One of the most thrilling and terrifying moments of my life was when I was interviewed on Oprah. My publisher, Harper Perennial, had lined up media appearances for my book tour. An appearance on Oprah was a coup for them and a chance to sell a lot of books. It didn’t matter that I was a clinical social worker who had never been on a national talk show. I guess they figured that with three hours of media coaching and a camera-friendly outfit, I would be ready for prime time.
After all, what could possibly go wrong?
Imagine you are in my audience when I shared this story. Would you be itching to know what happened next? I hope so, because that’s how I want you to feel! I tell this story in two parts during my presentations, the first part within the first 10 minutes. The audience knows I’m going to come back to the story but they don’t know when. The suspense builds during my talk. By the time I come back to this story near the end, they are dying to know what happened on Oprah!
To give you a first hand experience of this approach, I’m going to pause here and tell you the rest of the story in my next post. When I come back to it I’ll demonstrate how to use this two-part approach effectively. I hope this teaser gets you excited about reading the next post!
Do you have stories you can stagger?
If you are wondering if one of your stories would work well if you told it in separate segments, ask yourself these questions:
- Is this story substantial enough to be divided into two or even three parts?
- Is this a story you want to emphasize more than the others you tell? (When you stagger a story, you make it a sort of centerpiece of your talk).
- If you pause the action will it make the audience eager to hear what happens next?
- Can the story be customized to make several different points, depending on your theme or purpose? (It takes extra work to make this approach fly, so choose a story that can illustrate more than one of your messages).