Believe it or not, all great stories have something in common: they have a story structure or pattern. This recipe has been passed down for generations, lasting through the human oral tradition and into modern times.

I know how hard storytelling can be. As business storytellers, sometimes it’s easier to turn to a proven formula to tell your story, especially if you’re new to the world of brand storytelling.

9 steps to a great story

There are nine steps to creating the structure of your story, no matter your audience or niche.

These steps give your story logic and flow while naturally building tension and emotion. Use them to connect deeply with your audience while growing your business.

1. Set the scene

When does your story take place? Where is it located? You may need to introduce a few characters at this point, like yourself or your family, to set the scene.

2. Introduce the characters

If there are additional characters in your story, like a doctor or a friend, introduce them here if it makes sense. Sometimes you won’t need Step 2, depending on the story.

3. Begin the journey

Most journeys begin with a particular task or goal in mind. If your story is about a health journey, maybe this is the point where you realized you needed to see a doctor.

4. Encounter the obstacle

The obstacle is the point of your story that builds tension. This is the part where things got rough for you. For example, at this point you might have received a devastating health diagnosis, or you lose someone you love.

5. Overcome the obstacle

Every great story helps the listener celebrate your triumph. How did you overcome the obstacle? Who helped you along the way?

6. Resolve the story

This is where you wrap up the main plot points in the story. How did things turn out in the end?

7. Make the point

What did you learn after overcoming your obstacle? What’s the main takeaway from your story?

8. Ask the question

The best stories involve your listener. Turn it around and ask your listener a question. This is usually a hypothetical question that makes people realize your story relates to their life, too.

9. Restate the point

The point of a story is a call to action. Reiterate what you learned during your journey. This is also a good place to ask for listener action through a call to action.

Storytelling is innate to us as humans. However, sometimes we need a little help with structuring our stories. Use these nine steps to tell high-quality stories that communicate emotion and connect you with others.

Your story…to be continued