Checklist and Resources for Strategic Storytelling

This post complements the blog article “How Strategic Leaders Use Storytelling”.

Storytelling ChecklistStorytelling Checklist | Strategic Thinking

Even if you are a gifted storyteller, considering the following checklist may be useful. Sharing stories in the pub with friends is not the same as sharing stories with other executives and employees for strategic purposes. Thus, a systematic approach to strategic storytelling is advisable, especially if you do not have much experience with it yet.

1. Story Selection

  • Define your main message
  • Decide what you want the audience to think and do
  • Search for a relevant story from your personal experience
  • If you do not have a personal story, look for alternatives:
    folktales, news, anecdotes

2. Crafting the Story

Define the following elements of your story:

  • Subject appropriate to topic and audience
  • Main character/ hero
  • Main goal of the hero
  • Obstacles keeping the hero from achieving his goal
  • Actions of the hero to overcome the obstacles
  • Final outcome
  • Lessons to be learned from the story

3. Refining the Story

  • Use metaphors and analogies
  • Appeal to emotion to make the audience care
  • Make it concrete and realistic
  • Avoid management jargon
  • Surprise your listeners – at the beginning to get their attention, at the end to make your story memorable
  • Involve your listeners in the storytelling
  • Use an engaging style, including active voice, dialogue
  • Keep it succinct


There is a plethora of books and websites on storytelling. In order to improve your storytelling skills and get a better understanding of the different aspect of storytelling in business, I recommend to at least read one of the recommended books. Pick any of them according to your taste, they are all good.

Recommended Books

Stephen Denning: The Leader’s Guide to Storytelling. Wiley, 2010

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Karen Dietz & Lori L. Silverman: Business Storytelling For Dummies. Wiley, 2014

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Paul Smith: Lead with a Story: A Guide to Crafting Business Narratives That Captivate, Convince, and Inspire. AMACOM, 2012

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Selected Web Portals

National Storytelling Network –

Folklore and Mythology –

Tim Sheppard’s Storytelling Resources –