Spark Interest In Your Stories

Do people ever tune out when you’re talking at length? Maybe when you’re telling a story or describing something?

Well I’ve got something that’ll help you with that.

You’ve heard of an elevator pitch, right? It’s a super short and succinct way to explain something… usually used in business to talk about what your company does or what your product does.

The idea is that if you bump into a potential client or investor in an elevator, you only have 20 seconds or so to pique their interest. So you cut out absolutely everything that doesn’t achieve that goal. Your only goal in that 20 seconds is to spark interest… not to give information.

Because once you have their interest, they’ll give you their attention. And that’s when you give them the actual information.

Can you see where this is going?

Whenever you talk about something at length (describing something, telling a story, or whatever) … are you introducing your monologue with an elevator pitch?

Or are you just describing all of the information linearly?

Here are two examples.

  1. 1.

    “I took an overnight bus with my girlfriend from Krakow to Berlin last November… so it was Winter.”

  2. 2.

    “Man, I got off an overnight bus in Berlin and saw the weirdest thing.”

I’m telling the same story in both cases, but which opening sentence are you more likely to pay attention to?

Number 2, right? Because I’m pitching you my story, and you’re literally paying for it, with your attention!

Even though number 2 gives you a lot less information, it sparks your interest.

So instead of starting with who, what, where, when (the actual information), spark their interest first with WHY the story is significant. why you’re sharing it in the first place. But without giving the whole thing away.

That’s how you keep people from tuning out. You make them want to know what happens next.

And you don’t just do it at the beginning of the story either. You can do it in the middle, like this:

“Wait ’til you hear what she does next. I was laughing so hard I couldn’t breathe.”

Because now you want to hear what made me laugh that hard. I’ve opened a loop, and you need closure, so you’ll listen.

And remember that this isn’t just for stories… you can do this before you say anything.

Look at the first three sentences of this chapter again. That’s my elevator pitch:

Do people ever tune out when you’re talking at length? Maybe when you’re telling a story or describing something?

Well I’ve got something that’ll help you with that.

If you have any interest in holding people’s attention, you’re going to give me your attention because I’m offering you something that you want.

I think that’s the main point here.

Use your elevator pitch to offer people something they want. Whether it’s laughter, important knowledge, a surprise, a warning, a life-changing experience, an emotional rollercoaster, etc.

Make it clear that whatever you’re going to say next, at length, is offering that particular thing. Because without making that clear first, they have no reason to keep listening.

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