I had just bumped into a stranger who was out jogging. It turned out to be an old friend I hadn’t seen in years.
As we caught up about life and business, and he told me he was struggling.
It all started when he had been asked to give a presentation for his company, but he had been avoiding it like the plague. So he was beginning to worry.
“What’s holding you back”? I asked. “It’s just out of my comfort zone” he said.
“What if I look bad? What if I fail and others point it out? Worst of all, what if nobody cares?”
He looked down. Clearly afraid. It’s a good thing he ran into me. Literally.
3 Powerful Tips
I told him about the 3 powerful tips I use to make my storytelling crush it. Tips he could use in his presentation, and also his blogs, videos, marketing campaigns, or anything where he needed to keep people’s attention and make impact.
But they weren’t just any tips!
They were magical beanstalk tips.
They were how to survive in the Hunger Games tips.
They were become the Neo of your own Matrix tips.
These were tips that if implemented, would command attention.
Here they are:
1. The Inciting Incident
This is something that happens to your client so that they cannot go on the same any longer. Something that forever upsets the balance.
In Joseph Campbell’s Hero’s Journey it’s known as the Call to Adventure. It’s a heightened awareness of the necessity for change.
For example in Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke Skywalker comes home to find his family and house burned to the ground. He now has nowhere left to hide and must go on his journey to become a Jedi.
How does this relate to your business?
An inciting incident for you might be the reason you started your business, decided to get a degree, or travel to Turkey. Something happened in your life that you just couldn’t refuse. No matter what.
Use it in the beginning of your story to hook the attention of your audience so that they have to stay around to find out what happens. This works so well in movies that even if the movie is bad, people will often wait to the end just to see what happens.
It’s that addicting!
2. Address The Conflict.
The hero now thrust into a new world, will always find conflict and adversity.
Conflict becomes the highlight of your story. The most important part of any marketing campaign!
It’s the part that really attracts your audience, yet so often it is overlooked.
It’s so relatable because it reminds us of our own struggle, and if we can see the hero overcome it we feel inspired. It’s much more emotionally impactful if you describe the inner obstacles the client is facing.
What are some obstacles your client’s face?
- Feelings of overwhelm
- Stepping out of their comfort zone
- Fear of looking bad
- Fear of failure
- What they stand to lose if they don’t take action
- Competitors thwarting our progress
- Changing what they have always done before
Incorporate these into your marketing, and you are not only guaranteed to stand out, but to connect emotionally with your audience.
My jogging friend was beginning to light up a little hearing all this. His eyes were wider and his head was perked up. I could tell I was getting somewhere with him.
“And the third? What’s the third tip”? He asked? “Relax man, I’m gonna tell you.”
Number 3 is a very advanced storytelling tip so pay attention.
3. The Checkhov Principle.
This principle states that what you have in the beginning of the story, should appear in the end, just somehow evolved or transformed.
This does two powerful things.
- It creates consistency in your content (which is important).
- It creates relevance. There shouldn’t be anything in your story that isn’t relevant. That’s poor storytelling!
Checkhov was a master writer and storyteller and this principle came from one of his most important quotes of all time. It goes like this.
“If you say in the first chapter that there is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.
Now this doesn’t have to be an object. It can also be a person. Focus on the person’s transformation.
In your business, how can your clients be the “rifle”?
How have they changed from where they started because of you?
It’s often a subliminal thing, but it grounds your story and highlights the evolution.
As long as there is a transformation of a person from beginning to end, this will work wonders for you.
As I completed my third point, my friend had a twinkle in his eye. He was overjoyed!
“I’m gonna race home and write my talk” he said. His head was raised up high.
Good thing I thought, at least now he can see where he’s going!
Anthony is a growing expert in Business Storytelling and Creative Director at UpMedia Inc. He’s spent 12 years making compelling content in mediums such as 2D and 3D animation, graphic design and video, and on award winning television shows and movies. He is committed to building humanity in the business world with storytelling.