There are seven types of openings a speaker can start with but given that I keep my blog to 500 words I will not detail them but cover the only one that pertains to Strategic Storytelling: Stories\Persuasive.
A Strategic Story is a short persuasive argument whose purpose is explain a stand, clarify a point, or alter an opinion. The story gets its appeal from the action which occurs, the struggle of protagonists leading to some climax, and the natural tendencies of listeners to sympathize or identify with the characters.
Great movies do this by placing you in a darkened room, accenting the story with background music, colors chosen, scene staging, close-ups of facial expressions, and other effects. If done correctly you are entirely unaware of the bad popcorn taste and maybe that you ate without remembering any of the bites you took.
Unfortunately, you can’t drag your client into a darken room and play background music as you tell your story. You hold the listener’s attention through your voice, eye contact, and gestures. You must draw your listener into the story with imagery and emotions he can identify and feel. There are techniques and skills that you can learn and use, which I teach in workshops; however, there is not enough space to teach it all here.
I have a young friend, we’ll come him Erick, who wanted to start up his own business. His number one problem was where do I start? He was 22, had a Masters, no experience, but some great insights. That fear of not knowing and fearing any direction might lead to disaster caused him to procrastinated until he ‘knew’ for sure how and when to start his business.
I told him there was a story about a king named Gordius who created a massive knot. It was said, that if any man could untie it he would rule Asia. Hundreds of men tried, failed, and walked away; however, when young Alexander the Great examined the knot he made several attempts and failed. He didn’t know where the knot started or ended, the knot was most intimidating– then he said, “It makes no difference how they are loosed.” At this point, he reached down in the center of the knot, pulled out the lynchpin that ran through the yoke that loosened the knot so that it could be untied. While everyone else concentrated on how the knot was tied, Alexander focused on what was keeping it together. In the end, what seemed so difficult was easy because the lynchpin was the key to the knots existence. Alexander went forth to conquer Asia.
I then asked him what is the lynchpin in your problem? Once he did he started his successful SEO Internet business and is successful today.
Strategic Stories must lead the listener through a short journey. The end must always be a surprise or unexpected. Timing on the end is key. Because it is what lights up the ‘Ah-haa’ moment. What is your lynchpin?