This won't help your relationship

This scene happens every few weeks in my house. 

As soon as Patricia arrives from work, I ask her,

“Have you seen my post on LinkedIn today? I think I really nailed the story!”

“No, sorry, today was super busy, I didn’t get the chance.”

“Ok, no worries, you can take a look now and tell me what you think.”

“Can I just put my stuff away and use the bathroom first?”

“Oh, come on, it will only take a minute…”

I hand her my phone and hang around while she reads. 

I keep waiting for a smile or a laugh, but she barely reacts, and hands me back the phone. 


“That’s what happened.”

“But it’s pretty good, right? Lots of people said it was amazing!”

“I mean, I was there. You just wrote what happened.”

“Don’t you think I did a great job capturing all of that, though?”

“I guess so. Can I use the bathroom now?”

I’m starting to suspect it’s my European passport and not my storytelling that’s keeping this marriage alive… 

That’s actually a compliment 

The best stories feel real enough to be believed and have something unexpected or surprising (maybe it’s something that happened in the story, maybe it’s what the characters learned or how they’ve changed). 

If both things happen, there’s a good chance you’ll like the story. But if you were there, you already know what happens, so the surprise element is gone. And you might also notice things missing (or added) to the story, which will make it feel less real. 

That’s why my wife’s feedback that I “just wrote what happened” is actually the best thing she could say - even if she didn’t mean to give me a compliment 😅

And this is how you do it

So what makes a story feel real? 

  • Start with time and place

  • Use dialogue

  • Focus on one moment in time (think of a “scene” in a movie - one conversation, one interaction)

  • Use everyday language

To make it unexpected, give us one line at the very end to show 

  • What you've learned 

  • What you have started (or stopped) doing

  • What you've realised 

  • Any small way in which you changed

That’s all you really need. 

It might not help you with your relationship, but it will definitely improve your storytelling 🤘


Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

  1. Getting clarity through your story to stand out from all the other coaches, speakers and entrepreneurs out there 

  2. If you dream of speaking on the Red Dot, take this Scorecard and instantly discover how likely your idea is to be accepted by a TED-style organizing committee

  3. If you (or your team) got any storytelling challenges, I’m sure there’s something we can do together ;-)

Thanks for reading! Reply any time.