Telling Stories that Engage and Inspire

The 7 Steps of Great Stories

At the very simplest, a story is: A character, who wants something and overcomes obstacles to get it.

How can you develop better stories so that people stop and listen to you?

In this five minute story-board video I am going to share with you 7 elements that will make your stories more engaging and impactful.

Please leave a comment below and tell me what you think…

The real depth of any story is not whether the character achieves the goal but who they become as they face the obstacles along the path.

What are your favourite stories?  What role models do you have from books and film?


Can you tell me the way to Story Road (Read More…)


  • Looking forward to your comments, questions and reflections! 😉

  • bcassano

    This is great! Very simple outline for creating a story that engages the audience. A story isn’t just a bunch of facts in a row. This is a clear outline to tug at the emotional strings of what we are all seeking. An adventure. Thanks for the post!

    • Thank you Billy – how’s your own hero journey going? What part of the world are you writing from today?

      • bcassano

        The journey is going well. It is not without a bit of confusion and exciting twists and turns. I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Thinking more and more about serendipity and how to put ourselves in mindsets and environments that increase the chances of serendipitous moments to occur. Another reason why your post is well timed. 🙂

  • Archer

    Great video. It’s 4:28 here in Missouri and I love how simple you make story telling. I only wish I had the ability to engage a live audience as well as you. I’d love to tell a story that kept them focused on the details of the story and not the guy telling it. Thanks

    • Thanks Archer! What’s keeping you awake at 4:28 in Missouri? The sun is right up in the middle of a blue sky here in Barcelona today 😉

      • Up at 4:00 AM every day working on my side-hustle

  • Joël Francis Kremer

    The 7 steps highlighted remind me the MBA journey! Did I save the princess? May I have missed something, someone 🙂 thank you Conor. Amazing story and true facts!

    • hehe Joel – I like the comparison… MBA journey – hope, adventure, the obstacles… but what is the symbolic princess? 79 trusted friends who believe in you? A sense of self-validation and confidence to go back and pursue what you know to be the right thing to do? hmmm…

  • Naji Khodashenas

    Conor, I love the content you produce. Well designed, well prepared, and well presented. You tell the gist of the story very effectively and truly sincerely! Your “How to Start a Speech” on YouTube needs only 50K views to reach 1 million views!!! Right on, and Congratulations in advance on helping 1 million people to improve.

    • Thank you Naji. Your words of encouragement keep me on the good path!

  • Ineke Vermeulen

    Hey Conor, I didn’t have time to watch this until today – and in the mean time, I gave 2 internal trainings on using story for business to my colleagues. They loved it. But next time they ask, I’ll just give them this link. In under 6 minutes, you manage to not only explain what story is, but also bring home the value of story for business – and all with simple and effective visual support. I loved it – and I’m sure so will my colleagues!

    • Lleyam Bartholomew

      Hi Ineke — I loved it, as you guessed I would! — but please don’t stop giving your internal trainings. You added a lot of value to our action group meeting the other day. One thing that interests me in the context of what we’re doing is that we should be story-telling much more broadly, not just within the scope of our project but also looking at how we submit written content to prospect clients. I’d love it if our proposal writers had training in creative story-writing to bring differentiation and flair to the way we communicate. I tried to push this concept with a previous employer but they just couldn’t “get” it. Which is strange — because they were a media content producer!! — Lleyam

      • Ineke Vermeulen

        well Lleyam, you know that I am game for more such trainings internally – as many as we need in fact. Additionally, we can work with Conor if Atos wants to take this more seriously – which I do believe is the case

    • Thank you Ineke! It was fun to put together, but the intent was serious – to try to put some good structure around what good stories are made of. Lots of Joseph Campbell hero journey influences 😉

      • Ineke Vermeulen

        I noticed – I use Campbell a lot as well – and I actually also work with a copywriter who collaborates with McKee often – keep on posting these videos, they’re really valuable (because fun and informative)!

  • David M

    Hi Conor, excellent video, excellent quotes and excellent guidance for building up powrful stories. All the best. David