Obi Wan

Story Secrets for Speakers #7 – Die with grace

Can you remember the shock you felt in the Lion King when Simb’s father, Mufasa dies? Or when Gandalf is overcome in the dwarf’s mountain? Or in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince when Dumbledore is slain? Or in Star Wars when Obi Wan Kenobi is killed by Darth Vader? Stories teach us that every mentor or guide must die, otherwise the hero cannot learn to stand on his own. This is the seventh and final story secret for now. If you had managed to fulfil your duty in all of the other six secrets, you must die as the guide to those in your audience. If there is one pain all speakers feel, it is the fact that they only have a short time to influence their listeners and then it is over. Heartbreaking statistics do their rounds: Only 12% of an audience are actually listening, the others are worrying, daydreaming, thinking about lunch or, surprise, religion (recorded by Paul Cameron; assistant Professor at Wayne State University). People remember only 10% of what they hear and 20% of what they see (Edgar Dale’s Cone of Experience). How do you make the best of the little time you have?

Let us review secrets number 1 to 6:

  1. Paint a picture of the possibility contrasted with the pain of the current reality.
  2. Call on the Hero’s Character This is the chosen one, the one whom the prophesies mention
  3. Demonstrate your magic: by providing a personalised tool
  4. Your secret weapon and the power of 3,5 and 7
  5. Introduce the travelling companions so they know who is in it with them
  6. Reframe the situation with a fresh perspective when the pawpaw hits the fan

Then, when Simba is at his most desperate, he looks into the sky and sees an image of Mufasa calling to him: “Remember who you are.” Gandalf reappears when he is most needed as a white wizard, Dubledore find Harry in a dream-like limbo place to guide him one last time and Obi Wan appears in a flickering of the Force as Luke seeks aid. As speaker, you too can engineer such a re-appearance at the request of the hero in your audience. Five ways to reappear:

  1. Promise them an eBook if they give you their contact details. Time your eBook so that it reaches them within 30 days before they have forgotten you.
  2. Let them sign-up for your news letter. Now you can appear to them every 30 days. Motivate them to sign up by doing a lucky draw on all the sighn-up forms you collected.
  3. Give them a worthwhile gift like a book or CD with some of your wisdom in it. Mind you, course notes don’t work so well because they are too easy to throw away. It is much harder to throw away a book or CD.
  4. Give them a free App to download.
  5. Ask them to tick different boxes for how they want to stay in touch so you can friend them on Facebook, connect with them on Linkedin or give them a personal call, if that is one of the options. People love this one, I have done it and even though they ticked the box that I may call them, they are always surprised when I do.

The trick is, here that they must be able to find you when they look for you. It must be their choice. IF you appear to them in emails or calls without their request or agreement, they may confuse you with the villain of the story. Villains appear when you don’t want them and they are invasive, disrespectful and intrusive. Villains get killed and do not come back from the dead – or if they do, they become super villains or arch enemies… Better to die with grace and reappear as a surprise in a dream than die in disgrace and become a nightmare. Dr. Petro Janse van Vuuren Researcher, Speaker and Coach Need a speaking coach? Contact Petro Interested in a course in facilitation and coaching? Click here Looking for a speaker or storyteller at your event? Contact Petro

Dr. Petro Janse van Vuuren

Researcher, Speaker and Coach

Need a speaking coach? Contact Petro

Interested in a course in facilitation and coaching? Click here

Looking for a speaker or storyteller at your event? Contact Petro