Storytelling Course Lesson 4: Who Is The Hero Of Your Story?

Think back to the fairy tales you were told as a child. Realise that in every one of those stories there’s a protagonist. (Some examples: Goldilocks, Alice in Wonderland, Cinderella.. and the list goes on.)

Master storytellers pick the traits, trials and tribulations of their main character very carefully to ensure that audiences relate to the experiences of the ‘hero’.

Too often, presenters approach the audience in a way that positions their own brand or person as the hero. Let me give you an example:

You’re pitching your service to the board of a multi-national firm. A large part of the pitch is concentrated on your company and the service you offer.

What most people would think is: “Well, the prospect needs to know what they’re buying right? They’re buying what we have.” Correct.

What presenters tend to forget is that the audience care very little about what you can do, they only care about what you can do *for them*. There’s a big difference.

Rambling about your companies decades of experience and processes does not set you apart from the other 5 firms pitching a similar service.

Aristotle theorised 3 big canons of rhetoric – Ethos Pathos Logos – very useful for persuasion. These translates more into literal meanings affecting Credibility, Emotion and Logic respectively. Your company’s bio can serve to fulfil Ethos and Logos, but influencing them emotionally to make the decision requires a lighter, subtler touch.

Remember that the people you’re presenting to are the ones you need to convince. The only way to do that is to appeal to or affect their existing beliefs and paint the experience from their point-of-view.

Could you describe in vivid quality what is the output they can expect from your firm? From their position, what does a day-in-a-life look like after they procure your service? Does this ‘dream’ make their current state look like a torturous predicament?

For your next presentation, consider how you can ensure that the audience members are the protagonist(s) of your story and centre it around their needs. You’ll be surprised how quickly they warm up to you.