I shudder to think what would have happened had therenot been a golden retriever in that house. I might be in jail. Or dead.
Or maybe the homeowners would have laughed it off asan honest error that led to my intense humiliation.
Regardless, I probably would not be writing thisarticle about storytelling hooks right now.
When you’re telling a story, whether it’s on LinkedIn,in an email, in a presentation, or in a meeting, you need a hook.
That hook has one job and one job only – to get theaudience’s attention. That’s it.
If you fail to get the audience’s attention, itdoesn’t matter how good your story is, or how important the information is to the audience. They’ll never know.
Take the hook at the beginning of this article (it’s atrue story, by the way). It clearly worked. You’re still reading, aren’t you?
As a result, you’re now learning how important it isto grab your audience’s attention. Quickly.
But how do you do it?
In his book, The Persuasion Code, PatrickRenvoise identified six stimuli that get straight to the primal brain, which in turn helps you create messages that sell. The one that is most helpful to us in creating a story hook is being contrastable.
That’s a fancy way of saying being different orunexpected.
If you hit your audience with a hook that is sounusual, you’re all but guaranteed to stop them from scrolling. There are lots of neuro-scientific reasons behind this (read Patrick’s book), but let’s just say being unexpected tickles people’s curiosity.
There are other brain stimuli around which to buildyour hook, including making it personal, tangible, or emotional. But for my money, being contrastable – different – is the best bet for getting that initial sliver of attention. Those other stimuli are all potentially unexpected, anyway.
Side note: I highly recommend Patrick’s LinkedIn Learning course based on his book. It takes about 20 minutes, andyou’ll gain so much knowledge and insights you can put into action immediately.
Just Be Different
So the moral of the story is try to be different andunexpected as much as you can. It’s not easy, and it takes some practice and some bravery. But as you get better at it, you’ll draw more people into your stories. And your network.
Just make sure you pay your hook off. There’s nothingworse than having a hook that doesn’t relate to the story.
Which brings us back to the golden retriever thatsaved my life. As I said it’s a true story. If you’re interested, just set up a meeting and I’ll behappy to tell you the tale. While we’re at it, we can talk about how I can help you with my storytelling coaching and consulting.