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QuickBite: The Number One Ingredient in Business Stories That Captivate

Do you want your stories to be more captivating? Do you want your listeners to be engrossed, waiting and wondering how your story is going to end? If so, you want to include in your stories one vital element – conflict.


Conflict isn’t the only element necessary in compelling stories, but it is the one many people leave out. And that’s a bad thing!


You see, conflict creates interest. It interrupts an otherwise smooth progression. And that’s a good thing! Without conflict, your stories are boring.


For more than 100 years, Hollywood has drawn people into cinemas with tried-and-true love stories where boy meets girl; boy loses girl, boy gets girl … or variation on that theme. Would movie-goers be happy sitting through 115 minutes of boy meets girl, boy gets girl? Usually not. There has to be some tension to heighten interest.


So, what does conflict look like? Well, there are two kinds of conflict – internal and external. Sticking with the boy meets girl theme, the internal conflict could be that the girl just got out of a long-term relationship and is cautious about quickly getting into another one, even though she is attracted to the boy.


An external conflict could be that the girl has the opportunity to accept a promotion, but it requires moving across the country, which will end her fledgling relationship.


You might be thinking, “That’s Hollywood. What about business?” Well, storytelling can be used in business presentations, and more often than not, it should be.


Here’s an example of how conflict can be used in a business story: A salesperson made a large sale, but he was going to lose it because his company couldn’t deliver the raw materials on time. So, even though he was frustrated because his commission would take a hit, he offered the buyer a discount if they would wait for delivery, which they did.


Another example is telling the story of why you invented a product. This would be useful when being interviewed or pitching to investors. The bones of the story might be … I needed to solve a problem, but with were no easily-accessible, reasonably-priced options, I decided to develop a solution. However, I lost my confidence after failing several times. Then, with encouragement from family and friends, I created a solution that will revolutionize the industry.


Crucial words to remember when crafting stories include: but, however, then, and so. They help highlight the conflict and ensuing resolution.


If you’re not doing so already, add conflict to your stories. See the difference it makes in engagement and comprehension.