What do you do when you’re struggling to tell your story? I genuinely believe that just about anything can be a story. Even something as mundane as a trip to the grocery store can have story elements. The store is out of the essential ingredient you need. You run into an old acquaintance you haven’t seen in years. You witness (or participate in) a random act of kindness between strangers, or a check-out line dispute. Stories are everywhere, but they usually require some gentle coaxing and teasing out on your part. If you feel stuck, this list of common storytelling pitfalls might help you see opportunities to give your story a boost: No hook – A good story reels the audience in from the beginning. Make sure the opening of your story grabs the listener’s attention in a way that is interesting, authentic, and connects well to the rest of the story. No conflict or need – Just about every story should have some element of conflict in it. Some stories don’t, but these are very rare cases that should be considered the exception and not the rule. Stories told for marketing or communications purposes should always include a conflict because the point of the story is to help sell something. It’s hard to sell if you can’t convince the buyer that your product or service fulfills a need, which is another way to think of conflict. No transformation – At their core, stories are about change. If nothing has changed by the end of the story, the audience may be left wondering, what was the point? As the storyteller, you need to tell the reason for the change; describe what led to it; and be as specific as possible about what has changed. No human connection – Good stories are so universally appealing because they tend to convey fundamental human truths. These are ideas, emotions, and themes that we can relate to, even if the events and particulars of the story are completely foreign to us. Data points and other details are important communication aides, but if our messaging fails to connect with the audience at a basic human level, we’re less likely to meet our overall storytelling goals.