The 5 “C’s” for Telling a Great Story

November 24, 2016 by  

One of the key elements to successful public speaking is to use stories to illustrate points or concepts. People love stories!
However, what exactly makes a story great?
How can you tell stories that will captivate your audience and engage them?
Consider the sorts of stories you could include in your presentations and then guide your choices with the following elements.

The 5 “C’s” is a simple structure or formula for creating appropriate, memorable and engaging stories.

1. Your story should have Characters:
Carefully consider who to make the main characters in your story. Humor is always a good approach as we all love to laugh.
Try to describe those main characters so that your audience can actually visualize them. If possible, make them relevant to the audience.
2. Your story could have a Conflict:
Put your main characters into a conflict type of situation. This will get your audience thinking about how they could resolve the conflict, especially if you are going to offer some strategies for conflict resolution.
This element can be one of your engagement hooks, to draw your attendees into the story.
3. Your Story needs to have a Cure:
In other words you will need to provide a positive outcome for the conflict situation presented in your story. The cure will help the audience overcome the typical conflicts they may be facing in their own lives. You could even make this an exercise for the attendees if you want them to apply strategies you are presenting to situations they may encounter in their work environment.
4. Characters should Change as a result of the conflict:
Offer specific personality or attitude shifts that your characters undergo as a result of having to overcome the conflict described. In other words, how would they now view the world differently as a result of having experienced the conflict?
5. Your story should end with a “Carry Out Message”:
The essence of the story is to illustrate or make a point. Be sure that your story does in fact do this with clarity and specificity. This is the “lesson” you want your audience to take away, so it needs to be obvious why you told the story and what they are supposed to learn from it.

In summary, here is this simple storytelling model of the “5 C’s”, just include the following five elements:
• Characters
• Conflict
• Cure
• Change
• Carry-out Message

If you can use this structure for your stories you will find better retention of the key concepts you are hoping your audience will gain from your presentation. Again, people like stories and it definitely drives home the points you are trying to make in an interesting and relatable manner.


One Response to “The 5 “C’s” for Telling a Great Story”

  1. Andrew Grant on August 11th, 2018 8:13 pm

    This was really helpful, in helping me to organize my stories.

    Thank you.

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