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Cut to the Chase

Cut to The Chase

What is the Cut to The Chase story tactic?

Oh no, you're losing your audience! Their mind's are wandering. Quick, get their attention hack on you.

"Thou shalt not be dull" is a golden rule of storytelling. You know when you're losing people: they start to look restless or uncomfortable. Let's be honest, it's annoying to listen to a boring story. So it's time to quit the back-story and cut to the chase: give us action, emotion or meaning.

Tips: this works with face-to-face storytelling. But it applies to online stories too. Assume we get bored easily. How can you tweak our attention throughout your story?

How to use the Cut to The Chase story tactic

Think of this tactic like an emergency escape plan. If your well-prepared story is going badly, bail out in one of these ways:

  1. Cut to the action: anomaly + potential benefit
    What do you keep noticing about a certain situation? What's new, unusual and potentially useful?

    • "So, basically, what happened was ... "

    • "Suddenly ... "

    • "The worst moment was ... "

    Plan your escape: Five Ts

  2. Cut to the emotion: anomaly + potential threat
    What makes you uneasy about a certain situation? What's new, unusual and potentially harmful?

    • "I was amazed ... shocked ... surprised .. ."

    • "I was so disappointed ... stressed ... "

    • "We were so relieved ... elated ... "

    Plan your escape: Emotional Dashboard

  3. Cut to the meaning: when are you so absorbed in a task that time just flies? this is when you're practising your skills and learning something new. It's deeply satisfying.

    • "That's when I realised .. ."

    • "I'd always thought .. ."

    • "I'll never forget .. ."

    Plan your escape: Thoughtful Failures

  4. Alternatively, stop talking and ask your audience a question.Turn the situation from a "story download" to a two-way exchange using Story-ish Conversations.


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Cut to the Chase is one of 54 storytelling recipe cards inside the Storyteller Tactics card deck.

Ditch dull presentations and tell great stories that influence and inspire your team, stakeholders and customers.