A mass shooting occurred in California. The hard facts—the casualty numbers—were widely shared. But Americans wanted to know… Who? Why? What’s the story?
The U.S. banking industry had a meltdown in 2008. Houses were lost, jobs were lost, money was lost. What’s the story? A movie opening this month called The Big Short attempts to explain what happened. It’s a complex tale, but it presents those events through the personal stories of those who were close to the action.
A chef appears on TV showing off a special dish. It looks good. The host asks the chef, “What’s the story?” How did he come up with the dish? He tells his story about a trip to Tuscany and a restaurant owner named Antonio who invited him into his kitchen where he shared family secrets.
A reporter interviews a hospice owner who shares the basic facts about this specialized type of care. The reporter asks, “What’s the story?” Why did you start this organization? Her story reveals that her dad’s hospice care years before had been sub par and she thought she could do better.
What’s the story on… chicken jugs? In his obit in yesterday’s New York Times, Williams Sonoma founder Chuck Williams is quoted as saying, “I’ve always been attracted to items that have an interesting story to them.” That’s why he stocked jugs shaped like chickens!
When sharing information, a story gives life to simple statements of fact. Having an interesting story is a good. Telling that story in a manner that compels an audience to listen (or watch or read) closely is even better.
(Next post January 11. Have a nice holiday season!)