Storytelling skills, financial fraud and getting personal

by Patrick Thomas. Issue 002.

Welcome to The Story is the Strategy, a newsletter about becoming a world-class business communicator. My mission is to help you become a remarkable storyteller and significantly increase your professional impact.

New Writing

“Storyteller” is a well-worn concept in the business world. But despite rampant overuse, it does mean something. I’ve written a new post about how you can approach storytelling as a set of learnable skills.


The Wild Frauds are the Good Ones. A reader shares an interesting perspective on… storytelling in financial scams? Key line:

“My favorite explanation… [about why outlandish financial scams work] is that people just like fantasy. If you sell them a Ponzi scheme with risk-free 100% returns, all you are offering them is money. If you sell them a Ponzi scheme that achieves its risk-free 100% returns by infiltrating an international cabal of central bankers and taking back power for the people by using the magic of math, or whatever, then that’s a story… The point is not for the scam to be financially plausible; the point is for it to be psychologically evocative.”

File under: the power of storytelling in everything. Note: please don’t use anything you learn in this newsletter to commit financial fraud. Thanks in advance.

Put it to Work

Personal stories can be an effective way to break down barriers and connect with your audience. Consider two versions of the same argument about living in another country.

Version A

Living abroad is a fantastic opportunity for any professional. It will broaden your horizons and provide many new experiences. But those are just the obvious changes. Without even noticing it, you’ll also change in many subtle ways, too. These changes can be really rewarding, and they give you a unique perspective that not many people have. You’ll have seen things in a different way. That’s why I say: if you have the chance to live in another country, go for it.

Version B

We never planned to move abroad. Still, when an opportunity for me to join the team in London presented itself, we jumped at the opportunity. It hasn’t been easy, but there have been lots of magical moments. My daughter had just started talking when we left California. Now she speaks in an English accent, much to the delight of everyone back home. It’s a daily little reminder of how much our lives have changed in obvious and non-obvious ways. Living abroad has been a rich experience - and one that I recommend.

Which one is more persuasive to you? How could you combine elements of both to make an even more powerful argument?

Feedback is a gift. I’d love to hear your thoughts about anything in this newsletter, good or bad. I reply to every message I receive. Thank you!