Don’t Like Top 10 Lists? Tell a Story Instead

Stories Target the Mind

Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it.
~Hannah Arendt

Storytelling is the most powerful way to put ideas into the world today.
~Robert McKee

It’s all storytelling, you know. That’s what journalism is all about.
~Tom Brokaw

If you tell me, it’s an essay. If you show me, it’s a story.
~Barbara Greene

Don’t say the old lady screamed—bring her on and let her scream.
~Mark Twain

It’s not the college degree that makes a writer. The great thing is to have a story to tell.
~Polly Adler

A song ain’t nothin’ in the world but a story just wrote with music to it.
~Hank Williams, Sr.

Stories are the single most powerful weapon in a leader’s arsenal.
~Howard Gardner, Harvard University

Stories tell us of what we already knew and forgot, and remind us of what we haven’t yet imagined.
~Anne Watson

You have to understand, my dears, that the shortest distance between truth and a human being is a story.
~Anthony de Mello

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Comments

  1. I love the use of other people’s quotes to tell your own story.

    Very effective. Also, it’s very good advice. Thanks!

  2. Great post….stories are great ice breakers in face-to-face conversation — it just makes too much sense not to do the same in the online medium.

  3. Very True, Mason! It’s amazing what a famous person’s name will do behind a point you’re trying to get across!

  4. I agree. Stories draw the readers in and help you to build rapport with them. All copywriters are story tellers. Well, they ought to be!

  5. So, just so we’re all clear, that was a top 10 list of quotes about storytelling, directed to people who don’t like top 10 lists, right?

    Clever.

  6. You’re a very clever man Mr Clark, and I’m sure it made for a quick entry, very useful non-the-less

  7. Top 10 lists might help you capture someone’s attention.

    A good story might help you to capture a reader’s loyalty.

  8. This is very comforting to know. After reading all these blogging blogs, I was beginning to think that the only way to write successful posts was to do it in list format. Not a very easy task for my particular niche.

    Really, the story element in posts are my bread and butter. If I didn’t write in story form, the content would be incredible dry and boring.

    Though a relatively small blog right now, I can see that people are drawn into my stories through the stickiness of the site. The stats show people moving from one story to the next and actually sticking around for quite some time.

    Thanks, it’s nice to now that good old fashioned story telling is worthy enough for the blogosphere.

  9. Great post and I’ll apologize now for one of those quotes I’m gonna steal and use.

    Many thanks.

  10. Thanks! I tend to be turned off by too many lists. Quotes always get my attention.

  11. A story is more engaging I believe than just a list. A reader might more likely remember a story because of the natural emotions that a story produces – as Carl W. Buechner said, “They may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel.”

  12. “All copywriters are story tellers.”

    Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Only the good ones are. But, you’re right, all of them ought to be.

  13. I liked the post but couldn’t help but chuckle that it consisted of a list of quotes. :) Maybe the tip is, if you don’t like lists, just exclude the numbers, lol.

  14. Nice point. I’m always nagging my clients to embrace stories instead of proof points and message architectures and all the other stuff that passes for communication. Having said that lists seem to work well for parts of of our brain that aren’t touched by stories.

  15. I never doubted for a second that you all would catch that it was a list of 10 quotes. I’m just thankful that you all put up with my perverse sense of humor. ;)

  16. The way customers come to an impasse is likely a story in itself. If you can retell the right story that a customer can identify with, and that story ends with your product or service creating a happy ending. Well, that right there is a little bit of magic, isn’t it?

    Sounds easy. Good thing we know better.

  17. Looks like a list to me?

    I enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the good work.
    Great blog layout….one of the best I have seen.

    Brent

  18. It’s a list, Brian, but it’s a list that tells a story =)

  19. Everyone loves a good story… it makes the point and can do so in such a beautiful and elegant way

  20. Stories are totally different than posts.Sometimes they might be boring to readers.

  21. that is a great reminder, but i guess the difficulty comes with finding good stories to tell….. ;)

  22. The joke of this post was not entirely lost on me, but I didn’t give it its full due, that’s for sure.

    If only the other day’s post about lists had been one long anecdote…

  23. Brian, I am insanely jealous of your comment count. Where do you get the wonderful quotes? I just google for mine.

    The hard thing about storytelling is figuring out if the story is 1, necessary, and 2, really good enough to print?

  24. I couldn’t agree more. Stories are the way to go.

  25. Very good advice, as well as the rest on the website, thanks for the tips.

  26. I just wanted to pick up on Sundeep’s point (#20) that stories can sometimes be boring. I wonder if this is because some people interpret “story-telling” as a license to be long-winded and waffly. Or crammed with personal detail that doesn’t connect with a reader’s perspective.

    The same rules of writing apply in stories – perhaps more so if you’re to hold your readers’ attention. Make it relevant. Leave room for the message to shine through. No more words than necessary. Etc.

    Joanna

  27. Hey,

    Great story. I’d like to know where you get those beautiful graphic. They are very impressive.

  28. Thanks for the Top Ten quotes on storytelling. They are perfect to add to my collection. A sneaky yet genius way to avoid a list. When is a list not a list?

    In defense of lists though, I like them for their direct, to-the-point exchange of info. I can read a list faster than a story.

  29. I personally like what Mark Twain said – bring her on and let her scream!

    Brilliant Mark Twain!