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Apply storytelling in your proposals

For centuries, people have been telling stories to convey messages. Good stories captivate. In addition to speeches and presentations, storytelling is mainly used within the content strategy. Think of, for example, websites (about us pages), brochures, social media platforms, magazines, emails, podcasts. Storytelling is a successful concept, also for making convincing proposals.

What is storytelling?

Storytelling is exactly what the term implies: storytelling. In business, it is also known as corporate storytelling. They wrap the vision, mission, products, services and working method into a fascinating story. With the help of storytelling, a company, organization, brand, service or product is brought to life. The customer or prospect becomes emotionally involved and is tempted to choose an organization or brand. With storytelling, organizations create sympathy and increase the favor factor. So, in summary, storytelling is an extremely effective form of communication.

Those who tell the stories rule the world

The effect of storytelling

The human brain is very sensitive to a good story. It is capable of processing a story. It has been investigated that when complicated or even boring information is converted into a story, we remain captivated and remember the message better. In addition, reading or listening to a story activates the mirror neurons of the human being. Being a mirror neuron or mirror cell helps us learn new things based on imitation. Some scientists consider mirror neurons to be one of the most important discoveries ever made in neuroscience. Mirror neurons bring a story to life, activates the brain and it feels like the reader/listener is experiencing it for themselves.

Key Features of Successful Storytelling

1 — People

The main feature of storytelling is that it is about people. When something is told about the success of the organization, it is not the numbers and statistics that fascinate. It's the founders and employees and how these overcame setbacks that leave us on the edge of the seat. If the story is in line with the world of the customer or prospect, success is assured.

2 — The structure

The structure of a good story looks like this:
Exhibition: the starting position; acquaintance with the protagonist.
Motor moment: the story is set in motion.
Development: The protagonist develops in a certain direction.
Climax: the high or low point of the story.
Outcome: what happens after the climax.
End: how the story ends.

3 - Ingredients/Elements

Another characteristic of successful storytelling is the ingredients. A story always contains a hero (the founder of a company), opponent (the competition but also, for example, an economic crisis), the hero's right hand, a motive, setback and a victory.

4 — Movement

Movement in a story means that it continues to fascinate. Create movement in the form of, for example, an assignment, mission, dilemma, success, but also injustice, fate or the unattainable. In this way, direction is given to the story.

5 - Emotions

When people play the leading role, emotions are easily evoked. Try to make the emotions as concrete as possible by describing what the protagonist feels. For example: frenzied joy, blazing enthusiasm, intense sadness, frustration, powerlessness, pride, inner peace.

6 — True Story

Whether a story actually happened or is based on the actual event is unimportant. As long as the story is realistic. This is achieved by describing concrete, recognizable details. Think of words that refer to your senses (seeing, hearing, feeling, smelling, tasting).

Storytelling in proposals

Storytelling in proposals

A good story largely determines how customers or prospects feel about a company or organization. Within the structure of proposals, storytelling can be applied to the following parts:


The cover shows the success story of the product or solution offered.
In this way, customers and prospects are immediately voted in a positive mood. Use people (#1), for example, the target group of the customer or prospect. Also include emotions in the images (#5) but keep it realistic (#6).

Introduction and situation with the customer or prospect

Here you outline the prospect or customer, the industry in which they are located, the request for help or the problem. Use passages or proposals of the conversation here so that the customer or prospect recognizes himself in the description. Also describe the consequences when the situation remains unchanged, make it concrete and reinforce your story with numbers. See also the mentioned phases in building a good story (#2).

Desired situation

Outline the future and how a product or solution can make it look bright. Don't forget to describe its effects and benefits. Use ingredients (#3).

The company presentation

This section is similar to the About Us page on a website. Show the people behind the organization's brand or logo and tell them what they're doing. Looking at the structure (#2), one could best answer the following questions for a company presentation:

  • why did the company ever start up (Why, Simon Sinek) and how?
  • what affects the company?
  • what has the company experienced?
  • what did the company struggle with?
  • what and when about the company's setbacks or struggles?
  • what has they done with that since then?

Start storytelling in proposals

If you find it difficult to apply storytelling in the proposal itself, choose at least storytelling in the company presence. The company presentation covers all the characteristics of successful storytelling. Combine the story with video footage, infographics and other supporting visuals. This enhances the experience of the proposal.


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