Let the Story do the Work


Imagine a panel discussion or similar event. “Introduce yourself,” the host says.

“Most likely, [our] introduction is full of facts,” writes Esther Choi in Let the Story Do the Work. We follow the basic chronological order of our life. We start with where we’re from, add in something about our education credentials, and then share a bit of our work history. 

1: These types of introductions often fall flat … continue reading

1: When someone asks Esther Choi what she does for a living, she responds with a one-word answer. “Storytelling,” she says.

She’s setting the hook. Raising her audience’s curiosity and desire to know more. “A fishing hook helps you capture fish,” Esther writes in Let the Story Do the Work. “A conversational hook helps you capture the attention and imagination of other people.” A good hook typically involves an … continue reading

So far this week, we’ve looked at the power and impact we can have by doing simple drawings as part of our presentations.  

Esther Choi calls them “StoryPictures” which are “easily one of the most straightforward, natural, and cost-effective ways to amplify the power of [our] message,” she writes in her book Let the Story Do the Work.

“The best way to communicate a StoryPicture, perhaps ironically, is to … continue reading

Shivani’s brother and sister-in-law made the trip from San Francisco to Chicago to visit. Her sister-in-law Susan was pregnant, but she wasn’t due for another ten weeks. The expectant parents figured they had plenty of time for a final family visit.

They were wrong. Susan was rushed to the hospital for an emergency C-section.

“The baby girl was born and taken immediately to the NICU,” Esther Choi writes in her … continue reading

1: “If you get your visual on the whiteboard, it dominates the meeting,” comments Northwestern Professor Steve Franconeri in Esther Choi’s Let the Story Do the Work.

When we learn how to anchor our presentations with solid visuals, we dramatically increase our effectiveness as communicators.

As human beings, we all have five senses, but “more than 50 percent of the cortex, the surface of the brain, is devoted to … continue reading

1: This week, we’ve been exploring takeaways from Esther Choy and her book Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success.

Today, we focus on putting these lessons to work.

For any presentation or conversation where we want to persuade, we start with the action we want to happen. “Truth be told, the ending—the takeaway—is most important,” Esther tells us. We ask ourselves: “If … continue reading

1: Esther Choy was excited about moving into a new house and hired an interior designer.

Unfortunately, there was a disconnect between them, she shares in her book Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success.

When Esther would ask a question about delivery dates or pricing, the designer would provide lots of information: “I went to the supplier’s work room and inquired about … continue reading

1: “Stabilize the patient” is good advice in the Emergency Room and in any situation where our goal is to persuade a person or group to take action.

For example, mediators are taught to acknowledge each party at the start of the mediation process. Just as “patients need to be stabilized immediately, before any diagnostic or treatment procedures,” writes Esther Choy in Let the Story Do the Work, “likewise, … continue reading

1: As business professionals, we’ve been trained how to prove our point.  To win the day, we are taught to find the right data and evidence to support our desired outcome. 

“Proving is mustering the strongest analytical processes and evidence to support your conclusion,” writes Esther Choy in Let the Story Do the Work: The Art of Storytelling for Business Success.

There is, however, a powerful complement to “proving” … continue reading