Because no-one remembers a faceless brand.
Use Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula for telling stories for various purposes including building a personal brand, sharing your founder’s story, delivering a presentation, and making an investor pitch.
You can also use it in your cover letter, coaching, and public speaking to drive home a memorable message.
Chart paper/A4 sheet and anything that helps you brainstorm.
Put your thinking cap on and rewind all important incidents in your life. In particular, look for a life-changing event that motivated a change in your mindset or behavior – something that moved things.
Best of all: pull out a chart paper and think on the paper. Writing down possible trigger events and struggles will help you recall better and create better links for a smooth-flowing story.
Or, if you’re using Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula to sell a product or service, muse over the following: what was the trigger event that led you to create it?
Once you’ve identified the trigger event, start penning it down.
Aim for keeping the incident-based introduction short. Ideally, 2-3 lines are enough to set the scene and hook your audience’s attention.
Now, talk about your struggles. You’ll have to be extra cautious about building a smooth connection between the ‘Incident’ and ‘Action.’
For example, Warby Parker’s story. The story’s first line uses the template shared above: “Every idea starts with a problem. Ours was simple: Glasses are too expensive.”
This Play works because it gains your audience’s trust by sharing a part of your life.
Where statistics and facts are good ways to convince others, sharing a personal story is better. Why? Because it introduces the human element.
It also works because either your audience starts seeing yourself in your story or they want to support you in your struggles.
If you’re selling a product or service, highlight your struggle, then shift the context by sharing how your audience’s current struggle is similar to what you’ve struggled with.
For example, because I was a non-native speaker, I couldn’t get my message across. I felt unheard, undervalued, and under-appreciated. Most of all, I was losing hope – hope of getting my ideas across to the world.
So how can you spice up your story? Follow these three tips:
Be specific about your struggle – what is it that you did, in chronological order, that led you from the incident to the result.
Watch how Brian Chesky, Airbnb’s CEO tells their story - sharing lots of concrete details.
Was it a bright day when you decided to design your website? Or was it dark outside and the power was out so you had to work by the candle?
Either way, describe things so you can tease your readers’ senses (sight, smell, sound, motion) and get them to imagine your struggle.
For example, I put on a garlic-stained apron.
This makes things more real, more believable.
❌ I poured myself a glass of fizzy drink
✅ I poured myself a glass of chilled Coca-Cola
For example, this newsletter issue’s opening lines that read:
Finally, tie how the ‘Action’ you took led to the ‘Benefit.’
Dale Carnegie’s Magic Formula is easy to use. The only thing that takes time is identifying the ‘Incident’ and polishing the story with the right details.
And, to recap, here’s the formula’s barebones structure: