The Art of Storytelling: How to Tell a Story Like a Pro

I reached out to Lou Heckler for a video interview because of all the speakers I know, he is undoubtedly the top tier storyteller.

As a professional speaker, trainer, speech coach, and presentation skills nerd, it's hard for me to watch other speakers without taking notes on what worked in the speech, what fell flat, ideas for my own speeches, etc.

When I watch Lou Heckler on stage, I forget that I am a fellow speaker. When he takes the platform, I am an audience member. I am drawn into his stories. I slip into a transe. With absolute delight I watch the movies playing in my mind, guided by his eloquence, humor, and skill.

In this video interview, I talk with Lou about his story development process.

What is his take on good storytelling? What should people avoid when creating a story? What storytellers inspire him?

As always, below the video are my notes and takeaways, along with links to the resources mentioned in the interview. Happy watching!

You Are What You Read

Lou has a background in journalism and reads constantly from a wide a variety of sources. His wide-ranging knowledge makes him a more effective speaker as well as a pleasant conversationalist. His curiosity fuels his speaking strategies.

Lou is a connoisseur of fantastic storytellers. My favorite tip from our interview has inspired me to read the sports section of newspapers. Who would have thought?!

Because his storytelling antennae are on alert for good stories, he has noticed that some of the best stories are in the small vignettes about players in the sports section of the newspaper. Rather than looking at yesterdays scored, Lou looks for stories.

Lou mentioned a few of his favorite places to read stories.

Lou's Challenge

One of Lou's favorite techniques is to incorporate The Challenge in his stories. He uses his stories as metaphors to challenge his audiences to take action. Rather than blatantly saying to the audience, "no go out and do something amazing!," he uses his stories as a device for the call to action. It is so much more powerful!

As Lou mentioned, adults aren't as skilled at being learners, but they are great mimics. You can use your stories to provide a model for your audiences to mimic. What should I do in this moment? Well, what would that guy from Lou's story do? 

What Else Could This Mean?

All speakers should know that any great story is pointless if it doesn't have...well, a point!

Lou's process for determining what the universal truth his stories can convey is by drilling down and asking, "what else could this mean?" This is how he figures how what lesson the story will be a metaphor for.

I really recommend that you watch the video for this part. On the fly, Lou talks about something that happened to him two days ago and comes up with how that one incident could be used to demonstrate multiple lessons.

Remember, one story can have MULTIPLE meanings. So keep your stories around in some sort of filing system. Review them when you need a story and when you look at each one, ask yourself, "What else could this mean?"


Who are some of your favorite storytellers? Do you use stories in business? I would love to hear your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below!

Also, feel free to share this with your friends, followers, and internet stalkers by clicking on the pretty social media buttons below.

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  • Sabrina at MyMiBoSo

    Wow, this is exactly what I needed today Shari! I’ve been contemplating what I want to create next with my blog, and I knew I wanted to tap into my gift as a storyteller, actress, and filmmaker but wasn’t quite sure how.

    The wheels are certainly spinning now!

    • Sharí Alexander

      With your background…. you got this! :)

  • Shaina

    Great interview! It was a delight to watch, provided several good points to stimulate my own thinking around using stories in speeches, and his advice can be easily implemented right away. Thanks for sharing.

    • Sharí Alexander

      Yay! :)

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  • Dan Leyes

    I enjoyed this interview very much. The power of the story is something that continues to amaze me with each passing year. They are the keys to great public speaking!




Sharí Alexander is a Speaker, Trainer and Coach who is known for bringing the dark arts of influence into the light - helping business leaders be the positive persuasive power they want to be. 


Observe Connect Influence
"Bringing the Dark Arts of Influence into the Light."

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