“Being honest is what counts. Trying to make the ordinary extra-ordinary is so much better than starting with the extra-ordinary.“

Where to find compelling stories

When we look for compelling stories, we tend to look for the extra-ordinary. Yet, more often than not, the stories that fascinate us most are the stories that are taken from real-life. Asked about his biggest influence, comedian Ricky Gervais puts it this way:

Being honest is what counts. Trying to make the ordinary extra-ordinary is so much better than starting with the extra-ordinary. Because it doesn’t really connect.
[…]
If something is real for one person, it touches their life. I think, as a creator and a director it’s your job to make an audience as excited and fascinated about a subject as you are. And real life does that.

This is not about being funny as Ricky Gervais, though. It’s about resonating with your audience. Just like Gervais, as communicators it’s our job to make our audience as excited and fascinated about our ides as we ourselves are. In particular, this means:

  1. If you yourself are not fascinated by your idea, why would you expect your audience to be?
  2. Stories from real life fascinate people.
  3. People are fascinated by people.
  4. Real life is much more fascinating than you think.
  5. If you do not find anything fascinating in normal life, you do not look closely enough.
  6. Ideas that fascinate people relate to their lives.
  7. If you are looking for wow-effects, you either didn’t look closely enough or your idea doesn’t relate to the lives of the people in your audience.
  8. When people realize how an idea relates to their lives, they get an aha effect.
  9. Aha-effects are stronger than wow-effects.
  10. Real life creates aha-effects.

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Dr. Michael Gerharz

Dr. Michael Gerharz

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