Using Personal Stories and Adding Suspense to your Storytelling
Jane Praeger’s thirteen years of documentary filmmaking helps her coach executives and improve their presentations. She says,
“I realized I could bring all I learned about narrative, theme, characters…to the business world… where it was missing.”
Initially Jane delivered media training. One day a client complained, “Everyone falls asleep when I speak.” He sent Jane a video but “he didn’t seem too bad.” Only after she read his speech did she understand the problem.
The content of his speech was painfully boring. He didn’t need presentation skills – he needed better content!
Rather than go into media training mode and film him speaking she spent the entire session helping this man rework his content, his thesis, and his point of view. Most importantly they added stories and made it suspenseful. She said they never got around to using the camera but told him “go try this out and call me in three weeks and we will do some camera work.” After he didn’t call she checked in. He told her “I don’t need media training anymore! Everyone is awake and I even get applause now!” Media training was targets delivery and performance but most of the time it is a content problem.
The best part for me is how Jane explains using suspense and surprise makes stories exciting. Here is a clip from the end of one of Jane’s documentaries. Heart stopping, suspenseful, and packs a punch. Have a look:
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