Business woman speaking to an audience of professionals

Spirit-led coaches and leaders know the immense value of storytelling for their businesses. No one needs convincing of its power.

Yet, many coaches and entrepreneurs I work with often sense their stories can be more potent.

One of the challenges I often see when working with clients on their story is that they offer more background than needed.

Here’s an example to illustrate this point.

Two years into my business, my friend Bryan hit me with a harsh truth.

‘No offense,’ he said, ‘but your website sucks.’


I had spent more than a year perfecting my website, pouring hours into my WordPress masterpiece. His words pierced my pride and shattered it to pieces.

But you know what? As painful as it was to hear, Brian was right. He’s a web designer so I trusted his judgment. Even though my business was a high-quality, innovative, visual marketing agency, my website looked like a high school project.

Notice how she dives right into action, emotion, and specific details, making us feel her pain and frustration.

Who hasn’t felt like their website needed improvement at some point? She also taps into universal human needs: respect, achievement, and self-esteem.

In one paragraph, you get a clear sense of her character without her saying, “I strive for excellence and innovation.”

Now, let’s compare this to her original opening:

At almost two years into my business, I heard the words that no entrepreneur or business owner ever wants to hear: ‘No offense, but your website sucks.’ When my web designer friend Bryan said that to me, I winced in pain.

My pride took a big hit because it took me a good year and a half to get my website to a point I was happy with. Only to have someone insult the hours and hours of work I had put into my WordPress masterpiece. Not only did I build the site on my own, but I taught myself how to be a WordPress master — or so I thought. That one simple comment hurt a lot.

She’s conveying the same story, but there’s a noticeable difference. One version plunges us into the heart of the action with powerful metaphors, evoking immediate empathy. The other takes more time to build up, losing some of the initial impact.

I’ve made this mistake too because sometimes what we find relevant and interesting in our stories is not the same as what resonates for our audience.

We often want to provide all the background information right from the start. While details are crucial, you want to grab the audience’s attention from the start, then provide only the relevant details.

So, how can you avoid this common storytelling pitfall? Here are four tips:

Introduce Characters Immediately

In the story above, we meet Bryan before we even know much about the storyteller. Bryan’s honesty pulls us right into the narrative. If he had said something polite and generic, the impact wouldn’t be the same.

Start in the Middle of the Action

While stories need a beginning, middle, and end, they don’t have to unfold in chronological order. What matters most is connecting emotionally with your audience from the start. Think of a moment that will grab their attention and hook their emotions.

One of my favorite opening lines comes from Hunter S. Thompson’s “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”:

We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold.

It immediately tells you that you’re in for a wild ride.

Include Only What Matters to Your Audience

Don’t bury the lede, as they say in journalism. In other words, spare your audience of unnecessary details. Get to the point that matters most to them.

Show, Don’t Tell

Use specific moments, sensory details, and powerful metaphors to paint a vivid picture in your audience’s mind.

Follow these tips to create authentic connections with stories that turn your audience into clients.


Ready to communicate boldly, lead lovingly, and make the world a better place without hiding and silencing yourself?

Take the Business Communication Assessment, then speak with Gayle, to gain clarity on what you need to create authentic connections, healthy business relationships, and a thriving business.

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