Have you ever wondered how to craft a story?  What about for impact and effectiveness?

Stories provide a way for you to provide value to your audience and highlight your expertise.

Below are the tips I have shared with clients when crafting and creating an effective and impactful story:  the formats, the ratio and the next steps.


The Format

There are my 3 super simple story formats I have created to easily craft a story.

FORMAT 1 – Problem, Solution, Benefit

This format is good for known problems or issues that exist. Often involves just a few items.

FORMAT 1 Name FORMAT 1 Description
COMPONENT 1 Problem Describe the problem or issue
COMPONENT 2 Solution Describe the steps, the reasons to resolve the issue
COMPONENT 3 Benefit Share the benefits the solution provided


FORMAT 2 – Before, Gap, After

This approach is good for describing a situation or scenario before and after.  Often involves multiple items.

FORMAT 2 Name FORMAT 2 Description
COMPONENT 1 Before Describe the scenario before the situation was changed
COMPONENT 2 Gap Describe the gaps, or items that were fixed, plugged, resolved to get to the after state
COMPONENT 3 After Share the benefits of the “after”


FORMAT 3 – Event, Approach, Lesson Learned

This format is good for when an unplanned event occurs.

FORMAT 3 Name FORMAT 3 Description
COMPONENT 1 Event Describe the event and why it happened
COMPONENT 2 Approach Describe the approach, your methodology or system to fix it
COMPONENT 3 Lessons Learned Share the lessons learned after the approach was applied


The Ratio

The amount of time you have to tell the story will impact how much you spend on each of the components of the story formats.


What Is The Ratio?

I have created a ratio to use as a guideline, it is 20:40:40.

That means that  20% of time is spent on component 1, 40% of time is spent on component 2, and 40% of time is spent on component 3.



How Do You Use The Ratio?

The ratios represent the percentage of time to commit for each component.

For example, the Components for Format 1 (Problem, Solution, Benefit) formula for a 2, 10 or 30 minutes. The amount of time for each component would break down as follows:

PROBLEM 24 seconds 2 minutes 6 minutes
SOLUTION 48 seconds 6 minutes 12 minutes
BENEFIT 48 seconds 6 minutes 12 minutes


The Next Steps

Sometimes called the “Call To Action” or CTA. This is the approach and often the last line of the story.


It is sometimes the “feeling” or experience you want them to have.


What do you want your audience to think, feel or do as a result of hearing your story?


They may think back on their life, think they are on the right track, think they need to get healthy.

They may feel motivated, happy or hopeful.

They may want to call you, talk to a friend, or volunteer for a cause.