I have changed my mind about Billy Crystal. I like him.
I never used to and I’m not sure why. I enjoyed City Slickers, I adore The Princess Bride and I love his impressions. Maybe it was the 19-minute song intro he seems to do on “The Oscars” that soured my impression of him. But I am here to tell you today, that I thoroughly enjoy him. Just watch his recent Muhammad Ali eulogy and you will see the simple reason why.
He is a master storyteller.
I am in awe of his ability to blend facts with humor and incorporate a killer payoff in his stories. He speaks quickly and without pause. He is dramatic without being verbose and his pace varies in exceptional fashion, giving his stories texture. I know this now and I’m mad at myself for never seeing it before.
These are all elements that are sometimes lost in corporate video. Typically companies have a specific agenda with their videos and they want to get to the sales point as quickly as possible. There is this thought that an audience won’t be engaged unless you tell them the reason you did the video within the first 10 seconds. That simply isn’t true and in most cases companies aren’t giving their audience enough credit. The most powerful, respected, shared, and engaged company videos are those that tell a specific story or collection of stories with a mix of humor, seriousness, and a pace that draws the viewer in much like a Billy Crystal story.
Think about the most successful sales people you have encountered in your life. What do they always do? They tell a great story. I don’t mean in the stereotypical “used car salesman” way but rather their unique ability to connect you with their product. And that is typically done in a story fashion. Who used this product or service before and how it helped them. Or, they explain a problem you most certainly have and how their product or service can help you. But they do it with a sense of realism, professionalism, and most importantly, it’s entertaining to listen to. And before you know it, you have bought the $350 vacuum that will suck up screws out of drywall.
On your next video project, throw the conventional out the window and simply ask yourself if you were at a bar or a party and had to entertain people with a story about your company or product, which one would you tell. Then tell it like Billy would tell it. Be dramatic, sensitive, or funny, but always take your time with the end pitch. Don’t rush it. Let your audience become invested in your story first and then hit them with the payoff.
Miracle Max once said, “You rush a miracle man, you get rotten miracles”. It’s true.