Three Features Every Story Needs:

Story | Networking | Character | Conflict | Resolution

While I was waiting for a drink at a recent networking event, a man in a nice suit brushed my shoulder, extended his hand, and introduced himself with a name I will not include in this article. He did nothing wrong. This is what you’re supposed to do at networking events, but he had a tendency to hog the microphone.

Every time I spoke he would say “that reminds me” then would go on a tangent that was completely unrelated to the rest of the conversation. And he kept putting his hand on my shoulder, like he could sense I was thinking about walking away.

Let’s be honest, by his second story that’s all I was thinking. I didn’t want to offend him by leaving abruptly. Finally, when I finished my drink I was able to say “whew that one really went through me. I gotta step out for a second” and was able to slip away.

If you want to avoid being a drag on the conversation here are three features your stories always need. 

1. Characters

You need someone for the audience to follow or else its directionless words. They can be a hero, a villain, or anything in between, we just need the vehicle to explore the world you’re creating. The character doesn’t have to be you. Just so long as you’re allowed to tell the story any character will do.

2. Conflict

Conflict is the simple equation of Desire + Fear. Your character has to want something and your character has to fear something.

3. Resolution

The conflict has to be resolved. The character has to succeed or fail at reaching their desires.

Bonus feature:

A point. If you can ask yourself “why?” before telling any story you access a second layer of meaning which will shine through by the end. Stories with a meaning leave a stronger impact on the listener.

And that’s it! I know these are all features you knew about, but a healthy reminder helps. If you want to protect yourself from being the person at a marketing event who just rambles on you just need to remind yourself about these three features and your story will have a chance to leave an impact.

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