Top 10 Storytelling Tips to Be More Influential

By March 13, 2017 January 4th, 2024 Articles on Leadership

Last Updated on January 4, 2024 by Dave Schoenbeck

“A woman found a cocoon for a butterfly. On a bright morning during summer, she discovered a small opening. She sat and watched the butterfly for many hours as it tried to force its body through the little hole, but it got stuck because it couldn’t progress.

The woman decided to assist the butterfly, and she cut open the cocoon with a sharp knife. The butterfly then came out without stress. But something unusual happened. The butterfly had swollen wings and was unable to fly.

The woman thought the butterfly could find a balance but could not fly. In her kindness and affection, the woman didn’t realize that the butterfly’s struggle to come out from the small opening of the cocoon is nature’s way of forcing fluid from the butterfly’s body into its wings to make it ready for flight.

When we inspire, influence, and teach others, it is essential to discover when people need to spread their wings and leave their comfort zones. Sometimes, the challenge makes all the difference.”

A man writes on a glass window "storytelling"


Storytelling is a proven method of influencing audiences to adopt your perspective or rally others around your cause. “Robert McKee, in an HBR article entitled “Storytelling that works,” says that “Persuasion is the centerpiece of business activity.” A story can travel where qualitative analysis is denied access: our heart. To influence people, you must wrap your vision in a story that fires the imagination and stirs the soul.

I have discovered storytelling tips over the years that can help you master the art.

Top 10 Storytelling Tips

1. INTEGRITY AND CHARACTER: A vital part of storytelling is making the story engaging and responsive. When different characters and roles speak to each other in a story, it evokes immediate attention and reliability, making the story a masterpiece.
Storytelling tips: Use quotes that relate directly to your audience and let the characters speak in a unique tone, giving integrity to the conversation.

2. UNDERSTAND THE ENCODING STAGE: To be more influential, you must discover how to communicate information to your teammates in a practical, compelling, and appealing way. For example, Greg Stephen and colleagues kept records of the brain activity of the speaker and audience during natural verbal communication. They discovered that when a listener’s brain activity in the default network reflects the speaker’s brain activity, there is a better understanding and flow of communication between the speaker and listener.
Storytelling tips: Understand the use of emotions, your social-cognitive abilities, and motivation in storytelling.

3. VALUE: Experiments have found that people utilize their social concerns when they hear new information. To be on the top of your game as an influencer, you should tell your story in a way that adds personal value to your direct audience and the other interests your listeners might have in mind.
Storytelling tips: Storytelling should be able to resonate and appeal to the feelings of others. These enable your information to spread.

4. CONNECTIVITY: connectivity could work wonders through specific references or repetition. It can link concepts and phrases from one part of a story to another, giving the basis for your listeners to establish meaning.

5. CREATIVITY: Create a storyboard; map it out while listening to music or reading something for inspiration. A good story builds suspense, setbacks, and ups and downs, carries your audience along, and introduces tension like in a fairy tale.

6. EMOTIONAL LANGUAGE: Use the right graphics/images and pictures to send your message. Avoid complex graphics; a beautiful picture with emotional language will convey your message effectively.

7. KEEP IT SHORT AND SIMPLE: Research shows that the attention span of people in organizations is about three to five minutes.
Storytelling tips: Leave your audience demanding more.

8. LITERARY TECHNIQUES ARE IMPORTANT PIECES OF MEMORABLE STORIES: Remember the famous quote from the animal farm;


The tale of the animal farm is related to the events of the rise of Stalin and the Soviet Union before the Second World War II but was represented as an allegory by the author.

Storytelling tips: Storytelling should be spiced with literary techniques, turning a simple story you wish to deliver into an outstanding, memorable, and controversial work of art.

9. ONE BIG IDEA: What’s your point? What is that one point you want to stick in the brains of your listeners?
Storytelling tips: Make your story more transparent, and let it have more impact by focusing on one powerful idea.

10. SERVE YOUR AUDIENCE: Do a critical analysis of your audience, business, customers, and the services they like, not what you feel you like when preparing for storytelling.
Storytelling tips: Appeal to human interest, give concrete details, and show them you’re concerned about their growth and satisfaction.

Stories powerfully connect us to our audience. When we share our own real-life stories or the stories of others, our audiences feel that they get to know us as people of integrity, people who have lives outside the formal setting, people who have struggled with challenges and who have discovered how to overcome them. As we say in business, “People buy from people they know, like, and trust. “During my years of coaching business leaders, I’ve seen that there is simply no more influential way to have that occur than through strategic storytelling. Storytelling allows your audience to buy your ideas and appeal to their feelings simultaneously. A great leader must recognize that human connections must go before concepts and strategies.

I am a professional business and executive coach. If you are receptive to improving your skills and performance, please click here and tell me what you want to work on.

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Dave Schoenbeck
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