Story Hooks

Story Hooks

What is the Story Hooks story tactic?

Craft a compelling hook at the start of your story. It will keep us listening until the end.

You might have the best story in the world, but it's no use if you can't get people to listen, to click on your link or open your email. You need a hook: something that makes us want to find out more. Shall I let you into the secret?

What's It About or Curious Tales can help you find hooks in your story.

How to use the Story Hooks story tactic

I looked at 1,000+ TED talks to see how their titles hook our attention. I spotted some themes: TED's QUIRKS. Which could you use to hook us into your story?


  1. Questions: What happens when you ask a question? We try to answer it in our heads, then we stick around to hear your answer.
    Story Hook: can you start your story with a Big Question?

  2. Unexpected: when everyone zigs, you zag. “Why you’ll fail” is an attention-grabbing take on a “How to succeed” story.
    Story Hook: surprise your audience (but still make sense).

  3. Ironies: If something ain't what it should be, we want to know why. TED's top talk "Schools kill creativity" reeks of irony.
    Story Hook: tell us something is wrong.

  4. Relatable: Writing about You, We and Us makes your reader feel more involved. "Is this you in this video?" is a guaranteed attention hook (and classic phishing con).
    Story Hook: make it sound personal.

  5. Knowledge: Your expertise, made simple.
    Story Hook: rules, explainers, listicles, life-hacks and secrets all suggest expertise + insider status.

  6. Superlatives: Biggest, fastest, newest all inspire wonder; while smallest, slowest, oldest provoke curiosity.
    Story Hook: connect to something bigger, better or unusual .

You might like these Storyteller Tactics

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Story Hooks 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.