Storytelling Tip: Keep Your Stories Delicious


Every morning, my partner Todd makes coffee and then we watch one episode of House Hunters International while we wake up. The show and the people are terrible, but we both love seeing what a two bedroom apartment looks like in Mumbai, or Madrid, or Russia. (Did you know that in Germany a lot of the rentals come without a KITCHEN?)

The show always begins with a couple explaining what they “need” in a house (usually 5,600 square feet for two humans) to the real estate agent.

But they do it with diluted words.

Imagine that you have a glass half-full of water. Now pour beautifully red cranberry juice into it. What happens? Exactly. The juice turns an insipid pink. You’ve diluted the juice. It’s lost all its beauty and richness.

And yes, the requests from the House Hunters people are insane, but if you’re going to make insane requests, at least do it DEFINITELY.

“I kind of need a sort of… I don’t know, a house that, uh, has maybe an Olympic-sized swimming pool? In the house? In… a room?”

Compare that pink juice to this:

“I need an Olympic-sized swimming pool in the living room. IT MUST BE HEATED. And have a trained lifeguard.”

So I started looking at my own everyday speech, and I realized that I was unconsciously doing it too. “Hey, Todd, can you kind of help me get some, you know, tasks done today? Or whatever?”

And the last thing anyone wants is to sound like a House Hunters International couple. I started cutting out the diluting words:

kind of
maybe
I’m not sure
sort of
I think
I don’t know

And immediately two things happened: first, I sounded more confident to other people. Then, I sounded more confident TO MYSELF. And as a consequence I started having more faith in my own words.

Give it a try this week. Keep that cranberry juice as red as rubies.

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