The Five Rules

1. Always tell the truth

2. Every story is an experience

3. Every story has a hero

4. Every hero has a goal

5. Every hero must meet obstacles

Why truth?
Because in an age of information overkill,
truth is rare.
(And in business, it’s even rarer.)
Why experience? 
Because the audience must connect and be
transformed.
(And in business, it’s always about the prospect, and WIIFM
– “What’s in it for me”?)
Why a hero? 
Because someone must drive the story.
(And in business, the customer is usually the one driving
the bus.)
Why a goal? 
Because the audience must always feel there’s a
finish line.
(And in business, why spend money communicating if you
don’t want something?)
Why obstacles? 
Because nothing worthwhile – in business or
life – comes without a struggle.

The following are two excellent references that helped deepen my understanding of the rules of good storytelling. I was influenced by the first book a long time ago, the second much more recently.

1. The Hero’s Journey (Joseph Campbell)

2. The Elements of Persuasion (Richard Maxwell and Robert Dickman)