Lead with “Why”: A Storytelling Shortcut for Ideas and Products

When describing your idea or product, it’s effortless to dive into the product’s features, describing what it does. This approach allows the listener to bridge the gap between the capabilities and how they might get value from it for their situation. But that’s just it, it makes others work to identify the value.

Leading with Why

Try another approach instead. Lead with the “why” behind the idea or product and weave in ways you’re solving the need. This does two things effectively. This approach brings out your passion for the idea, and why you felt it was worth your own time and energy to bring this idea to life. Also, if the listener experiences the same or similar problem, they’ll naturally want to learn more and start asking questions about the things that are most important to them.

Here’s the shortcut:

For  [who does this serve? …personas, titles]
Who experience [what is the problem(s)?]
We provide [what is the solution?]
So that [what is the desired outcome?]

Storytelling Shortcut Example

Here’s an example:

For sleepless college students,
Who have a hard time waking up, constantly hit the snooze button,
We provide a sound and light machine and companion app,
So that you can get to sleep faster, stay asleep, and wake up rested.

It’s a storytelling shortcut for a reason. It leaves a lot out. As an opener, it begs questions like, “How does it work?” or “I can imagine a lot of people have this problem. Where are you selling this now?” or”How did you get into this work?” The list goes on.

This example highlights key aspects of this way of storytelling,

  • Flexibility – Adapt this format to the individual or the platform you’re sharing this on without too much effort.
  • Brevity – It’s brief and concise, providing info for others to ask questions.
  • Knowledge – You demonstrate that you know your audience and why this idea/product is important.

Making an Impression

The first couple of times running through this, you may feel like you’re leaving out all the good stuff. That’s okay! The listener will start asking questions about what they care about or what is most interesting to them.

Regardless of what gets left out, they’ve heard the important things. They have learned what ‘it’ is, why this matters, and why you’re so passionate about it. That’s a pretty memorable impression to make!



Join the conversation

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *