To resonate with your audience, impactful demoing takes five elements: Hook, Change, Connect, Structure and Authenticity – or better said, Storytelling.
"The purpose of a storyteller is not to tell you how to think, but to give you questions to think upon."
― Brandon Sanderson, The Way of Kings
Let's take a look at the subject of the intended message. Make a list of words that you hope would ideally describe the product, service, or whatever message you're trying to get across. This exercise is essential. A compelling story isn't about making the takeaway positive and attractive. Instead, it needs to be specific and distinctive, just like you, the person delivering the content.
Next, write another list of the seven top descriptors that apply to you. Be honest with yourself because you want to be authentic with your audience and make your message resonate. Comparing the two lists, pick out common traits and begin to craft a message that's valid for the product and reflects your personal beliefs and values. We now will use these words as a guide to define your demo story and message across a storytelling landscape.
First, let's define a demo structure.
1. Beginning – What is it that you want to say?
For whom is this demo intended?
Why is it beneficial to watch the demo?
What problem will the demo solve?
2. Middle – Why do you want to say it?
Segment and highlight the top 3 actions, show don't tell.
Use pictures to help drive the point or create a situation to have your audience imagine what you want to happen.
Focus on what the product did for you, not how your product functions.
3. End – How do you want the audience to feel?
Using the list you created at the beginning, use these values to write a hook that will catch people's attention as quickly as possible (in 8 seconds by creating an unusual, unexpected action or a conflict).
"What is your personal truth? "
"What does your truth have in common with the truth of your message?"
― Roger S.H. Schulman, Author
Then, think about a Change.
A story tells how the things that happen (the plot) affect the protagonist or hero component in pursuing a challenging goal and how the hero changes internally as a result. The story is about that internal change. Think about how to convey that feeling. A solid way to begin is to use a 'What if' statement to define a theme to encaptivate your audience. With this tactic, start the story in action, trigger the senses, and focus on detail to excite and create anticipation/tension.
Use everyday events, environment, or worldviews to channel your story to connect with your audience.
The best way to connect is emotionally, so using common interests, passions, and struggles will aid your story. Some examples are:
After that, create – Structure.
A tool you can use to intertwine a personal story with your demo is the Story Spine template seen below.
By following a structure, we create an exposition that defines who the character is, what they want, where the story takes place, and why it happened that concludes with a moral.
Story Spine template
And then, have – Authenticity.
Now that you have your story in place, next are rehearsals. I bet you have heard the saying, "practice makes perfect," and that is precisely what is needed in this situation. I recommend recording yourself to see, hear, and feel how you tell a story – in the industry, we call this our Story Beats. The beats are building the structure of the story spine. I would also encourage you to practice and present to various people, like your loved ones, a colleague, and even your dentist, to see if you can grab their attention. This exercise allows you to be yourself and be a guide to your story by being vulnerable to your audience, which creates empathy and authenticity
Don't be clever.
Be vulnerable and honest.
Let your audience feel it.
Use images to guide values.
Actions speak louder than words.
Finally, consider these tips.
During your presentation, try to add and pay attention to the following
• Bring a character or story to life by acting out an accent.
• Gestures and hand movements
• Pacing out your delivery, tone, and timbre
• Put your story in the present tense
Don't – I was at the zoo, and I looked at this tiger…
Do – I see the tiger, and I start running…
• Exaggerate to make a point or a punch line
I was hoping to see the show, but as I stood in the line, one hour passed, then two, and finally, after 620 hours, I moved one inch. Luckily, I brought my moon boots and comfortably worked from my secured device.
A presentation that exemplifies the tactic:
• Make local references/elements
• Takeaway or a Callback – circle back to take away or provide a payoff for the journey/story experienced.
I leave you with this last video which provides a great example of how to include all these elements of being informative, entertaining, valid, dependable, transparent, valuable, and trustworthy from start to finish. Andrew Stanton incorporates his demo on Storytelling throughout the presentation and intertwines his personal experiences with jokes, and he builds anticipation with a variety of content. Watch this TED talk; you might take away a tactic and create your own secret sauce because the best stories infuse wonder. Use what you know, draw from it, express values you personally feel deep down in your core.