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The 5 C’s of a Great Story



by Bob Goodyear


Over the last few months I have been working with different sales professionals. The goal has been to help them to become better presenters. One of the areas that we talk about is the importance of stories in a sales presentation. I give them a simple formula for creating stories and I will share that with you today. All you need to remember are 5 C’s.

  1. Characters
  2. Context
  3. Conflict
  4. Cure
  5. Carryout


First, describe the main characters in your story. What are their names? What role do they have in your story? Use a couple of adjectives to describe their physical appearance and maybe their personality.


Describe the place where the story takes place. If you close your eyes and put yourself in the location, describe what you see, hear, smell and feel. Use descriptive words that will bring your audience into the setting with you. Next, describe what is happening that is causing risk or fear or uncertainty in the situation.


Here describe the consequences that may occur if something is not resolved from the context you just described. It’s in this section that you create tension. What could be the most extreme consequence from the context? Describe the risk or danger.


Now it’s time to explain how things were resolved. This might be a story with a “happy ending” where all of the conflict was settled the best way possible. If so, explain how that happened.  If it wasn’t so happy, explain what could have been done to make the problem better. If you take your audience through the problem, they want to have a payoff.


This should be something short and easily remembered. It should be a phrase that is 10 words or less. This is “lesson learned” part of the story. When you finish your story, this will be what your audience will remember.

This is a quick formula you can use to create your own stories. By making sure you have these five sections in your story, you will be able to create stories quickly that your audience will remember.


Bob Goodyear is a veteran speaker on technology who understands the communications challenges that technical professionals face. Find out how Bob can help your organization with their presentation.

Reach Bob by email or by phone at 678.447.7272



  1. […] written about storytelling several times. I’ve written about how to construct a story, where to put a story in technical presentations, and why to use stories. I want to expand on the […]