3 Simple Steps to Storytelling

3 Simple Steps to Storytelling

Image courtesy of sxc.hu user ostillac

I am often reminded, when I am watching a presentation, that storytelling does not come naturally to many people.  I don’t mean telling about what you did last weekend or about a great adventure that you had – lots of people are great at that.  What I mean by storytelling is laying out information and recommendations in a logical way.

When you are trying to get buy in to an idea or build commitment to a certain action, or just to get a team to plan strategically, if you can tell a story, you will be more successful.

There are three simple steps I’ve learned over the years, that will help anyone with storytelling:

  1. “What?”
  2. “So What?”
  3. “Now What?”


The first step is to explain the situation.  Where is your business now?  Talk about results, current state of the business, industry trends, threats to your organization.

So What?

Next, explain why that information matters.  Where do you want to be that you’re not?  What gaps are there?  Why is this a problem?

Now What?

Finally, share how you’re going to improve.  How will you get where you’re going?  How will you fill the gaps?  What role will each department, team, or individual play?


These three simple steps will help you communicate effectively.  Notice how I used them even in this post – my first paragraph is the “What?, second one is “So What?”, and finally, I explain “Now What?” with my three simple steps.


What format do you use for storytelling?  What have I missed?  Share your feedback in the comments!


  1. August 21, 2011 at 6:30 am

    Funny, I remember when I first heard this a few years ago thinking, "really? I don't know about this" but I use it ALL the time! When I'm writing emails, creating something for a presentation. Not only does it help me get to the point but it also helps me cut down on the wordiness. Simple but effective.

    Reply »
    • Pam (Author)
      August 21, 2011 at 7:16 am

      Thanks for commenting Karen! Hmmm... I wonder who you used to hear this from? I'm glad it comes in helpful :)

      Reply »

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