Humans are storytellers. Story arc is a simple template that helps you think about your journeys in a structured way, and wrap them into stories easily understood by others.
🔖 Table of contents
- 🔖 Table of contents
- 💡About the story arc
- ✂️ How to use it?
- 1. Capture your ideas
- 2. Structure your talking points
- 📚 Additional reading resources
💡About the story arc
In this template, we have simply grouped together a couple of structures to help you craft better stories. Human beings are wired to respond to storytelling. This template simply a way to structure your ideas in a compelling way, so that you can better tell the story of your life, career, projects, build conviction with others and achieve the outcomes you want.
✂️ How to use it?
1. Capture your ideas
Take this Notion page or a pen, and start writing down the talking points that you want to integrate in your story. Some guiding questions you can use:
- What is the story you want to tell?
- What is the objective of your story? What is it that you want your audience to take away? Is it an information? A feeling? A response to a request you want to make?
- What are the key elements of your story?
- Set the scene - What is the situation, the setup for your story?
- What is the setup, the task you took on?
- What are the actions you took?
- What is the final result of the story? The outcome you've contributed to?
- What are the twists and turns, the emotional components of your story? Most humans are wired to respond to vulnerability, so where appropriate, don't be afraid to reveal emotional aspects in your storytelling.
2. Structure your talking points
Take one of the following structure templates, and try fitting your talking points into it. Click the toggles to uncover the content.
Your life / project / startup story structure
This structure works great for telling a story of your life, your startup or any project you've been working on.
Template: Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.
This is what applying that template could look like in case of Tesla: People buy cars driven by internal combustion engines. But battery technology has gotten cheap enough that we can build a pure electric vehicle. It’s still fairly expensive, so we’ll start with luxury vehicles. As battery technology gets even cheaper, we’ll go down market. Until finally, we’ll transform the auto industry so that every car will be an electric car.
Structure for telling a story about your career journey
This is a good structure for communicating the story of your career or personal journey. Marissa Mayer has used this framework when having conversations at Yahoo early on in her career, to move between roles and seek new opportunities at the company. Template: I used to do X, now I’m going to do Y and by making this change I’m going to learn Z.
This is what applying that template could look like: I used to be a management consultant, which was very exciting - it taught me to work in highly dynamic environments with diverse groups of people, and helped me understand how to approach solving complex problems. I then felt the desire to get closer to implementation and do things my own way. That is why I started my own company, to learn hands-on skills and have skin in the game.
Structure for describing story of your achievements
This structure is particularly useful in job interviews or when you need to sell people on what you've achieved. STAR framework is a great way to structure your stories for this purpose.
- Situation: Set the scene and give the necessary details of your example.
- Task: Describe what your responsibility was in that situation.
- Action: Explain exactly what steps you took to address it.
- Result: Share what outcomes your actions achieved.