How to Communicate Like a Movie Does
Why what they taught you in speaking school is wrong!
You go to the theater to watch a new release. After paying for your ticket, you shell out a day’s wages for the refreshments.
You walk into your theater with Pibb and popcorn in hand, pick your favorite spot and, if you’re like me, you’ve eaten at least half the popcorn before the previews are over.
And then the movie starts…
…the Paramount logo dissolves to a craggy, jungle peak. The back of a man enters the scene and stops on the crest of a hill, silhouetted, a coiled whip at his side and a fedora on his head. He pauses. Others follow as they cross over the crest.
The group makes their way through the jungle. Someone ties a donkey to a tree. A local parts branches to uncover a sinister face carved into the side of… something. A cave? An ancient stone building? Bats fly out of the faces mouth, and the local freaks and runs.
The behatted man, back still to us, checks a map. Two others look on nervously. (Who is he? Where is he? What’s he after? What’s going to happen???)
A misty shot by a creek cuts to a closeup of three men discovering a poisoned dart stuck in a tree. More trekking through the hazy jungle. A title appears: South America, 1936.
We’re almost 10 minutes into the movie before we get to the beginning of the actual story of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark!
How about you? Do you know how to keep an audience on the edge of their seats? Or, do they snooze?
When you give a presentation, a speech, a workshop, a sales pitch… here’s how you might have been trained:
- Tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em.
- Tell ‘em.
- Tell ‘em what you told ‘em.
Ever heard that?
Now I ask you… have you ever watched a movie that started off telling you what was going to happen, then show it happening, then wrap up the exciting conclusion by showing you what they showed you???
Or read a novel like that?
And why not?
Because the “tell-‘em-what-you’re-going-to-tell-’em, tell’-em, tell-‘em what-you-told-‘em” structure is B-O-R-I-N-G!!!
So why would you bore your listeners by doing that? Sure, it’s easy to remember. And it’s equally easy to put your audience to sleep, never to get your point across, not to make the sale.
Admittedly, it’s more work. But if you want to get your point across, try doing it the way a movie would.
Start with a tease. Then introduce a setting, then a character. Start a story.
The one thing in a movie or a good novel that keeps your attention all the way through is this one major question:
What happens next?
Want to keep your listeners listening with the same kind of engagement? Want to keep them on the edge of their seats?
Give your presentation like a movie.
Keep using the…
- tell ‘em what you’re going to tell ‘em
- tell ‘em
- tell ‘em what you told ‘em” model…
…if you want to disengage, bore and put your audience to sleep.
- Tease ‘em
- Transport ‘em
- Touch ‘em.
Start using a story-based model with a little teaser, a setting, a character… and tell it in a way that makes them ask, “What happens next?”
Yours for better, keep-‘em-on-the-edge-of-their-seats presentations!
Dennis (Hey! Who ate the popcorn!?)
P.S. Once upon I time, I was a nervous, boring speaker, tied to my notes. Then some kind people in various settings gave me some help. It’s my life-long pursuit to become better and better at what I do. And now, I love helping people like you become better communicators through a workshop on storytelling as well as personal coaching.
Send me a note. Let’s change those bored audiences into engaged, inspired, motivated people. After all, you never know which one of them might change the world!
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