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How to Tell the Best Business Stories

You've learned by now that stories are an effective way to capture attention and package great ideas so they are memorable, but the problem is how do you tell an engaging story that sticks?

Getting Started

Let's start with the big picture. It is important to understand the proper business story structure that captures interest and balances detail with concise and direct language. I recommend the use of the great Joseph Campbell's classic story structure, the hero's journey. Start with an attention-grabbing opening, then introduce a conflict or spark that is the process or the insight that inspires your character to overcome the conflict. 

There may be some additional barriers along the way but the story has a turning point. Then relate to what positive event occurred or what transformation took place. Finally, end your story with a takeaway of what the audience needs to learn or your key message and a call to action if appropriate. This format makes your storytelling more organized and structured. If you are interested in reading small business stories then visit

small business stories

A Powerful Opening Hook

So, following our recommended structure, let's talk about creating an attention-grabbing opening or hook. The start of your story is what captures the interest of the listener and hooks them into it emotionally before they have time to put up a wall. You don't have much time, just a few seconds, so it has to be compelling. To give you some ideas, I'll list the five great types of openings here:

First, you can introduce an element of surprise – something unusual for the situation or person.

The second type is to create a mystery- in this opening, it is like a puzzle to the listener and they want to solve it

Your third option is to introduce the main character, that they can relate to and put your character in a challenging situation or predicament.

Number four is the image of the opening- It creates a vision of what is possible with your product, solution, or idea. You can paint the picture of life at their company as a dream and then transition to how you helped a client achieve their dream.

Number five is foreshadowing. In this case, you start with changes that are about to happen and you move to a story of how it has become an issue.

It is a psychological fact that we are naturally curious. So, when you open with one of these attention grabbers, your audience is hooked emotionally and wants to learn more.