How to spot a story – a simple story framework: Infographic

Posted by  Shawn Callahan —September 26, 2014
Filed in Business storytelling

With so much talk about business storytelling you’d think business people were telling more stories.

Sadly we see lots of people talking about stories but very few telling them. And quite frankly, you just don’t get the benefits of storytelling unless you are telling a story.

Part of the problem is that business people lack a simple story framework to help them spot stories so they can tell the difference between a story and just a tag line, or an assertion, a viewpoint or just an out of context, unemotional, barely understandable dot point.

So here’s an infographic you can pin to your wall or save to your smart phone that gives you some simple guideposts to help you spot stories.

And once armed with this knowledge you’ll no longer be lulled into accepting any old brand story, product story, strategic story or even a strategic narrative (which of course is a type of story) unless it’s really a story.

Click on the image below to see a larger view:

story framework

Click here to view an enlarged version of this infographic.

Share this Infographic on your site with this embed code

Oral storytelling

We designed this simple story framework with oral storytelling in mind. I guess that’s because most of our work involves helping leaders tell their stories, off the cuff and without Powerpoint.

A big part of being able to tell stories is your ability to find good ones to tell. If you don’t have the ability to spot a story it’s like stamp collecting without knowing what a stamp looks like. When you rock up to the stamp show and display your collection of beer coasters you look a little foolish.

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. Stuart Reid says:

    Hi Shawn – I really like the new graphic. You’ve simplified the first step and made ‘has a business point’ as prominent as the other steps (I think it was easily overlooked in the older version).

    I really like how you are continuing to refine and streamline how you communicate the approach. ‘Sharpening the saw’ as Covey might have said…


    1. Thanks Stuart.

  2. Cristina Marras says:

    Love the stamps/beer coasters analogy, it visualised in front of me and made me smile and worry a little for the poor chap.

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