Create Deeper Levels of Audience Engagement
In the last three posts, you’ve read about how to set up your story to and create audience interest. Introduce a compelling character in relatable circumstances. Then show your hero pursuing a worthwhile goal. These steps set the stage for your audience and lead to the fourth step in Michael Hauge’s storytelling format –
For a story to be memorable and create emotion, it MUST have conflict. Romeo and Juliet would be forgettable if there had been no feud between their families. The movie JAWS wouldn’t have sold 1,000 tickets if it was about a shark swimming a safe distance away from the beach.
The Impact of Conflict Enhances Your Story
Your stories won’t be impactful on the audience unless you show the conflict in your life. My story ‘Full Throttle’ highlights my experience driving a real Indy-style race car. By myself. With other cars whizzing by me at fast speeds.
That alone didn’t create all of the tension. I was eager to drive on that track until I sat in a mandatory orientation meeting. The one where they show videos of accidents. And explain in graphic detail all that could happen if you don’t follow the rules.
When I walked out of that session, I had transformed from wanting to see how fast I could drive to simply wanting to survive. As I drove the car onto the track, I had that same feeling you get when you’re strapped in a roller coaster car that’s slowly climbing up hill. You know that thought of, “Well, I might not survive this, but, it’s too late now.”
The Importance of Increasing the Conflict
As the first few laps of the ride unfolded, my anxiety grew. Other cars quickly zipped past me. The warnings of the orientation kept replaying in my head. And then, another thought… ‘You’re blowing it! You’ve waited all these years to do this and you’re driving scared! Go faster, man!’
This is the increasing conflict in the story. With each passing lap, MY anxiety increased. I was experiencing an internal battle – fear of wrecking versus the regret of not going faster.
When your conflict is well-delivered, your audience experiences ‘edge-of-their seat’ moments. They want to know what happens next. They’re fully engaged and open to hearing what you have to say.
Two Types of Conflict Enhance the Power of Your Story
There are two types of conflict in memorable stories – external and internal. The external conflict sets the stage. For instance, an argument with a spouse, the threat of a job loss, or an opportunity to drive a race car.
The external conflict isn’t always relatable to the audience. You may have heard speakers talk about climbing Mt. Everest, winning an Olympic Gold medal, or overcoming a serious physical injury. Most people haven’t experienced these.
That’s why the internal conflict is critical to creating a connection. These uncommon stories can be effective when the speaker shares the feelings experienced during the ordeal.
The mountain climber may have had to consider the possibility of death. The Gold medalist may have had to overcome self-doubt. The injured individual may have dealt with pushing through the physical and emotional pain.
HOW they did this is what the audience wants to know. If it’s a process or new way of thinking, it might help them when they face their next obstacle.
Share your conflict on these two levels and the audience will be 100% engaged. They will be ready to hear the next step of the story.
Which you’ll read about next week.
Have a terrific week crafting your story.
‘Storytelling Made Easy: Harness the Power of Hollywood Storytelling Magic’ by Michael Hauge
Imagine if every time you give a speech, make a sales presentation, or lead a meeting, you instantly motivate and inspire others to take action.
You can – by telling more powerful success stories.
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=> 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 powerful
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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