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Peter Guber (Guber, 2007) notes that storytelling is central to business executives and entrepreneurs. Effective storytelling communicates in a way that inspires people to act. Stories that move and captivate people have four essential characteristics; they are true to the teller, the audience, the moment, and the mission.

  • truth to the teller -- Authenticity is a crucial quality of the storyteller. He must be congruent with his story -- his tongue, feet, and wallet must move in the same direction. When you pitch a story, you are selling yourself. Being true to yourself also involves showing and sharing emotion. The spirit that motivates most great storytellers is ""I want you to feel what I feel,"" and the effective narrative is designed to make this happen. That's how the information is bound to the experience and rendered unforgettable.
  • truth to the audience -- There is an implicit contract between the storyteller and his audience. It includes a promise that the listener's expectations, once aroused, will be fulfilled. Listeners give the storyteller their time with the understanding that he will spend it wisely for them. To meet the terms of this contract -- and ideally even over-deliver on it -- the great storyteller takes time to understand what his listeners know about, care about, and want to hear. Then he crafts the essential elements of the story to so that they elegantly resonate with those needs, starting where the listeners are bringing them along on a satisfying emotional journey.
  • truth to the moment -- A great storyteller never tells a story the same way twice.Instead, he sees what is unique in each storytelling experience and responds fully to what is demanded. The context of the telling is always part of the story.
  • truth to the mission -- A great storyteller is devoted to a cause beyond self. That mission is embodied in his stories, which capture and express values that he believes in and wants others to adopt as their own. The story itself must offer a value proposition worthy of its audience.