How to segue to a story

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —February 17, 2009
Filed in Business storytelling

When I teach storytelling techniques I’m often asked, “So how do I insert my story into the conversation?” The funny thing is we are all doing it all the time. We are mostly telling each other stories about what happened or what will happen. It’s only when we become self-conscious of our storytelling efforts that we freeze and it feels abnormal. To get past this paralysis the first step is to forget about stories and only think of examples and experiences. You have an example or you are recounting an experience. It’s simple. It’s natural.

Today I spent the afternoon with Viv McWaters and had a lovely time talking about ways to get people to experience business storytelling in a workshop environment. More on that later. But we also talked about the ways people segue into a story. Here are some ways people do it:

  • Let me tell you about a time when …
  • Here’s an example that really illustrates my point …
  • I’ve seen this work over there …
  • I remember when …
  • Let me tell you about a group who …

Of course an effective way is just to launch into your story but avoid prefacing it with, “I’ve got this great story to tell you …”

Can you suggest other ways to move from facts and opinions into a story in a business context?

About  Shawn Callahan

Shawn, author of Putting Stories to Work, is one of the world's leading business storytelling consultants. He helps executive teams find and tell the story of their strategy. When he is not working on strategy communication, Shawn is helping leaders find and tell business stories to engage, to influence and to inspire. Shawn works with Global 1000 companies including Shell, IBM, SAP, Bayer, Microsoft & Danone. Connect with Shawn on:


  1. Eva Schiffer says:

    This is an interesting question. I work in an intercultural context and have found that “Where I come from…” can open the door to a whole lot of interesting stories about how people might benefit from changing perspectives. It’s especially valuable because it can go beyond me wanting to tell my story and can lead into a discussion that integrates other people’s experiences about how things are done in different cultural contexts and what strategies we might want to adopt from these different places to solve the problem at hand.

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