Doctor SpinCreativityStorytelling & Writing3 Ways to Improve Your Storytelling (in 15 Minutes)

3 Ways to Improve Your Storytelling (in 15 Minutes)

Three simple scripts that you can use to tell better stories.

How can you improve your storytelling?

If you’re looking to improve your storytelling, then I have three perfect ways for you to challenge your inner storyteller.

And the best part:

Neither of these three techniques should take you more than 15 minutes to try for yourself.

Table of Contents

    The Pixar Pitch

    The Pixar pitch, made famous by Dan Pink in his book To Sell Is Human, is an excellent way for you to find a narrative, a storyline, in your business.

    Emma Coats, story-artist at Pixar, has broken down the key elements of great storytelling in an elegant way that certainly could help improve your storytelling.

    Here’s the script for you to try:

    Once upon a time there was _________. Every day _________. One day _________. Because of that _________. Because of that _________. Until finally _________.

    Jay Connor of Working Differently gives this example of a plot for Finding Nemo:

    Once upon a time, there was a widowed fish named Marlin, who was highly protective of his only son, Nemo.

    Every day Marlin warned Nemo of the ocean’s dangers and implored him not to swim far away.

    One day in an act of defiance, Nemo ignores his father’s warnings and swims into the open water.

    Because of that, he is captured by a diver and ends up in the fish tank of a dentist in Sydney.

    Because of that Marlin sets off on a journey to recover Nemo, enlisting the help of other sea creatures along the way.

    Until finally Marvin and Nemo find each other, reunite and learn that love depends on trust.

    As I tried this for my own freelance business, Spin Factory, here’s what I came up with:

    Once upon a time, there was no internet.

    Every day, companies had to rely on a few powerful mass media distributors to market to their consumers.

    One day, the advancements in information technology exploded, and all companies had to change their way of reaching out, but few knew how to do this.

    Because of that, “social media experts” emerged and started making money from companies by advising them to pollute the digital universe with clutter and complexity.

    Because of that, Jerry struggled with the idea that companies should strive to be clearer instead of relying on the same old spray and pray strategy?

    Until finally, he decided to take a leap of faith together with a small group of clients, all tired of pushing one message after the other with no effect, and so the agency Spin Factory was born.

    The Rebel Yell Statement

    Maybe you work to earn money, put food on the table and hopefully have some fun in the process.

    But is that all?

    Maybe there’s also something more profound, a core purpose, that drives us to go the extra mile?

    In a guest post on Ryan Lee, Why Rebels get Rich, copywriter Kevin Rogers published this simple yet effective script to improve your storytelling, the rebel yell statement, named after the legendary rock anthem by Billy Idol.

    My name is _________, I love _________ but was fed up with _________. So I created _________ that _________.

    This is, of course, quite similar to the Pixar Pitch above. Still, where the former helps you understand the basic story of your business, the rebel yell statement enables you to put the finger on your core reason for being in business.

    Here’s an example by Kevin Rogers of a person you might recognize:

    My name is Steve, I love computers but was fed up with the snail’s pace of commercial technology. So I created a user-friendly computer that processes information faster than anything else out there today.

    Here’s the rebel yell statement I wrote for this blog, Doctor Spin:

    My name is Jerry, I love public relations, but was fed up with “social media experts” giving clients bullshit advice on digital marketing. So I created Doctor Spin to share advice based on academic research, hands-on experience, and passion.

    The Lottery Question

    Imagine your organization won the lottery, and money no longer is a primary motivator.

    You and your co-workers are now taken care of financially, and the brand has earned notoriety by having the winning ticket.

    I know that taking money out of the equation might seem counterintuitive for a business. I’m all about the bottom line, too. Still, this is about how to improve your storytelling.

    So, ask yourself this question:

    With more money than you need in the bank, what would your company do next?

    Here’s how I imagine this scenario for Spin Factory:

    Great minds need time for reflection to grow stronger and happier, so we would have more vacation time than the usual industry standard.

    Each week, we would set aside time to explore new academic research and interact with the scientific community on behavioural research, human psychology, and online marketing.

    I wouldn’t go out on a frantic hiring spree but rather invest heavily in the people we already have on board.

    We would say no to working with clients if we don’t feel passionate about their business objectives.

    Our kickoffs, conferences and team building travels would be so epic that it would be ridiculous.

    We would do pro bono work for important non-profits that can’t afford our expertise otherwise.

    Despite the success, we would still work hard because we consider hard work virtue and a way of life.

    Now, the critical question is, of course, what could we do to implement our lottery ideas already today — even without winning an actual lottery?

    Cover photo by Jerry Silfwer (Prints/Instagram)


    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer
    Jerry Silfwer, aka Doctor Spin, is an awarded senior adviser specialising in public relations and digital strategy. Currently CEO at KIX Index and Spin Factory. Before that, he worked at Kaufmann, Whispr Group, Springtime PR, and Spotlight PR. Based in Stockholm, Sweden.
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