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Let Go of Your Story

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in. Henry Green

You know your stories too well.  And you may be telling them the way you remember them, including every detail and in the order in which it happened.  We all do this – more forensic report than story, we want to capture every moment as we experienced it, sticking to the truest account of all that happened.  We all know our own details too well.

The more you leave out, the more you highlight what you leave in – this quote is often used by storytellers, reminding us that more detail doesn’t always serve your goal.

Let go of your story means letting go of your attachment to your version.  This can be tough as you recount exactly what you remember in the detail in which it happened for you. Our own version of our stories - often the first version we think of, is what I call the forensic report version of the story. This applies to pitches and presentations. Every detail in chronological order just as it happened. Getting the details down somewhere, knowing and owning these elements of your story is important - but is this the version your audience needs to hear?

It's unlikely - stories are a way of engaging an audience with more than fact. The facts matter, all the more in the context of startup pitches and presentations - but the story, the weaving of meaning and fact is what will get your audience to care enough to stay with you. Isn't that the hope? More posts on this to come - but in sum, letting go of your story is the hardest first step. Know your detail, savor what you know - document it, start there, but then ask:

What does my audience need to hear, read, see to “get it”.  What will generate enough to have them answer the question, why should I care? What details really serve the goal of the story, the pitch, the presentation?  Much less, and it will mean much more.

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