How can you learn to be a better storyteller?

Storytelling is a fundamental part of being human

It might even be the reason for the evolution of language!

We all grow up hearing and telling stories…

So, like writing, we assume it’s easy…

But honing this skill is what separates top brands and leaders from the rest!

Great storytelling requires a deep understanding of human psychology, desires and emotions.

Great stories connect with you, they create a response, and bring you closer to the storyteller…

And if that storyteller is a brand?

Then they bring you closer to buying the product!

So, how can you learn to be a better storyteller?

By studying the best… Pixar!

They’ve got the proof — 23 Oscars, and over 10 Golden Globes and Grammys!

Fun fact: Steve Jobs became a billionaire NOT with Apple, but when he sold Pixar to Disney for $7 billion, AND became Disney's largest individual shareholder with a 7% stake!

Emma Coats, Pixar’s Story Artist, wrote a series of tweets detailing Pixar's 22 Rules of Storytelling.

These are some of my favorites:

1. Great Stories have Great Structure

Starting on a blank page can be daunting. But it doesn’t have to be.

Pixar uses this winning formula for most of their films:

Once upon a time there was ___. Every day, ___. One day ___. Because of that, ___. Because of that, ___. Until finally ___.

You should too!

2. Discover Your Purpose

As you’re looking for inspiration, it’s tempting to steal ideas from others.

Do it…

But only if you can answer these questions:

Why must you tell THIS story? What’s the belief burning within you that your story feeds off of? That’s the heart of it.

3. Stop Showing Off — Show you Tried

Everyone online is always trying to oversell themselves.

And while that does have its place, no one enjoys arrogance!

You admire a character for trying more than for their successes.

People like rooting for the underdog, the person fighting against all odds, trying to overcome unending obstacles…

… the rag to riches story, the college dropout, the stay-at-home mom who launched an empire.

Be that unexpected hero. Not the villain in power.

4. Avoid the Obvious

Discount the 1st thing that comes to mind. And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th — get the obvious out of the way. Surprise yourself.

We have this thing at TCF called 3 Idea Day…

But recently we changed it to 10 Idea Day.


It’s easy to come up with 3 bad ideas… but when you have to come up with 10, you’ll really get your creative juices flowing!

5. Perfect is the Enemy of Done

How often have you delayed publishing something — or not publishing it at all — because it ‘wasn’t quite ready’?

There’s always things to tweak. But as Pixar says:

Putting it on paper lets you start fixing it. If it stays in your head, a perfect idea, you’ll never share it with anyone.

So, what’s your story?

Put it on paper today!

There are another 17 rules, which you definitely should check out here.

And let me know — with a quick reply — which ones are you planning on using today?

Do you use any of them already?