Storytelling Tip: Don’t Let Facts Get in the Way


Storytelling Tip: Don’t Let Facts Get in the Way
Today’s tip from JerryBrownPR’s Tips for Telling Your Story on the Experience Pros Radio Show
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By Jerry Brown, APR
Public Relations Counsel

Storytelling Tip: Don't Let Facts Get in the WayOne of the first lessons I learned as a journalist was never to let the facts get in the way of a good story.

It’s a lesson you should keep in mind when telling your story, too. In fact, it’s a rule every good storyteller knows. And follows.

It’s not about playing fast and loose with the truth.  Far from it.  Being honest with your audience is important.  It’s about knowing what to include when you tell your story — and, equally important, what to leave out.

A good story is interesting and memorable.  It has a message.  And it has a narrative — a beginning, middle and end designed to get your audience to pay attention long enough to hear what you have to say and understand and remember your message once they’ve heard it.

What should go into your story?  You need to answer several other questions to answer that one:  Why are you telling your story?  What do you want to happen as a result of telling it?  That’s your objective.  Who’s your audience?  What will they want to know?  What do you want them to know?  If you want them to do something, how do you motivate them to do it?

Once you know the answers to those questions, craft a message — make it short enough to remember — that will tell your audience what you want them to know or persuade them to do what you want them to do.  Then build the rest of your story around that.

Humans have been telling stories to communicate with one another since prehistoric times.  We all know a good story when we hear one.  So, why do so many of us have trouble telling our story?  The two main reasons are too much information and being too self-serving in what we say.

A good story has enough information to be credible and tell us what we want to know without being so bogged down in facts that we miss your message and forget what you said.

People often pile so many facts into their stories that they forget to tell the story.  They let the facts get in the way of the story.  Include enough facts to make your story credible and to give your audience the information they really need.  But don’t get so bogged down in facts that your story feels like nothing more than a compilation of facts.

Make your story interesting or, better yet, useful to the rest of us.  But skip the purely self-serving stuff.  You’re the only one who cares about that.

That’s my two cents’ worth.  What’s yours?


Jerry Brown, APR, is a public relations professional and former journalist. He specializes in helping clients develop the content they need to tell their stories. He also helps them develop strategies for getting their stories heard, understood and remembered. And he provides media training and presentation coaching for clients who need to tell their stories to reporters or in front of an audience. 303-594-8016 |

Listen to Jerry’s Tips for Telling Your Story every Tuesday at 11:05 a.m., Mountain Time, on the Experience Pros radio show on KLZ 560AM in Denver or at on the Internet.

  1. Good idea, Jerry. It’s easy to get caught up in all the details and lose your audience as you’re trying to make your point!

  2. I do accept as true with all the concepts you’ve offered in your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too brief for novices. May you please prolong them a bit from next time? Thank you for the post.

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