Storytelling Framework

Morph ideas into impactful, emotive stories to resonate with your audience.
Contributed by

Emilie Ilian

Bríd Mackey

Published August 23, 2023

What Is Storytelling Framework?

This framework will help you put together a story that will stick with your audience. And when your audience is your own team, or another team, it could make a key difference in the quality of your communication. Because ultimately, it is not your message or idea that matters… It is getting people to not just hear it, but to connect, care and remember it.

Why Do Storytelling Framework?

Ever wondered how to get your core message across to your audience in a way that will get their attention and make them care?

Do you want to create a common understanding within your team, or wish to share an important message with other teams?

Then this framework is for you. It will enhance your communication within your team, or between multiple teams, depending on who you wish to communicate with. You can use it alone, or craft a story as a team exercise, which helps create alignment behind the core message you wish to communicate to others.

The following practice is designed to help you:

  • articulate your core idea or message
  • gather facts, anecdotes and observations
  • frame the concept in a story
  • gauge the potential emotional journey of your audience.

How to do Storytelling Framework?

You can choose to use it in different ways:

  • You already have an idea or message which you believe needs to be shared with others? You are comfortable putting your story together alone, without help from anyone? Jump right into the framework alone, and use the structure to guide you!


  • Work on it as a team! This is for you if you work better brainstorming with a group. You have a topic you want to talk about and share, but you need peers to work with to generate the content for your story. Go through the template and fill it out together as the discussion flows! This is also a great option if you wish to craft a message as a team, and create alignment within your own team on what will be communicated.

Follow the 4 steps below to go through the framework:

Step 1: Build your story

Visualize your content by answering the following questions:

  • What ONE idea or message would you like to share? What should stick with people out of the entire communication?
  • What is your objective? What is the expected outcome of the communication? A change? A call to action?

Tip: if your sole objective is to inform, be aware that this will most likely lead to ineffective communication. Information only is not enough to make your audience care, and if they do not care, they will not remember it.

  • Who is your target? Who is your audience?
  • What data do you have that supports your idea / message? It can be quotes, analytics, references, etc.

Tip: keep your data short, or you risk losing your audience in the data, and your key message will not come across.

  • What are the challenges or obstacles that you face?
  • What story or experience can you share that supports your message? It can be professional or personal.

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Step 2: Design your telling

This is where you structure your content, defining up to 6 key sections. We recommend the following 6 key sections: Opening, Key Message, Change / Impact, Story, Data, Closing.

Pay attention to opening and closing sections, those are very memorable ones. Each section will turn into one or more slides in a presentation, for example, or section of an email or blog.

You can then add in each section the answers you provided in step 1.

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Step 3: Reflect the emotions

Now, put yourself in your audience's shoes and try to predict what kind of emotion your storytelling provokes at every moment.

Assign an emotional smiley to every section. For example, you could start your Opening with Curiosity, Surprise or Intrigue. And as you move through the section, you will want that emotion to vary, to reflect the emotional journey of the audience.

Ideally, you have multiple emotions along the way! Otherwise, it will be flat and less engaging. Use this to then adjust the tone you use in each section.

Keep in mind: only if your audience feels emotion will they care, and only if they care will they remember. Aiming for a specific emotional journey, and adjusting the tone of your content to that emotion, will be key to the success of your communication.

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Step 4: Make it tangible

If you plan to use images to illustrate your story, now is the time to reflect and map them to each section you created. This will already make your story more visual.

Those images can be very useful to guide the development of slides or videos. For example, are you going to use illustrations, or photographs? Minimalist icons, or black & white nature panoramas? This step can help you to decide which consistent look you want, and integrate it into the format you will use.

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Once you have all this mapped out, you can brainstorm on the best format or medium for your story. For example, is it a blog article, a short video, a podcast, a presentation in a call?

Considerations: Which medium best brings your story to life? Which way are people most likely to consume your story?

This will guide the final format of your communication, and how you will be sending it out.

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Once that decision is made, convert your content into the format you have decided on, and your story is ready to go out!

Happy storytelling!

Links we love

Check out these great links which can help you dive a little deeper into running the Storytelling Framework practice with your team, customers or stakeholders.

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