Wired for Story: The Writer’s Guide to Using Brain Science to Hook Readers from the Very First Sentence comes out today. Its author is Lisa Cron.
I have only read the Contents section and a few pages of the introduction, but nevertheless I am buying the book on Amazon NOW, and if you’re serious about your public speaking and presenting, you should get it too.
Why? Because first of all, before you speak, you have to write, or at least shape or structure the flow of your information.
So you’re a writer, and like any writer, you want to hook your listeners from the very first sentence. And then you want to keep them hooked.
Second, everyone in the business world seems to be talking about story, but most of us don’t know what it is, its component parts, how those parts are assembled, and why it’s more important to our evolution and to modern society that opposable thumbs.
Third, the book is based on brain-science, which confirms what artists and philosophers have intuited for ages: our brains are hard-wired to absorb information through storytelling.
Fourth, most training in public speaking is about delivery—how to stand, look people in the eye, use your voice, use your hands—how to develop executive presence and professional stature—in essence, how to fake confidence.
But a poorly organized talk will not be improved by good delivery: it will remain dull and hard to follow no matter how effective your delivery.
So understanding the diverse elements that constitute a well-told story will enable you to sell your ideas, get your point across more effectively, prepare in less time, reduce your anxiety and hassle, and look good in the eyes of others (all of which add up to more money.) And you won’t have to be a brilliant performer. You just have to build your talk effectively.
So, to whet your whistle, here are just a few items from the Contents section of the book.
How to Hook the Reader
Cognitive Secret: We think in story, which allows us to envision the future.
Story Secret: From the very first sentence the reader (and listener!) must want to know what happens next.
How to Zero in on your Point
Cognitive Secret: When the brain focuses its full attention on something, it filters out all unnecessary information.
Story Secret: To hold the brain’s attention, everything in a story must be there on a need-to-know basis.
I’ll Feel What He’s Feeling
Cognitive Secret: Emotion determines the meaning of everything—if we’re not feeling we’re not conscious (or paying attention.)
Story Secret: All story is emotion-based—if we’re not feeling we’re not reading (or listening.)
This book brings together two vastly different streams of human thought: the mapping of the physical world by hard science, and the mapping of our inner world by the great writers, poets and novelists.
Leaders, executives, and aspiring influencers of all stripes will benefit from what this book has to teach. Improving the quality of presentations in the corporate environment can bring energy, direction, and speed to decisions and initiatives of all kinds. We need to learn how to write presentations that capture and hold attention just as much as we need to know how to deliver them.
Sims Wyeth & Co. provides public speaking courses, executive speech coaching, presentation skills training, voice and speech training, speech writing, and courses that address stage fright, body language, presentation strategy, and effective use of PowerPoint, all of which contribute to greater executive presence and personal impact.