How to Tell an Impactful Story (Step-by-Step Instructions)
Step 1: What Are Your IMPACT Moments?
Everyone has great stories within them.
Most people I ask don’t believe they have anything to share. No near death experience, not a kidnapping in the congo, or massive commercial success.
Many times, the seemingly mundane moments in our life which shaped who we are can provide your audience with the greatest connection with you.
This can also be a bit intimidating. Since you’ll need to get vulnerable.
From a list you’re about to write (get your pens out), you’ll choose which stories will ultimately become your Impact Story.
Now …. Take a minute to write about some moments in your life that were learnings for you. Don’t censor yourself. Some of these stories will be emotionally charged — don’t shy away from these.
Some moments will be when tragedy hit, some might be a joyous occasion. Write them all down. Again, don’t censor yourself or think that the moment may not be interesting, most likely it isn’t interesting to you because you lived through it. But it may be very interesting to an audience interested in your services.
Step 2: Select The Most Emotionally Charged
Now, looking at your list. Highlight 3–5 events which are the most emotionally charged for you.
When you look at the moment you wrote, close your eyes and go back to the event.
Are you feeling a physical response right now? Your heart rate increases, your palms are sweating, you have a smile on your face or a tear in your eye.
Those are the ones that you want to explore.
Step 3: Describe The Moment in One Sentence
Take the top 3 most emotionally charged moments from your list and capture the essence of each moment in one sentence.
The moment I found out I was pregnant it crushed me, because I had to face a new challenge — leaving my work.
I learned how uncomplicated life really is when I met with the monk in Northern India.
Step 4: Capture The Details and Drama
The story comes alive in the details. This is where you need to discover the bits and pieces that will make your story rich with detail. The more the better. It’s always easier to edit down than add more if you’re lacking.
Why did you do what you did?
What kind of fears were involved?
What were some obstacles you had to overcome?
How did you feel before, during and after the event?
What type of day was it? Weather, Day of Week.
Where were you, specifically, color of the building
What were you wearing? What were other people wearing?
More specific details? Make, Model, Color, Condition, Age, Shape, Size… etc.
STEP 5: Story Outline Development
Now you can take your epic story and put it into a structure that will engage your audience.
You can use these questions as a way to organize your thoughts about the story. Start with an impactful sentence that grabs attention. This could be a question or it could be a statement.
Example: Have you ever worked so hard to achieve a goal only to have it ripped out of your hands in a flash?
IMPACT Moment — Sentence which grabs attention:
What led up to that IMPACT Moment? Your backstory:
What happened after the IMPACT Moment? Your journey to discovery:
What was the conflict along the way? Internal and external:
Who helped you? Who was your guide and how did they help you:
What was the ultimate outcome?
What did you learn?
What do you want your audience to learn?
Use this template to write out the parts of your story that you fleshed out above. Remember to:
- Add texture with the details
- Work on your hook for the beginning
- Be authentic and real with your listeners
- Explore topics that resonate with people
Story Title: ___________________
My Learning: ___________________
Audience Learning: ___________________
Now go on! Write your story. And tell it to someone you love… then a colleague… then a stranger. Get more bold and command attention.
You have the perfect formula to make your impact.