Another classic story-telling pattern is to set up a situation where the audience expects one thing only to find another thing happens.Â A great example is another currently hot viral video. It gave me goosebumps.
Here’s one of the latest “viral videos” to make the rounds. It’s about a group of random travelers who begin dancing in time to Julie Andrews singing “Do-Re-Mi” from the Sound of Music.
I like it as an example of good story-telling. Great stories are journeys from disorder to order. This video is a great example of that.
Tonight is the first night of Passover.Â Â For many Jews, including me, it’s a favorite holiday because it’s a family get together.Â
But it’s also a highly engaging religious service. Indeed, speakers can learn a lot about connecting with audiencesÂ from theÂ Seder service.
First, the Seder is a lesson in the power of a story.Â The entire event is centered around the story of the escape from Egypt.
Second, the Seder teaches the importance ofÂ Q&A.Â One of the highlights of the event is the asking of the Four Questions.Â
Third, the Seder shows the power of audience participation and interaction. There’s responsive reading andÂ singing. There’s a mysteriousÂ open-door vigil for the ever-elusive Elijah. Â There’s even a treasure hunt.
Fourth, the Seder plate is a multi-tiered lesson in the power of analogies and visual aids to help reinforce a message.Â
So for your next presentation, think about a Seder. Tell stories. Leave plenty of time for questions. Â Find ways to get the audience involved.Â Use creative visuals aids.
A study of what makes people fall in love has implications for helping speakers connect with audiences.Â Specifically, the more personal stuff you reveal about yourself, the more likely your audience is to like you.
At least thatâ€™s the conclusion that we draw from aÂ study about what makes people fall in love.Â
In the study, researchers at the State University of New York at Stony Brook gave pairs of students scripts that urged them to reveal things about themselves in varying degrees. The pairs that revealed more about themselves tended to form closer personal bonds. In fact one pair got married.
What does all this mean for those that want to connect better with an audience?Â Simple. The more you reveal about yourself during a presentation, the more the audience will like you.Â
Indeed, at Speechworks, we urge our clients to tell stories about themselves as part of the presentation.Â Certainly you want to tell about your own success stories. If youâ€™re trying to persuade a client to hire your accounting firm, tell stories about your own experiences solving other similar accounting problems.
But itâ€™s also a good idea to weave personal details about yourself in the course of the presentation.Â Letting people know that you have children or are learning to play tennis are personal details that will help you connect with the audience.
Next time you have to put together a speech, let the audience in on some personal details of your life. They’ll fall in love with you.
There’s an interesting article in yesterday’s Chicago Tribune about Jon Favreau, the 27-year-old chief speechwriter for President Barack Obama. Â Favreau was asked what was the key to Obama’s great speeches.
His response: “Tell a story. That’s the most important part of every speech, more than any given line. Does it tell a story from beginning to end?”
Paul Harvey, who died this weekend, never used PowerPoint.Â He never interacted with his audience using webinars or modern gizmos like “twitter.”
He just sat in front of a microphone, spoke with energy, and told stories. And people listened.
I used to love Paul Harvey.Â Not because I agreed with his conservative politics.Â I think the the obituaries have over stated that stuff.
I just loved hearing him tell stories.Â When he came on the radio, I would sit in my car until his broadcast was done.Â So would millions of others as they waited to hear “The rest of the story.”
And he always had something uplifting to say.
Paul Harvey said, “Â Â Â â€œIn times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.â€
I was working recently with the President of a small financial services company who wanted help in inspiring her top producers.Â
“What should I tell them?” she asked me.
“If you want to get people fired up, lay out a plan for success, then tell a story about how that plan works,” I said.
And that’s what she did.Â She told her team members that success this year would be to open 500 new accounts. Then she detailed a marketing plan to get there.Â Â Then she told a story aboutÂ how one of the team members had added more than 500 new accounts last year.Â Â
“I could feel people getting excited as we discussed it,” she said.
There’s something about a proven path to success that gets people fired up.