What makes a great speech memorable and impactful is a great story. Stories make speeches, presentations, and videos more memorable as we are inclined to remember a story better than a straightforward monotonous block of text. Today, we’re diving into the fascinating world of the “5 C’s of Storytelling.”
It’s time to unlock the secrets of crafting captivating tales that will keep your audience on the edge of their seats. Get ready to elevate your storytelling game! Let’s get started!
Storytelling is an art that’s present in each conversation, everything we read, listen to, and watch. Every day, when you listen to a conversation in an elevator or talk to friends, family, and colleagues, or watch a movie, you indulge in storytelling.
Our personal lives are full of stories as we tell each other all the small and big anecdotes of our lives. But, when it comes to our business, we tend to steer clear of storytelling. In reality, storytelling is a crucial part of a business, whether your job involves convincing people, selling something, or grabbing attention.
Storytelling works great for individuals and organizations as it allows you to directly show the impact you or your organization has made on someone’s life.
A good story revolves around a real person who needs something that you or your organization provides while also sharing relevant and meaningful measurements that relate closely to how you’re fulfilling your mission.
Good storytelling helps actors perform better, musicians curate their music better, and public speakers deliver their speeches better.
If this makes you want to learn storytelling, know that there’s more to a good story than making sure you have a beginning, middle, and end. Unfortunately, a great story explained in the wrong way loses its meaning and can even confuse and cause the audience to disconnect.
The goal of a good story is to help you lead to a point or explanation indirectly.
Following are the 5 C’s of storytelling that help improve a story.
A good story has a sequence that usually happens in five parts that are called the 5 C’s of storytelling: Circumstance, Curiosity, Characters, Conversations, and Conflicts.
The circumstance is the first stage where you can establish your scene. It provides critical information to your story – when, where, and why. The context of your story will be covered in this section as you reveal why you’re telling this story, who it is about and where does it begin?
Your listeners will get all the information they need to connect with and picture the story you’re about to tell so it’s important to be thorough here.
Some people believe that Curiosity is the most important of the 5 C’s of storytelling. After all, this is where you draw your audience’s attention and keep them to your words. As people today want instant gratification and bite-sized information all the time, this is also one of the most challenging parts of storytelling.
As the term suggests, you’re supposed to build curiosity at this stage. It occurs when what the audience knows and what they want to know are separated by a valley of unknown.
Through storytelling, you can leverage the power of the unknown and reel them into your presentation. Once you establish curiosity successfully, your audience will give you their 100% attention to find out the answer to the unknown.
Humans love humans. We seek a human element in everything we come across. From brands to autobiographies, we want something that we can connect with. The power of connection and relativity is huge in storytelling. This is achieved by introducing characters.
The characters in your story don’t have to be all great, they just have to be personalities someone can relate to or want to be like. Once you help your audience find that connectivity within your story, you’re on your way to acing the art of storytelling.
Conversations – are something we all innately love. If your story can strike conversations, you’re already successful. To do so, your story should be about something that invokes emotions, people love talking about, or something share-worthy.
If you can strike the right cord between those emotions, people will remember your story as we are wired to value feelings more than words. If you can stoke their emotion correctly, they will make it a point to remember your words and more importantly want to repeat them to someone else.
No story is complete without a conflict. It’s the final stage in the 5 C’s of storytelling. Even though people try to avoid this, the best stories in history are the ones with a conflict, and the characters struggle to overcome it. The conflict can not just be any other problem, but something others can identify with.
Now that you know the building blocks – the 5 C’s of storytelling, you can use them to tell a compelling brand story, or for any other purpose. Ensure that the story should tie back to your or your organization’s vision, mission, or values. The ultimate aim of a story should be to bring your audience closer to your brand.
If you’re wondering how to apply these 5 C’s of storytelling or how they look in a story, the following is an example of a story using the 5C’s.
An aspiring actor named Lisa lives in London due to her job and dream of pursuing acting. She has an uncle back home in Australia who is sick. Lisa needs to go back and care for her sick uncle but she also doesn’t want to leave the job she loves.
Circumstance: A woman named Lisa is pursuing her dream but may need to leave it to take care of her sick uncle.
Characters: An aspiring actor/dreamer, and a sick family member.
Conflict: She needed to care for her sick uncle, but she doesn’t want to quit.
Curiosity: What will she do now? Will she quit her job? Will she stay in London?
Conversation: The relatability of this story will strike an emotion among the readers. It will lead to conversations about the characters and their lives.
Most people hate public speaking because they feel like they’re just reading words off a page. They don’t feel dynamic or alive. You can change all of that by learning how to inject storytelling into your speeches.
Storytelling may not be rocket science, but it needs a proper approach for one to succeed. Storytelling is one of the most powerful tools you have at your disposal as a speaker
You can easily learn to apply these 5 C’s of storytelling through our public speaking course that allows you to explore the dimensions of public speaking and emerge a great storyteller.
This online public speaking course will teach you everything you need to know about storytelling and public speaking. You’ll learn how to craft an experience that engages your audience and make a lasting impact on them. Enroll Today!
So, the next time you have a story to tell, make sure that it checks off all your C’s and makes an impact.
Storytelling is a skill that not many people possess, but all can benefit from. It’s not only for performers & artists, but anyone can reap the advantages of storytelling in the business and career arena. A great story goes beyond the beginning, middle, and end of the content; it reaches the hearts of the audience. If you wish to do so with your storytelling, learn about the 5 C’s of storytelling and make a difference with your words.
Jeremiah O’Brian is a faculty member at the USC School of Dramatic Arts. His exceptionally diverse background – from gritty nuts-and-bolts firefighting to film and theatre credits and accolades – is bolstered by his several graduate degrees.