Does Your Story Create a Lack of Empathy?

My fiancée Linda and I were watching one of our favorite TV shows. In an exasperated voice, she said “You know, I don’t care what happens to this guy!”
 
‘This guy’ was an Iraq war veteran suffering Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD].  His problem was that he wasn’t likable at all. Not because of the PTSD, but because he didn’t demonstrate one positive trait. The writers of the show didn’t give us insight into his good side, or create empathy.
 
Just the opposite – he created antipathy.
 
Linda’s comment inspired two questions:
  1. When you tell a story, are your characters likable?
  2. Are they people your audience will root for?
Far too often, speakers tell stories without developing the personalities of their characters.  They don’t give you background, history or insight, so the audience doesn’t feel a connection. 
 
For example, a presenter could introduce her protagnosit, Mary. She’s a woman struggling to make ends How to Create Audience Interest in Your Storymeet and keep her family together. 
 
This is generic information, about a common situation. And it doesn’t give you insight into Mary’s character.

A Better Way to Reveal The Characters in Your Story

What if, instead, you describe Mary as…
 
A single, British immigrant. Her face is etched with the stress of caring for two young children by herself. She works by day as a waitress and attends night school to earn her accounting degree.
 
One evening, she’s sitting at the kitchen table in her tiny, one bedroom apartment. In front of her is a stack of bills and an open checkbook. The anguish on her face gives insight into her difficulty in deciding which of her bills she can pay this month.
 
What can you learn about Mary from these two brief paragraphs?  She’s hard-working, caring, under immense pressure, and responsible. She is struggling to financially survive.
 
Now, do you have feeling and compassion for her? 
 
Can you relate to her?  
 
Keep in mind, you learned this information about Mary in two, short paragraphs. 

The Extremes of Character Description

On occasion, presenters make the mistake of giving long-winded descriptions.  As you can see in the previous example, this isn’t necessary.  You don’t need to give every detail about someone, just important points.
 
More often than not, speakers offer almost no insight into their characters. You’re left to guess about what type of people they are.
In a few lines, you can give your audience insight into the key players of your story. You can provide hints into their personalities. You can create the bridge for the listener to connect with those people. 
 
Describe a few key details about your main characters. You’ll pull your audience into your story. And you’ll eliminate the odds of them ever saying “You know, I don’t care what happens to this guy!”
 

RECOMMENDED RESOURCE

Storytelling Made Easy by Michael Hauge Storytelling Made Easy
 
HARNESS THE POWER OF HOLLYWOOD STORYTELLING MAGIC
 
Imagine if every time you gave a speech, made a sales presentation, or led a meeting, you could instantly motivate and inspire others to take action.
 
You can – by telling more powerful success stories.
 
Read this book and you will:
 
=> Eliminate the fear, frustration, and overwhelmed feeling that can accompany the thought of writing or telling stories
 
=> Select the type of story best suited to your product or service  
 
=> Incorporate the six steps of every successful story 
 
=> Easily develop a simple, entertaining, and persuasive writing style that is uniquely your own
 
=> Master the principles of great storytelling within a variety of arenas: speeches, sales pitches, company meetings, e-mails, videos, podcasts and testimonials
 
=> Deliver your message clearly, emotionally and powerfully
 
=> And more
 
With this groundbreaking new book, you’ll not only attract more clients and customers and multiply your revenue; you’ll move your audiences and readers toward more connected and fulfilling lives.
 
To pick up your copy, click here.
How to Create Audience Interest in Your Story ultima modifica: 2017-08-26T17:49:04-04:00 da Michael Davis

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