A hook. A build. A payoff.

There’s a lot of talk about storytelling and the importance of a strong strategic narrative for engaging employees in an organisation’s purpose. From us here at Woodreed as much as the next man.

If you’re struggling to get to grips with it here are some simple pointers from the master of advertising communication, Dave Trott. First quoting from Steven Pressfield’s book “Nobody wants to read your shit”. Pressfield has written ads, screenplays and novels and writes about storytelling – so he knows a thing or two. Here is an extract with the key points.

What are the universal structural elements of all stories?

1) Hook

2) Build

3) Payoff

This is the shape any story must take.

1) A beginning that grabs the listener.

2) A middle that escalates in tension, suspense, stakes, and excitement.

3) An ending that brings it all home with a bang.

That’s a novel, that’s a play, that’s a movie, that’s a joke, that’s a seduction, that’s a military campaign.

It’s also your TED talk, your sales pitch, your Master’s thesis, and the 890-page true saga of your great-great-grandmother’s life.

Trott makes the point that if you haven’t got 1), 2) and 3) you’ve got nothing.

If you don’t have a hook you won’t grab people, they won’t stop and read, so everything else is irrelevant.

And it works that way for a very simple reason.

Because that structure is how the human mind works.

You can read Mr Trott’s blog in full here.

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