Lessons Learned

How to Tell a Good Story

At Root Inc., one of the things we like to do is tell stories. Many times, companies will come to us and say:

Hey Root, we have this 100 page PowerPoint deck. Can you make it relevant to our front-line?

In most situations, we simply have to turn their PowerPoint into a compelling story.

What makes a compelling story? It has four parts:

Once,

But,

Until,

At Last.

Let’s turn to the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air theme song for an example:

Once…

In west Philadelphia born and raised
On the playground where I spent most of my days
Chilling out, maxing, relaxing all cool
And all shooting some b-ball outside of the school

But…

When a couple of guys who were up to no good
Started making trouble in my neighborhood
I got in one little fight and my mom got scared
And said you’re moving with your auntie and uncle in Bel Air

Until…

First class, yo this is bad,
Drinking orange juice out of a champagne glass
Is this what the people of Bel Air livin’ like
Hm this might be alright!

At Last…

I pulled up to a house about seven or eight
And I yelled to the cabbie, yo Holmes smell ya later
Looked at my kingdom I was finally there
To sit on my throne as the prince of Bel Air

What makes this song such a compelling story? It is the drama of the but, and the resolution of the at last. Without the but, you basically have Will Smith hangout on the basketball court. That wouldn’t make for much of a story!  Without the at last, the audience would not know where the story was going. There would be no feeling of accomplishment or resolution.

Next time you want to tell a story, don’t forget the journey to Bel Air!

 

 

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