Purposeful Storytelling Exercise: See The Cat Run aWay!

Inside-Out Storytelling Workshop: Story Development For Speakers

How to identify the key ‘story’ elements of your journey and structure them in a way that takes the audience along for the ride.

Getting practice with the See The Cat Run aWay story structure Write a story that illustrates something you feel is important about something you feel is important. (No, that wasn’t a typo — read again slowly.) It could be personal or professional. It could have you as the central character, or it could be about someone else and you were the observer. It could be about, for example:
  • mental health
  • career advancement
  • financial planning
  • getting along with others
  • project management
  • having a significant relationship with your significant other
  • creativity
  • the importance of storytelling in communication 
Or, maybe…
  • something you learned about marketing from your dog
  • how spirituality can guide you in business
  • what a child taught you about playfulness
  • what your dying mother taught you about perspective (in Auschwitz)
…or, well, you get the idea. It doesn’t have to be a ‘big’ story or a monumental insight. In fact, it usually isn’t! Use the ‘See-The-Cat-Run-aWay’ story structure as a guide.

You are each writing your own story

The reason why you are in groups is so that you can be accountable to each other. Please check in on each other, cheer each other on, and ask each other stuff. But if you are on a roll and you just want to focus on writing, let your partner know. Still, I recommend leaving your camera on so you can keep an eye out on and for each other.

See The Cat Run aWay

See The Cat Run aWay curve graphic
  1. S = Set-up, as little as you can get away with.
  2. T = Triggering event. Something happens that sets the story on its course.
  3. C = Conflict – what happened as a result of the triggering event?
  4. R = Resolution – how did you get through the conflict and what’s different now?
  5. W = Wisdom; what did you learn from the experience? This is the point of your story.

Every story is actually two stories in parallel.

The Outside story makes it unique. The Inside story makes it universal.
Remember that every story is actually two stories in parallel. The outside story chronicles the events — what actually happened. The inside story is the emotional journey — the fears, skepticisms, gremlins, character flaws, personal demons… and what it takes to overcome them. The outside store is what makes it unique. The inside story makes it universal.   The relative balance of outside story vs inside story depends on the each individual story. Some stories do well with more inside story; others do well with more outside story. One thing is certain. Too much of either is, well, too much.

Duration & Length

You have roughly 30 minutes to complete this exercise. Remember, this is a sprint; don’t overthink it. The ‘See-The-Cat-Run-aWay’ story structure will help you stay on track. Budget 1-4 sentences of varying lengths for each element in the story structure. Your objective is to have your story be roughly 200-350 words, or between two and three-and-a-half minutes.

Stay In The Loop

Plus, get a FREE e-book to help you find the true meaning of your story and make it ‘proverb-ready’. Super helpful for speakers, presenters, writers, songwriters, and influencers of all kinds.