Peter Guber’s 3-Step Storytelling Formula

This short Play will teach you to consider your audience in order to achieve the best results.
Masooma Memon
April 11, 2022

When to use

Use Peter Guber’s 3-step storytelling formula for engaging your audience when giving presentations, workshops, masterclasses, product demos, and speeches. You can also use it for writing app descriptions, long-form content, and book summaries. 

What you’ll need

Fresh Google doc or notebook page.

The Steps

In addition to the three steps that are part of the Play, take a preparation step as your base step. This way, you have four steps altogether.

1. Revisit your audience profile

If you have a target persona, visit it to refresh who you’re targeting.

If you don’t have it, talk to your customer-facing teams such as the support and sales teams. Ask them who they regularly talk to, what those people struggle with, and what questions they frequently have.

If you’re presenting or coaching for your service business, write down who you typically work with.

And, if you have a website, find out your audience’s demographics. All this should give you a fair idea of who you’re going to create your story for.

2. Write your hook

The hook is your opening line. It could be anything from asking your audience a question or sharing a challenge that they’re facing.

For example, 'do you struggle writing daily?'

PromptUse these simple, question-based templates for writing your hook:
  • Struggling with [target audience’s number one problem]?
  • Wondering how to [target audience’s main challenge]?
  • Not sure how to [target audience’s pain point]?

3. Rub at your audience’s emotions

Now elaborate on the challenge. This helps you set the stage for the solution you’re going to offer.

At this point though, make sure you tug at your audience’s emotions.

For instance, describe how they feel when dealing with their challenge. Or describe the situation they’re in. This is the best way to engage them – getting them ready to say ‘yes’ to the solution you present next.  

TipKeep asking questions throughout your narrative as they engage your listeners/readers effectively.

For example, Steve Jobs – using Peter Guber’s storytelling formula – asks multiple questions throughout his iPhone launch presentation back in 2007.

Some of these questions are:

  • Now, why do we need a revolutionary user interface?
  • Well, how do you solve this?
  • We don’t want to carry around a mouse, right?

Struggling to capture relevant emotions? Jump on a call with some of your customers to understand their struggles and underlying emotions better.

If you don’t have customers yet, talk to someone who closely aligns with your target audience. Ask them how challenge X makes them feel.

For example, here’s an example of someone trying to get into the habit of daily journaling. Some challenges and feelings they could be facing include forgetting to open their journal, lack of words to describe their feelings, and irritation when they don’t get the time to review previous entries.

4. Close with a call to action (CTA)

Finally, present your solution or offer. Elaborate on it in a few lines and close it with an actionable message – tell listeners/readers about the next step.

For example, want to work together? Email me.

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In short

Peter Guber’s storytelling formula is fairly simple to use. But it’s highly effective only when you have a strong grip on who your audience is.

So start with coming to grips with your target persona’s struggles. And, to understand their emotions better – either talk to some of them or put yourself in their shoes and imagine what it feels like.

Then, fill in these three steps:

  • Write your hook
  • Tug at your audience’s emotions
  • End with an easy-to-follow CTA
Masooma Memon

Masooma Memon is a freelance writer for B2B SaaS and ecommerce brands writing actionable content for clients like CoSchedule, Vimeo, and Databox. She's also an avid reader and shares content writing and marketing tips in her weekly newsletter, The Content Workshop.

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