The Power of Storytelling: How to Hook Your Audience

Stories have been used to educate people since forever. Know how to use this powerful method to broaden your influence.


A powerful method to gain people’s trust, establish credibility, and connect with others is by storytelling. Storytelling comes naturally to everyone. And people are whipped for a good story. With this, thought leaders should know how to use this method to increase their influence and impact others. Learn how to effectively incorporate storytelling into your strategy in this guide, where we cover:

  • Significance of storytelling
  • Storytelling in leadership
  • Elements of a good story
  • Five ways to hook your audience with your story

If you've got a story to tell, don’t keep it to yourself. Who knows how many people will get inspired, motivated, encouraged, and educated with what you have to share. 


When we hear storytelling, we picture children flipping through the pages of a fairy tale, looking at the pictures with awe and wonder, and going through the story with hope and excitement for a happy ending. 

The thing is, everyone loves a good story. 

Some stories keep us on the edge of our seats. Some make us feel things. Other stories give us hope, inspiration, and renewed sense of perspective. 

Want to wrap people around your finger? Tell a story.

For centuries, stories have been used for educational purposes. 

Storytelling is a powerful way to evoke emotions, pique curiosities, and arouse imagination. 

This is a method that many leaders have used to widen their reach and expand their influence. 

Significance of Storytelling 

Storytelling is an intimate way to connect with your audience. When you share a story, your audience gets involved. They anticipate what happens. They look forward to the ending. It’s as if going through the ups and downs with you. 

This is because storytelling and listening is a two-way process. There’s some sort of brain connectivity that happens between the person sharing the story and the people listening to the story. 

When you share a story, you get to: 

  • Present a fresh perspective to people
  • Share with people your very own experience
  • Relay to people your expertise in a creative manner
  • Give people practical advice and tips 
  • Connect with people on an emotional and physical level

Neuroeconomist Dr. Paul Zak shares that “compelling narratives cause oxytocin to be released in the brain, which affects our attitudes, beliefs and behaviors.”  This is why storytelling is a powerful way to leave a mark in people’s lives. It’s a powerful way of influencing and impacting other people’s lives. 

But telling a story that is significant, that sparks change, and triggers emotions will require you leveraging on two things that are uniquely yours: your storytelling skill and your story per se.

Storytelling in Leadership

Incorporating storytelling requires a leader to look inside themselves and be open about topics that are relatable to employees. By being honest about overcoming struggles, leaders can inspire employees and create a unified vision throughout the company.” 

There’s something about opening up and showing vulnerabilities that makes leaders more relatable, approachable, if not more human. It shows that behind their present titles or roles, they too encountered hurdles in their journey, to get to where they are now. 

By telling personal stories, leaders can spur employees to work harder and focus on their goal. 

Leaders can also use stories to solidify abstract concepts or ideas. It’s a good way to explain complex terms or ideas in a simpler, more engaging way.

Also, stories are a good way to unite people. Our experiences may differ in one way or another, but still there are stories that we can relate to, that we can resonate with. When this happens, we get to empathize with the person telling the story, and with other people who feel the same. 

Elements of a Good Storytelling

A good story is not just about having a problem and a solution. Here are some elements to take into account: 

  • Know your audience. When you know who you’re speaking to, you’d know the speaking or writing style to go for. You can change your verbiage, the terminologies, metaphors that you utter and make it more apt for your audience. 
  • Determine the purpose of your story. You’re not sharing a story just for the sake of sharing a story. Don’t do it for narcissistic motives. Be purposeful. Do you want your story to motivate people? Inspire them? Is it for precautionary measures? Is it to provide information? 
  • Create an outline for your story. No matter how interesting you are, if your story seems to not be going anywhere or your train of thoughts is all over the place, don’t expect people to keep listening or reading what you have to say. Incohesive thoughts and blabbering too much can result in a haywired story that no one would bother listening to. 
  • Choose the medium for your story. There are different ways to tell a story. You can share your story in writing through blogs or newsletters. It can be through audio by podcasting, or video by Youtubing or creating reels for Tiktok or Instagram. It can be through speaking, think Ted Talk, where people are gathered in a panel or presentation. Choose the medium that you’re most comfortable doing, but don’t close doors in trying out other forms of media in the future.  
  • Have a call-to-action. What do you want your audience to do after they read or listen or watch your story? Align your call-to-action to the purpose of your story. 

Five Ways to Hook Your Audience with Your Story

Everyone has a story to tell. It comes naturally for all of us. 

However, storytelling is an artform in itself, and it being an art, it requires skill. 

Here are a few ways you can hook your audience in and keep them engaged with your story:

  • Entice your audience. People’s attention span is getting shorter by the minute. Your goal should be to entice people to listen to you, make them curious, and be interesting enough to retain their attention. 
  • Have a commanding voice. Speaking clearly and with the right volume, pitch, and speed would help you retain your listeners’ attention, if you’re sharing your story verbally. Speaking from the heart matters. People will notice if you’re trying too hard or not being yourself, and it has the tendency to become a major turn off.  
  • Magnify the problem. One way to get people’s attention is to go straight to the conflict or problem of the story.  Use analogies and paint a clear picture of what happened. Emphasize the consequences that come with it. 
  • Share the solution. Once you’ve shared the problem and the consequences or aftermath, go directly to how you resolved it. Don’t beat around the bush. Again, you want to make every second of people’s listening experience worthwhile. 
  • Finish off with a word of encouragement.  Your realizations and learning would be the best takeaway that you can leave your audience. But aside from people taking some learning from your story, you would want them to take action. Stimulate them to do something. 

As storytelling is a skill, don’t expect to nail it right away. Practice leads to improvement. 

Just be authentic and share your story without pretensions. It’s in the details. 

Take from the late Steve Jobs. He became one of the most famous dropouts in history. Why? Because despite being a dropout, he managed to establish one of the most successful technological companies in the world. 

His story is inspirational, engaging, and aspirational.

There’s a reason why you go through what you go through. And maybe for it to become powerful testimonials that can help you expand your borders and make a difference in the lives of others.

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