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strategic leadership storytelling with Paul Smith

Strategic Leadership Storytelling: How to Tell a Great Story

by | Aug 19, 2015 | By Karin Hurt, Communication |

Use Strategic Storytelling to Make Your Message Memorable

Have you ever noticed how much easier is to remember someone’s point when they wrap a story around it? So why do so many leaders stick with dry PowerPoint presentations and yawner “motivational” pep talks when they could use strategic storytelling to make their message more meaningful?

strategic storytelling and other habits of successful virtual and hybrid teams

Learn more strategic storytelling techniques to use with your virtual or hybrid team.

How could you better use stories to galvanize your team toward stronger results? Do you know how to tell a great story?

This is the S.T.O.R.I.E.S. approach we share in our strategic storytelling workshops.

The next time you’re looking to use a story as part of your leadership communications, use this as a story framework as a guide.

The STORIES Approach to Telling a Great Story

S- Setting

  • Where were you?
  • Who was there?
  • Who’s telling the story?

T- Trouble

  • What happened?
  • How can you describe the tension in a memorable way?

O- Other

  • Who is the sage that intervenes?

R- Response

  • What did our hero do?

I- Interest

  • What makes this interesting?

E- Evaluation

  • What did they learn?

S- So what

  • What does that mean for us?

This leadership storytelling method works wonders to improve executive communication, and to enhance your 5×5 leadership communication plan. I see a HUGE improvement in the quality of participants’ stories after just a few hours in one of our strategic leadership programs. Strategic storytelling also has a significant team-building effect when teams go through this together– creating lasting bonds as teams reveal themselves in their stories.

Bonus: How to Tell a Strategic Story (Without Getting Laughed Out of the Room)

strategic storytelling with Paul Smith

Karin Hurt

Karin Hurt helps human-centered leaders find clarity in uncertainty, drive innovation, and achieve breakthrough results.  She’s the founder and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders, an international leadership development and training firm known for practical tools and leadership development programs that stick. She’s the award-winning author of four books including Courageous Cultures: How to Build Teams of Micro-Innovators, Problem Solvers, and Customer Advocates and Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results-Without Losing Your Soul and a hosts the popular Asking For a Friend Vlog on LinkedIn. A former Verizon Wireless executive, Karin was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. Karin and her husband and business partner, David Dye, are committed to their philanthropic initiative, Winning Wells – building clean water wells for the people of Cambodia.


  1. Steve Borek

    A great story brings the audience in. Most importantly, it bubbles up a myriad of emotions that changes your energy and the way you think.

    • Karin Hurt

      Steve, Ahh, yes. The emotional energy of stories is so vital.

  2. LaRae Quy

    Nice job Karin!

    I love your presentation!

    Lots of details, genuine, good/bad guy angle, overcoming the impossible…all great ingredients for a good story!

    It makes them think of their own story…even been in this situation? Thanks so much for sharing…

    • Karin Hurt

      LaRae, Thanks so much. That means so much coming from a masterstoryteller like you.

  3. James McKey

    As you probably recall, I’ve praised your storytelling more than once and asked for advice on how to be better myself. So thank you for this blog. I clicked the link to read it in the newsletter without any hesitation.

    What are your favorite books or videos that talk about being better storytelling? I know about your own storytelling publication here: https://www.td.org/Publications/TD-at-Work/2000/Storytelling

    • Karin Hurt

      James, You inspired me to share this video. I have a FREE webinar coming up with ATD in September (will share more details as soon as I have them)/


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