Storytelling That Captures Hearts and Minds
Greetings, Chief Storytelling Officers.
Right now people around the world are reading books, watching television, and taking in stories across all types of mediums. You know the most famous storytellers in the world by name. Christopher Nolan, J.K Rowling, Steve Harvey, Tony Robbins, Oprah, Elon, and more.
Their ability to share stories well told makes them unforgettable and powerful.
You’ve watched, read, and heard thousands of stories in your lifetime. You know a good story when you see one.
A great story is like a shadow for so many people. It’s real, you know it’s there, and you just can’t seem to catch it.
This weekend I went back to read one of my favorite textbooks on storytelling. Robert McKee wrote Story in 1997. He’s probably the leading expert on screenwriting. The tie ins to what I do with storytelling for raising capital couldn’t be more clear. The first time I read the book was back in my early trial lawyer days.
It was right after I’d lost a case I knew I should’ve won. I was frustrated and to be honest I was pissed. I never was a good loser. It would eat away at me so I started consuming everything I could on storytelling.
McKee’s book became one of my favorites that helped me elevate my craft in the courtroom. It’s one of the reasons I used so much television and movies in finding my inspiration for closing arguments.
In what would be the toughest case of my career when I was defending a client on a murder case where I believe he acted in self defense I used a scene from the West Wing as my single source of inspiration. It ended up saving a man’s life as he was found not guilty of murder.
Now back to McKee.
Most of you reading this know a good story when you see it or hear it. Crafting your own and telling it the right way…well that’s an entirely different story.
This isn’t a knock on you. I started down this path in 6th grade. Every moment of my life has been obsessed with words, storytelling, and narratives. Your path is different. Likely focused on product, tech, climate, crypto, ai, finance, or any other of twenty things.
Here’s what McKee had to say about why it’s so difficult.
The idea of story is like the idea of music. We’ve heard tunes all our lives. We can dance and sing along. We think we understand music until we try to compose it and what comes out of the piano scares the cat.
I remember reading that quote (it comes early in the book) and it hit me straight in the face. As a young prosecutor I’d made the mistake of focusing on instinct and raw talent. I hadn’t studied to the degree necessary to master the craft of storytelling.
So if you feel the same way, don’t lose hope. There’s a way forward.
The first step is to start paying more attention to why you like the stories you do. Think about the emotions you feel and why you feel them.
With these first step in mind that’s your action before the next issue of this newsletter.
When I started doing this it changed my career. I went from a mediocre trial lawyer in my first year to someone that got promotion after promotion and was trying murder cases in my 4th year. It’s what put me on the map of SMU Law School who asked me to come back and teach at my alma mater this skill of storytelling in a courtroom to law students.
Pretty soon I’d learned how to tap into human emotion on the deepest level. I could transfer any emotion I wanted from me to my audience. That’s what I want for you too because storytelling to raise capital comes down to a transfer of 3 things.
It’s what I train every founder I work with on and that’s why they’ve raised $575,000,000 in capital over the past 2 years.
So get after step one. I’ll dive into step two next issue.
Let’s start making beautiful music.
The Competitive Storytelling foundation storytelling and fundraising program can be found here.
Founder Fundraising Consultancy can be contacted here if you’re raising capital and need our training and support to make it happen.
A former trial lawyer and prosecutor in Dallas, TX, Robbie trains founders to become world-class storytellers and venture capital fundraisers.
In barely two years, he's helped founders raise $575,000,000 of venture capital.