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What Makes a Story Good?

February 16th, 2010 · No Comments

We all know a good story when we hear or read one. But, what makes a story good? Here are some tips I picked up from organizational storyteller and consultant Gerry Lantz at last year’s International Organizational Story Weekend in Washington, D.C.


The best stories are about some kind of action driven by conflict. Stories drive us to an experience.

  • What’s at stake?
  • Who wants what?
  • Why?
  • How do they go about getting it?
  • What challenges do they face and how do they overcome them?

The Frodo Factor

People like stories about people (not processes!) who make an extraordinary effort, struggle against the odds, and achieve exceptional results.

The Real World

Write or tell your story for the moment, not for all time. Write or speak about what you know – in the present. The universal is in the details. Be specific.

Be Authentic

Let your authentic self show through. Authenticity builds trust. Duplicity invites cynicism.

The Title Trick

Giving your story a title helps you to frame it, sets you off in a direction, gives you an attitude, and helps you to find your tone of voice.

Craft a Powerful Beginning

“Imagine if you will…” You’ve got to get their attention in the first three seconds or you will lose your audience.

[tags] organizational storytelling, Gerry Lantz [/tags]

Tags: Communication · Story & Narrative