Storytelling?! but why?
[...] Little did she know, that she was about to enter an exciting new world...
If your attention has ever been held for a few minutes whilst listening to every detail of what someone was saying, and you felt strong emotions course through you, you've felt the effects of good storytelling.
Like waves that came out of nowhere, your breath became shallow, you heart rate increased slightly, your focus was sharp and you imagined being there, in the moment, with the character you were listening the story of...
No matter where we are, whichever the context, we're always hoping to hear a great story. Stories have been our way of passing on knowledge since we were living in caves more than 25000 years ago, and we've only been using the written form for about 3500 years... so the spoken language has been our go to communication method for a lot longer than PowerPoint...
Some people have a natural talent for this, Simon Sinek for example. Brilliantly illustrating this point, the opening line on his website is:
Imagine a world in which the vast majority of us wake up inspired, feel safe at work and return home fulfilled at the end of the day.
The use of the word "Imagine" compels us to do exactly that, to consider the possibility of what he is suggesting in the rest of the phrase. He has not instructed us to take action, just to consider the world that might be, and we've done the rest, we've filled in the blanks.
Might that be exactly where we need to take our audience... a place where they can fill in the blanks... A place in which they can imagine a world in which we might like to live...
If you watched his now famous Ted talk "Start with why", you'll even hear his voice narrate the quoted sentence above as you read it. How better to create engagement than to get people thinking of what could be...
If we listen to Steve Jobs in this video about marketing, he teaches us that it's not about the product, even less about the features, it's all about the story that is told and how the audience receives it.
At a biological level, we're hardwired to react to certain cues, some are fun and inspiring, and others scary and unpleasant. Getting your audience to take action follows the same logic - and action should be part of your plan when you are address your audience.
Ask yourself what you want or need your audience to do, and figure out how you can get them to take action willingly and in a timely manner. Sometimes, telling them blankly "I need you to X" is exactly what they need to hear to act. More often than not, before they act, they will need to see the value of what you are proposing before they make the first move.
Here, we need to tune in to: WiiFM...
What's in it For Me?
A Call To Action (CTA) should be clear and simple, and more often than not, if your audience understands the value that is in it for them, you will get them from static to movement - whether you want the to like & share, click & follow, read & respond, get in touch, etc... you need to know what value they want out of the interaction.
How did we get from storytelling to defining a clear CTA?
See the CTA as the conclusion to your story line, in which your audience becomes an active participant... just remember to focus on the value that you are providing the person listening.
Given that you got this far, we must have written something of value... so let's put what we preach into action:
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