The old adage about telling them what you’re going to tell them, then telling them what you want to tell them and finally telling them what you’ve just told them, still rings true in my opinion. In other words, never lose sight of your message – ever. Here’s a few tips to help you develop a strong story that will carry your message all the way home.
1. Tell the story through the eyes of one person.
People relate to people, not to numbers. It’s much more effective to introduce one strong interview than to use testimonies from hundreds of anonymous people.
Make sure the ‘talent’ you choose is someone that the audience can relate to and show the personal side of that character as if he or she was a friend or a relative. Simply guide your candidate to tell you their story and share their experience with you. If it’s personal and convincing your audience will relate. Of course if you’re not interested in what this person has to say, your audience won’t be either!
2. Engage. Think about what’s likely to stir your audience’s emotions. Get under their skin. A good story will entertain.
A great story will stick with you for a long time because of the mind pictures that have been created in the brain. If you set about to affect your audience, you really need the images you create to resonate with each individual. By putting yourself in your audience’s shoes, you are able to devise and control your intended outcome.
3. Be concise. Take a look at some of the most popular videos on YouTube right now. Most of them are under two minutes in length. Don’t waste your time or your audience’s time by describing unnecessary details. Use as few words as possible. Use the KISS principle – Keep It Simple Stupid – and you can’t go wrong.
4. Don’t get lost in your story. Every story needs a strong beginning, a middle and an end. Plan out these three parts and stick to the plan no matter what. If you don’t, you risk the story becoming convoluted and if that happens, the message usually ends up buried somewhere. Remember clear and concise is what works best.
5. Try to make your stories as visually appealing as possible. As Rod Stewart once said, “every picture tells a story.” Not that I’m such a fan but it’s certainly true that you should let the video more than the audio tell the story. People are more visual (especially men) so construct your script to the images you have, rather than trying to find the pictures to match what you have already written. Basically you want to be simply narrating the visuals.
6. Use your best up front. You only have around seven seconds to convince your audience that your video is worth sticking with so you had better make a big opening impression in a bid to keep their attention. Use whatever you can to get them in – emotive pictures, emotive sounds – anything that’s going to pique their interest and keep them watching. Always think big opening and big closing and you’ll have them eating out of your palms.