GreatStoryteller

How To Tell A Story

Is this real? Or is it just a dream? These thoughts flashed through my mind. An hour later, I was in my car. My black leather folder was on the passenger seat beside me. It held a treasure – twelve $1,500 checks.

Twelve business leaders had listened to my presentation and ponied up $1,500 each for my first “High Profit Presentations” two day workshop. Was it a dream? Absolutely! A dream come true.

You just learned one great way to begin a story. It’s called, “Don’t Begin At The Beginning.”

What would I have written if I had begun at the beginning? I would have told you that I was giving a presentation for the first time. I would have described how I felt. I would have given you a bunch of blah-blah-blah leading up to the successful moment when people bought my training. And, I would have lost your attention.

EDUTAINMENT
My opening works by appealing irresistibly to your sense of play. It arouses your curiosity. It asks two questions; questions hook the mind. It teases you before it reveals any answers. It entertains you. Then, it educates you with what follows.

There are different ways to pique curiosity. Use your imagination to discover them. Why? Because curiosity always commands attention. The human brain is hardwired to respond to it.

There’s another reason you want to master this storytelling skill. It’s 2015. The age of digital information. It’s an age of magnificent change. One of the things that’s rapidly changing is human attention span.

Our minds are bombarded with information bites by the millisecond. Before you can attract people to your products and services, you must interrupt the noise in their heads. Your well-told business story is a powerful, entertaining, educational form of interruption.

BE THE TERMINATOR

How do you decide where to begin your story? By not beginning at the beginning. Don’t ask, “What should I say or write first?” Ask this important question instead. “What is the main message of my story?”

Your message is the one most important thing you want your audience to remember long after they have forgotten everything else about your story. Burn this definition into your mind. It is the key to your fortune.

Enter The Terminator
Too many business stories (presentations, ad copy, brochures) are forgettable. Why? They don’t communicate one strong clear message. Often they have multiple messages that cancel each other out. When you try to communicate everything, you say nothing.

Your job is to decide on one message and terminate the rest. The word decide literally means to kill off (other options).

I still remember a 30 second TV commercial (business story) that I saw five years ago. It was for a long distance telephone service. Think of all the possible messages to win people to this service. There’s the price message, the dependability message, the customer support message, on and on.

This ad focused on ONE message: Our long distance service connects you to your loved ones anytime, anywhere. Great message. Why? It appeals to a powerful human emotion – loneliness. Pick up the phone, dial another country, and overcome loneliness.

The person who wrote that ad is a great business storyteller. She terminated all other possible messages. That’s why she’ll be back.

PROMISE TO FULFILLMENT
From this day on, think of your message as your promise. What promise does your product or service make that solves a painful problem or fulfills a strong desire? Remember. The long distance service solved loneliness.

There’s no room here to explore all the dimensions of an irresistible promise. I’ll cover this important topic in a future post. I go into it in depth in my workshops.

For now, begin to master the art of presenting a strong promise by paying attention to what your prospective buyers tell you they really want and need.

WHAT COMES NEXT?
All stories, the simple and complex, have the same structure. They have a beginning, a middle, and an end. If they don’t, they are wannabe stories. You are only going to deliver well-told stories.

Middle Is Your Body
The middle or body of your story has one purpose. It proves how you will fulfill the promise you make at the beginning. This subject can fill an entire book. Here are the most important things to help you create a compelling business story.

Think of the middle as the section where you present the content that fleshes out your message or promise. How much content? Use the rule of 3. Break your content up into three distinct segments that build on each other to drive your message home.

Why three? We remember things in threes. Our brains are hardwired to do this. So, work with nature, not against it, when creating your story. Three clearly defined chunks of relevant content will make your sales message attractive and magnetic.

CRYSTAL BALL

The END of your story is the crystal ball that reveals a vivid picture of what your prospect’s life/business will look like when she buys your product or service.

A strong ending brings your story full circle. It reminds people of your promise; it even repeats the promise in a slightly different way, and it satisfies your audience by making them feel that they will get what they want by saying yes to your offer.

You get people to say yes by giving a direct clear call to action.

STORY AS COASTER RIDE

Let’s recap. You BEGIN with a promise. You fulfill that promise in your content rich MIDDLE. You END your story by painting a vivid picture of your prospect’s most desired outcome.

You take your audience on an emotional roller coaster ride.

They begin at the bottom of the hill. Your content builds tension and expectation in your audience as it guides them to the peak. Then, they experience the thrill of a lifetime on their journey beyond the peak toward the vision of what they most deeply need and want.

I promise you an exciting fulfilling ride in my FREE eBook gift to you. Enjoy it by typing your first name and email in the form on the right. Let’s ride and profit together toward your storytelling mastery.

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