Today I’d like to explore how to uncover stories which will not only boost your prestige among peers but also have a point.
Everywhere your eyes gaze and ears listen a story exists waiting to be told. Allow me to start with one of my favorites which happened oh some 27 years ago.
As a boy I’d spend my afternoons cleaning up my grandfather’s industrial machine repair shop. On one March evening one of my gramp’s employees, John, was visibly upset and raced into his office.
“Kelly sir, I’m so sorry but I broke this piece on the lathe!” John said with exasperation.
Gramps began smirking as he leaned back in his old chair.
“I’ll be happy to replace the part out of my next paycheck..” John followed up saying.
“John boy. Have a seat and a drink with me… what I’m about to tell you might put some perspective into this whole thing.” Gramps said with an old Southern drawl.
As I watched just outside the doorway my grandfather grabbed his favorite bottle of whiskey, grabbed two high ball glasses and poured.
“I ever tell y’all about my first patrol in the Pacific? Well, I just got out of basic for the sub fleet… those damn floating coffins. And we got thousands of miles out hunting Japanese commerce ships.
Easy pickins… so the call comes up from cap’n to prepare to engage the Japanese convoy. My job was to load and arm the torpedoes.
The order came down for me to lock n’ load which I did… so me and a feller from Chicago load the torpedo in the tube except, well I forgot somethin’.” my grandfather said this, cocked his head back as if to absorb the gravity of the mistake he was making some forty plus years before.
“Anyway well… I forgot to arm the goddamn torpedo! We fired it off and it slammed into the side of a Japanese convoy ship.
Didn’t explode! Can you believe it? So Johnny boy… it ain’t no big deal with the lathe. Hope y’all put these things in perspective.”
John was clearly relieved and began sipping his whiskey. Gramps pounded his.
The point about sharing this with you is every story should have a moral or lesson you wish to teach the audience.
If there’s no point then you’re just wasting time.
When I look to find stories I first think about the moral or point. Am I teaching a business lesson? Am I teaching a morality question or even simply asking a question I wish you to help me answer?
Once you decide what idea you wish to teach your reader then we can select a story which fits your narrative.
And this can come from any source of inspiration… here are but a few I use:
● Popular Culture (TV and movies)
● Nature● Contact with people
One source which is widely under utilized and by far under appreciated is your own experience.
Your audience wants a glimpse through the window of your mind. How does it think?
There’s the often used idea about nobody caring about you and only themselves.
Perhaps to a point, however, let me try to make this argument if you don’t mind…
Would you do business with someone who’s history, ideas and products you were completely ignorant of?
Odds are you would not…
And so when you look to increase another person’s interest level in your cause consider how you can teach a lesson through a story and they will rally around you