Why Most Stories Don’t Connect

An important aspect of stories is the goal of the main character. What does this individual want to achieve?
Too often, speakers present this ‘finish line’ in vague terms:Create Deeper Interest With This Key Story Element
– A financial advisor tells the story of a couple who want to “Retire comfortably.
– A health and wellness coach talks about a client who strives to “Live a healthier life.
– A speaker talks about how she wants to “Bring more education opportunities to underprivileged and minority students.
Are these worthy goals?
On the surface, yes, but, here’s the problem…
They’re too vague and fuzzy.

The Power of Specificity

What does it mean to retire comfortably? Or live a healthy life? Or bring more opportunities to underprivileged and minority students?
You don’t know. Every person listening runs those phrases through their own filters. And they each have a unique interpretation because there’s no context. The idea that the speaker is trying to sell gets lost. The listener doesn’t feel emotionally tied to vague concepts.
For instance, consider the financial advisor from above. Prospective clients aren’t inspired by the term retire comfortably because:
1) The phrase is overused and,
2) There’s no context or clarity about what it means.

What’s the Solution?

To solve this ‘vagueness problem’ give details about the character’s objectives. From the examples above:

– The financial advisor: “Jeff and Marie told me, ‘We want to stop working when we’re each 62. We want to travel to the East Coast three times a year to spend time with our kids and grandkids. We also need $8,500 each month to allow us to travel and give to our favorite charities.’ “

– The health and wellness: “My client Jim told me, “I need to be up at 6:00 AM every morning with energy to get me through the day. I want to lose 30 pounds in the next 6 months and keep it off. I also want to start an exercise program – work out five times a week in the morning to get my day started off the right way.

– The speaker: “I want to change the education system. Over the next 5 years, let’s increase test scores by 33% for our grade school kids. This will enable half of them to qualify for our college prep high schools.”

Do you see how specificity paints a clearer picture?

What is an Emotional Trigger?

These details trigger emotional connection in the listener. What does this mean?
What happened in your mind when you read the examples with specific details?
When I do this exercise in workshops, attendees tell me they think about their own situations. They’re reminded of their specific retirement goals. Or their health objectives. Or their own charitable objectives.
This response is counter-intuitive to what you might expect. I’m sometimes asked, “If I tell someone my specific goals, won’t they lose interest? That’s not THEIR goa.l
I understand this knee-jerk reaction. But as you’ve experienced, the opposite is true. Hearing someone else’s details causes you to think about the specifics of your own.

How Can This Help Your Business?

Stories can help you cut through the ‘marketing noise’ and stand out from your competition. But, only if they create an emotional bond with the listener. Your story will connect with and influence others to take action if you describe your character(s) specific goal. This is the relatable finish line that your audience also wants to achieve. It will tap into the listener’s emotions. And it will lay a foundation of trust that is necessary for them to do business with you.

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Create Deeper Interest With This Key Story Element ultima modifica: 2020-09-27T19:58:01-04:00 da Michael Davis