The Secret to Telling a Story


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I was just browsing through the McKinsey Quarterly, and stumbled upon an interview with the authors of The Dragonfly Effect, Jennifer Aaker and Andy Smith, in which they discuss the secret to telling a successful story.

Create Tension

Telling a story

Jennifer Aaker

As a blogger, I am always telling stories. It’s at the heart of what bloggers do. So, let me lift a quote from Jennifer Aaker:

Good stories have three components: a strong beginning, a strong end, and a point of tension. Most people confuse stories with situations. They’ll tell about a situation: X happened, Y happened, Z happened. But a good story takes Y, the middle part of the story, and creates tension or conflict where the reader or the audience is drawn into the story, what’s going to happen next.

A Compelling Story

In their book, they describe a case study of 28-year-old Scott Harrison, a nightclub and fashion promoter, earning lots of money. But he felt spiritually bankrupt and gave it all up to volunteer on a floating hospital while he figured out what to do with the rest of his life.

He came back with a renewed sense of passion, and formed a foundation charity: water to help bring clean water to millions of underserved populations around the world who don’t have any.

In the McKinsey piece, they describe his story – about asking friends to donate $31 to his charity instead of buying him a gift for his 31st birthday. To date, the charity has raised $20 million and provided clean water to more than 1.4 million people spanning 17 countries.

Read the Middle

I just gave you the beginning and end of the story. If you want to find out the point of tension in the middle, go to the interview on the McKinsey Quarterly

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Jeannette Paladino
Jeannette Paladino is a social media writer helping organizations to build brand awareness, increase revenues, and engage employees as brand advocates on social media.


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