The pay off is a crucial bit of a story, especially in business English. It reinforces your message. It might convey values you want to get across, deliver a point you want to teach, or simply suggest why you’re a decent, dependable or cool sort of person to work with.
And handily, one story can be used to deliver different pay offs. This means that if you can learn to tell one story really well, with a few minor changes, you can probably use it in lots of different situations, just changing the ending slightly to suit the circumstances.
I illustrate this in class by telling a short anecdote myself. Any short story would probably do it, but for example, this one has worked well for me.
An old lady was walking down the street when she noticed three young boys. They weren’t very tall and were struggling to reach a doorbell. Thinking they must be locked out, she asked if they’d like some help. ‘Oh, yes please’ they said, so she pressed the doorbell for them. ‘That’s great’, shouted the boys. ‘Now run!’.
Then I provide the phrase ‘So it just goes to show….’ and ask my students to come up some morals or pay offs for the story. All sorts of different ones are possible so they should be able to generate quite a few. And you can give them some of your own as well, such as:
The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
First appearances can be deceiving.
So I think it just goes to show that learning to tell one story really well is class time well spent.
Do you have any tips for storytelling lessons?