What makes a great story exceptional and memorable for years, versus an ordinary story which is quickly forgettable? There can be several reasons. I believe the most important is: bringing that story to life through dialogue. How do you do that?
In previous articles, you read about the concept of the two minute story. How it can be impactful, help you stand out from the crowd and create a desire for other people to hear more about what you do.
The way that works in a two-minute story is through the use of dialogue. Most speakers, storytellers and salespeople tell their stories in narration. They’ll say “Bob did this” or “Joe said that.”
The best way to convey the feeling of a story is to actually put people in the scene. What this means is to let the characters say the words instead of you reporting on them.
For example, in a previous article, I talked about my Dad setting the foundation for my business philosophy. It was the manner in which he acted during difficult and stressful times. As you may recall, when I was 11 years old, there was a day in Cincinnati when tornadoes were touching down all over the city.
I was scared. In that scene, I said, “Dad we’ve gotta get to the shelter, now!” He calmly reached out, put a hand on my shoulder and said, “Just wait, Mike. That tornado is at least 10 miles away. And I think it’s about to break apart.”
Sure enough, thirty seconds later, it did.
With dialogue, don’t you feel that you were there, in that scene? I could’ve said “I was really nervous that day; I wanted to run to the shelter. My Dad calmed me down with some reassuring words.
Are the facts correct? Absolutely.
But do you feel that scene when I just report the facts? By sharing Dad’s words through his voice, you’re more likely to feel like you were there.
Do you think about someone in your life, maybe your Dad, Grandmother, or other figure, who had a calming impact in your world? That’s what this story is designed to do. It’s not created for you to know my Dad. It’s purpose is to bring you into my world temporarily so you can then think about someone that had a calming effect in your life.
When this type of story is properly developed and delivered, you make a deeper connection with the listener.
Another example from my Dad’s story is when the 30-something man walked up to Dad in a the lobby of a Friday’s restaurant and said, ” Mr. Davis, you probably don’t remember me, but, you had a big impact on my life. You gave me confidence that I didn’t know I had when I was 14 years old. And your class actually shaped the direction of my career. I just want to say thank you.”
I could’ve reported that the young man approached Dad and thanked him for all he’d done when the young man was in Dad’s eighth grade biology class. Factually, it’s correct, but you don’t get the emotion of the scene, do you? And you don’t feel the impact that my Dad, the teacher, had on one of his students.
If you want to bring your story to life and stand out, use dialogue instead of narration. What you’ll find is that people are drawn to you faster and at a deeper level. They’’’ be much more likely to ask you to either have a second meeting – if you’re in a sales situation – or ask you back to speak. A short two-minute story can sell people on the idea that they need to see you again. That’s the power of the two-minute story when you bring it to life.
Until next time, always remember you have a story that someone needs to hear. Tell that story well and you’ll impact more lives than you can ever imagine.