We’re celebrating the 4th of July here in the United States. Fun, friends, and …
"Fireworks! I love the fireworks. Watching them always makes me feel like a kid."
"One of my favorite stories is about a fireworks show gone wrong. I used to be in a service club called the Jaycees. Many local Jaycee chapters put on the fireworks show, particularly those in small towns. I heard about one chapter’s show, in particular. One year, at the beginning of the show … not more than a few fireworks in … they lit one that misfired. It hit the pile of all the remaining fireworks! BOOM! An amazing display … but their whole show was over in less than a minute!"
Nothing like having your grand finale at the beginning!
There is an art (and some luck) to putting on a good fireworks show. As we were talking about this, we thought it was interesting how it relates to storytelling.
It kicks off with a little burst that grabs your attention right away. Then you get into the flow. There’s a certain rhythm to the fireworks, often synchronized with music. The rhythm changes throughout the show. At times, they’re firing off quickly; at other times … a little more slowly.
When you tell a story, start with an attention grabber and then get going. Vary your pace with the action of your story. Talk faster to imply that things are developing faster or slow down when it’s called for. Make your timing fit your story.
Usually you’ll see a pseudo-finale about half way through the show. They give you a taste of what the grand finale will be like.
"Sometimes it’s so good that you think it is the finale! You get bummed that it’s almost over."
As you tell your story, depending on its length, think about how you can get them to anticipate the climax as you near the middle. This will keep them engaged and wanting more!
The grand finale
This is what everyone’s been waiting for. It’s almost sensory overload with so much going on at once – the sound, the sights, the colors exploding in the sky … one right after the other, sometimes on top of each other.
"You feel your heart start pounding faster … that rush of adrenaline. You’re in awe and you don’t want it to end."
"You don’t want your story to be like the Jaycees’ fireworks show I mentioned earlier. You want it to build, and build, and build …to your final line – the point of your story. You want your audience on the proverbial edge of their seats. Leave them wanting more … realizing why they should listen to you."
5 additional ways to get the most bang out of your next presentation
It’s unlikely that you would use all of these in a single presentation. However, variety virtually guarantees a better response from your audience.
- Start or end with a good joke. People love to laugh. It gets them fired up!
- Think more graphics, less text. It gives your message more pop!
- Blend video in. It gives you a break and can get your audience to react.
- Have a running theme – a key word or phrase – that you keep coming back to. This provides a little spark throughout your presentation.
- Finally, use sound effects.
"In case you haven’t heard our show today, listen in to see how we used sound effects to make it more fun. At least we think it is!"
Keep in mind … you’ll get the biggest bang if you mix it up!
(Image by lokigrl616)