Seth Godin wrote an interesting blog post on public speaking and sentences. Most speeches, he argues, are based on sentences. People give speeches and presentations one sentence at a time. They insert pauses at the end of each sentence to give the audience time to react. Godin argues that you should speak in paragraphs, or stories, which ebb and flow based on the audience’s mood.
To determine whether you are succeeding with your story, stop in the middle of a sentence. If the audience insists that you continue, then you know that you have them hooked, which is what you really want.
Although it is difficult to do in public speaking, you can do this with your writing: focus on one word at a time. Headlines and titles offer excellent opportunities to attract your audience’s attention with just one word. Some words (FREE) stand out on their own and grab the eye. They demand that the reader pay attention because there is something IMPORTANT happening here.
But I think that stories are a great way to write and draw in the audience. People read words and sentences, but building a story will actually drag them along, engage them, interest them, and want them to continue reading. People like stories because they lead somewhere. It’s the destination. Where is this going? If a story just stops, it’s disconcerting because people need conclusion.
Tell a good story, and people will follow.
Do you need help telling your stories – getting the words to say what you mean? Let me know how I can help – firstname.lastname@example.org.