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Tell stories that follow the rules

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

Great leaders tell great stories. They inspire, motivate and educate people with anecdotes, not lectures.

Prepare by following a set of rules created by Emma Coats. She’s a former story artist at Pixar, the animated movie studio that made “Brave," "Monsters University” and other hits.

One of her rules involves structuring a story in a tight, easy-to-follow manner. Her template requires filling in the blanks to six statements:

Once upon a time...

Every day…

One day…

Because of that…

Because of that…

Until finally…

Use this organizational framework to craft a sales pitch, launch a change campaign or train people.

Another tip: Know how the story will end and make sure it packs a wallop. Effective endings are hard to create, so invest the time to leave listeners with a satisfying sense of closure.

Even if you’re sharing a personal experience, don’t rely on memory alone. Write a summary of the story; that gives you a basic script as your starting point.

“Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it,” Coats says.

Most of all, know your purpose in telling the story. For Coats, that means identifying “the belief burning within you” that drives you to open up in the first place.

— Adapted from “The 22 rules of storytelling, according to Pixar,” Cyriaque Lamar, www.io9.com.

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