How to Construct a Story

By: Tori Berube, Director of Marketing & Outreach

Everyone has to tell a story sometime. Maybe it’s a formal business presentation to a customer. Maybe it’s pitching an idea to business colleagues or a supervisor. Maybe it’s a school assignment or report. Maybe, if you are a Morgan Franklin Fellowship Fellow, it’s the presentation for your capstone project.

We’ve been taught all stories or presentations should contain the 5 W’s: Who, What, Where, When and Why. We recently had the opportunity to talk with David Tirrell-Wysocki, a retired Associated Press newsman and former director of the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications, about the tools and techniques to help construct a story or presentation.

David shared four basic steps for constructing a story:

  •       Gathering your information. In this step, take a moment to understand what it is you want to communicate (and why) and who you want to communicate with (know your audience). If you are using interviews to gather your information, remember an interview is more than getting answers to a list of questions. It’s the opportunity for you to listen to the interviewee and ask follow-up questions.
  •       Organizing your information.  Think about what information or data you want to keep and what information isn’t key to your story.  (We love this special bonus tip Dave shared -use of a multi-colored pen or font color to categorize your information – or to emphasize what he terms “Oh Wow!” moments!)
  •       Preparing your information.  Refer back to the 5 W’s (and the “H” – How!) and develop your key two to three key points. Be clear in what you are trying to convey to your audience and show or tell them why this information matters! (Another bonus tip from Dave – “Communicate, don’t pontificate!”)
  •       Presenting the information.  Consider how you will be delivering your story. Do you need to think about technology? If you are presenting an electronic version of your story, only use highlights on the screen. Remember to re-state the important points at the end of your presentation.

Dave took the opportunity during his presentation to tell us many great stories with many more practical tips to use when writing. We hope you enjoy watching him!

A Journey to Personal Financial Independence
Standards of Financial Literacy (SFL), MFF’s signature program, supports the concept of personal financial freedom by giving participants of all ages the insight to set goals, track net worth and apply acquired knowledge. This online, self-paced program is ideal for individuals and groups alike.

Upon successful completion of SFL’s six-module course, participants become an MFF Fellow. Becoming an MFF Fellow is the ticket to access additional MFF courses and opportunities for mentoring, networking, internships and real-world projects. These are the opportunities which allow MFF Fellows to continue their journey to personal financial independence.

To learn more about this exciting program, click here.

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