< Back to all blog posts

How To Tell A Compelling Story

Can You Taste It?

In Shawn Callahan’s book, Putting Stories To Work, he talks about making your stories visceral.  When you set the stage for your story, involve your listener or reader by hitting on as many senses as possible. Instead of just reporting, “it was a dark and stormy night…’” , describe the scene so the listener feels blinded, confused, wind blown and drenched.  If you’re portraying a character in your story, the little details matter. Henry isn’t just a tall man. Henry was so tall he could clean the leaves out of his gutters without needing a ladder.

When I mention, “Cinnabon,” do you imagine the word: CINNABON, or do you imagine tasting a Cinnabon? Get your audience salivating over the gooieness,  the warm, aromatic smell that draws you to the Cinnabon counter and causes you to start-your-diet-tomorrow sinfulness that is Cinnabon. (I’ll be right back. I’ve got to have a bite. I can smell Cinnabon from here and I’m miles and zip codes away from a mall.)

Involve the senses and you’ve engaged your reader or listener. Engage your audience with your story and you’ll be memorable. And, why are you putting words together if you don’t want to be memorable?

As Callahan says, “It’s not pretending to see. It’s seeing.” When you get your audience to see, hear, feel, taste and smell what you’re talking about, they are yours. They are yours and your message is theirs.

©Karen Susman


Want to tell compelling, memorable stories, I can help. Call me. You’ll like what you hear. 303-756-6939, karen@karensusman.com

Exciting News: I’m creating an online course on Storytelling For Engineers. My engineering clients know that stories bring data to life. Stories close deals. Stories build teams and leadership. Engineers who use stories in presentations stand out!

Forward this e-newsletter to those who would enjoy it. Feel free to repost. Just include my ©. Thanks, Karen Susman

Share This > RSS feed share on Facebook