Skip to main content

There are nine types of stories that arouse people's interest, according to author and consultant Lois Kelly. On the How To Change The World blog, she advises when pitching to others - be it in customer advertising, proposals to investors, ideas to the media, or appeals to employees or partners - you should tap into the strong storylines that we are predisposed to enjoy:

David vs. Goliath

From the young Israelite David taking on the Philistine Goliath to Southwest Airlines battling the big airlines to social media assaulting the media giants, people like stories of how a small organization is challenging a big opponent. Rooting for the underdog invokes passions.

Story continues below advertisement

Aspirations and beliefs

More than any other topic, people like to hear about aspirations and beliefs. Aspirations can create an emotional connection, and allow people to gaze into your soul.

Personalities and personal story

Personal stories are a good way for executives to reach out to others. They are remembered, retold, and instilled into organizational culture.

Avalanche about to roll

This taps into our desire to get the inside scoop before it is widely known - and profit from it. This story is also ideal for viral marketing, as people like to share the latest buzz.

Contrarian/counterintuitive/challenging assumptions

Story continues below advertisement

These are similar, if somewhat different concepts, but they share the ability to grab attention and prod us to rethink assumptions, protecting ourselves from error.

Anxiety

Those advertisements warning baby boomers to invest more for retirement are an example of how companies can play to anxiety. But she warns us to go easy, as people are becoming skeptical of such fear-laden approaches.

Glitz and glamour

Our society seems addicted these days to glamour and celebrity, so you can latch onto a surefire conversation starter if you can link to something glitzy and glamorous, be it management wisdom from Harry Potter to an Angelina Jolie endorsement for your charity.

"How-to" stories and advice

Story continues below advertisement

People like pragmatic advice on how to solve problems, overcome obstacles, and find their next, best practices. To be interesting, how-to themes must be fresh and original, providing a new twist to what people already know or adding insight about thorny issues.

Seasonal/event related

You can tie your topic into seasonal or major events, such as the Grey Cup or Christmas.

Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Unchecking box will stop auto data updates
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Cannabis pro newsletter