Perhaps the biggest challenge I see as a storytelling consultant is this:
Most people are inserting too much information and backstory into their narrative.
What is the impact on your audience when you do this?
The Lunch Buffet Effect.
You remember buffets, don’t you? In pre-pandemic days, you and I could go to restaurants that fulfilled our every gluttonous desire.
And what would often happen when we would go to these restaurants?
We’d follow the herd, walking through the line of delicious choices, fill our plates with mounds of food that triggered our taste buds and olfactory senses to the max.
We’ll sit down and start attacking said plate. As we neared the end of our feast, this thought would enter our heads:
$10.99 is a lot of money to spend for one plate of food. I’m going back for more.
And we did. Sometimes more than once. And this was the end result…
Over-stuffed, tired, and ready for a nap. And definitely not in a frame of mind to make decisions.
How is a Buffet Like a Story?
When you fill your listener’s plate with ideas, data, and backstory, by the time you finish, they’re stuffed. They have one thought, “No more. I’m ready for a nap.”
There are various reasons that speakers create these kinds of stories, and we’ll dive into that in another post.
For today, let’s address how you can stop stuffing your audience and give them just enough to want more of what you have to offer.
5 Simple Steps to Your Memorable Story
Since our ancestors began telling stories, the most memorable ones that have passed down through time have these five elements:
- A relatable CHARACTER living her everyday life but then encounters a problem that pushes her out of her comfort zone.
- To overcome this challenge and get back to her comfort zone, she sets a new GOAL.
- After some minor initial successes, she encounters OBSTACLES which increase in strength and impact, leaving her unable to solve the problem on her own. At this point, she meets The Guide. This individual provides her with wisdom and a new perspective on how to solve her problem.
- After some initial reluctance to implement these new ideas, she eventually experiences victories that continue until her MOMENT OF SUCCESS, when she accomplishes her goal.
- She now sees the world differently and is living a NEW LIFE within an expanded comfort zone and appreciation for her situation.
That’s it! Those are the five elements you need to leave an impact on your listeners.
Create the first version of your story with those five elements, share it with others, get feedback, make changes, and repeat the process. You’re well on your way to creating a story that leaves a lasting impact on others.
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