and ended his day around 5pm.
An endless barrage of attacks and shifting threat landscape means more manual tasks. Skipping lunch and heading home after dark, Harry is putting on weight, stressed out, and missing the soccer games of his daughters and date nights with his wife. Faced with the reality that he is unable to keep up with the workload, Harry starts working later and later into the evening and on weekends to find a solution He has to find a way to get his boss to approve the time and effort for evaluation after narrowing down potential solutions to three. The personal realization that the current situation is not working surfaces as a real challenge.
A lot of people are afraid to admit they need help because they fear repercussions from a superior who may question their work ethic. It takes some time and effort to capture just the right amount of challenge without scaring people. Harry was surprised that the initial setup only took two hours and didn’t cause a problem.
After the install team walked him through the system, Harry was able to see changes in the environment and take action from a central console. Harry was worried that his boss would penalize him, but he found a better relationship with his team and an accommodation of excellence on his desk. Inherent in the struggle is finding the time and energy to make a decision. Two people that I interviewed last year for my clients shared similar stories.
When a colleague is sharing a story, it is common for people to point out how the attempt missed an element. The entire experience shows that it takes some exploration and discovery to uncover and distill the three elements.
There are opportunities at work, home and the activities we engage on a daily basis. Each of us has the ability to tell better stories if we embrace the three elements of the practice. Take your best next step in 7 days or less if you learn how to apply the Straight Talk Framework to your most pressing issue.
What do all good stories need?
The five components are the characters, the setting, the plot, the conflict and the resolution The essential elements keep the story running smoothly and allow the action to develop in a logical way that the reader can follow. The story is about the characters.
What makes a story good or bad?
A good story should make us feel sad, happy, tense, excited, hopeful or disappointed. A bad story will not do these things and will make the audience feel the wrong emotion.
What makes a story badly written?
I mean regular use of awkward, overly wordy, or confusing sentences in flawed writing. It’s bad enough to cause reader comprehension trouble. Flawed writing on a sentence level ruins a book because it makes it difficult to read.