Storytelling isn’t just for arts and media types. Crafting a compelling beginning, middle and end in any type of communication gives people a clear path in to your message. From mini “elevator speeches” about your work to web site content, guiding listeners or readers with a clear set of directions will engage them and help them understand your point.
Learn from things you like. As a fan of writer/director/master storyteller Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, Firefly), I often look closely at the act breaks of a given episode or film and how the tension is heightened by adding obstacles and increasing the conflict. The protaganist gets wind of a new or expanding crisis at the beginning, trouble grows with surprising twists or deeper character revelations, and every element — when it works well — aligns for the big finish. In other words: Bad monster appears, bad monster has mad skills in kicking your backside, allies/Scoobies get distracted until Buffy rallies and saves the world (again).
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I’m not at all a master of this technique. I’m learning that telling a story is crucial to engaging people (pals, fans, customers) online in particular and I’m taking on the challenge to craft content in this vein more often.
Want to take on the challenge, too? Take a look at The Basics of Storytelling and consider how you can apply them to your next writing task or discussion.