If I had to sum up in two words everything I’ve learned in 25 years of work on communications, rhetoric, public speaking, speechwriting, and body language, those two words would be:  charismatic storytelling.

Charismatic because in an over-stimulated, impatient world, it’s passion and charisma that get attention.  But passion alone doesn’t get you to charisma; that magic ingredient takes a little additional work.  

Storytelling, because we’ve already got way too much information to take in, so the only thing we remember these days is stories.  And oh yes, that’s the way it has always been.  

The good news is that both charisma and storytelling are skills you can learn, not gifts from the gods that only a select few are anointed with.  

That’s it.  If you’re a charismatic storyteller, you can command attention, persuade people of anything, sell successfully, lead multitudes, and even make politics work again.  

The world desperately needs more charismatic storytellers.  In subsequent blogs, from time to time, I’ll talk about how to develop those skills in yourself.  


  1. Nick,
    I love telling stories. (My brothers blame it on my father and his father, neither of whom — according to my brothers — could be trusted to tell the facts unadorned.) I always encourage my clients to tell stories in their speeches. Some — especially those in the high-tech arena — resist at first, but then they get into it. Telling stories naturally brings out their passion and charisma.

  2. Nick,
    I wouldn’t say charismatic storytelling is the only thing that can work. But I would say that if you want to make your speaking work, that’s a safe bet. It is bread and butter stuff and if you can get that down, you can be successful. So I agree, if you had to pick just two words, those are two of the best.

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