Telling your Story: Act 4 - The Process

The Process

As I get older, the types of movie characters I love change.

Do you find that?

Take Star Wars.

When I was a kid, I loved Han Solo. He was rebellious, popular, and charismatic.

He wasn’t everything that I was, but he was everything I admired. Everything I wanted to be.

Fast forward, and my preference has changed. Solo isn’t interesting to me any more.

Luke Skywalker in the new films is (old Luke, not young Luke).

He’s flawed, cynical, and disillusioned as to whether he can ultimately redeem himself from past failures.

Some of those parts I associate with, others I aspire to.

Why the change?

In 1993 it was Han Solo. In 2023, it's old Luke Skywalker.

Because I empathise with him

Which is why I gravitate towards him.

I’m not:

  • A Jedi
  • Speaking with dead aliens in hologram form
  • Planet hopping in an X-Wing

And that’s the power of empathy.

We have this ability to feel the emotions and distress of another person, even when they’re seemingly from another world.

And because I see enough in Luke’s emotions to identify with him, I lose myself in the film, rooting for him to get his desired outcome.

But there’s another critical aspect at play here too.

In order to empathise, it needs to resonate

It’s why I don’t want to watch When a Monster Calls again.

Not for a while. I cried too much the first time.

I even cry if I hear the soundtrack on Spotify shuffle.

When a Monster Calls is a real tear jerker for any parent.

I’m not giving away any spoilers here, but if you have young children right now, When a Monster Calls will make you feel something.

It’s emotionally powerful.

But I doubt I’d have cried after watching the film in my mid-20s.

Because this movie is about a single mother suffering from terminal cancer and her young son's struggle in dealing with that.

I’m not single. I’m not a mother. I don’t have terminal cancer.

But being a parent and having three young sons was enough for the distress to resonate with me.

And because it resonates, I empathise.

Act 4 - The Process

Up to this point, you've built a story to resonate with your prospect.

They identify with the hero, the desired outcome, the monster, and the struggle.

We do the same in Act 4 but shift gears slightly.

We aimed to align the prospect with our thinking in the first three Acts.

You can’t skip this step. If our interpretations of the problem aren't aligned, they won’t consider what we have to offer.

You can’t sell the solution before the diagnosis.

You can't deliver the solution before they've accepted the diagnosis

But once we have sold the diagnosis in Acts 1 to 3, we can move to the solution in Act 4, and we’ll deliver it in a way that helps the audience empathise with your process of producing the desired outcome

Let’s continue with the example in previous emails.

In her TED talk, Zoë Karl-Waithaka is selling the following idea: How marketing could improve the lives of African farmers.

Here’s the fourth section of her presentation. The Process:

  • Now, this has actually been done outside of the US, too. In Kenya in the 1980s, there was a National School Milk Program and many Kenyan children went to school and received packets of milk. It became part of the local diet, so they grew up and continued to consume it. Today, Kenya has the highest rate of consumption of dairy in East Africa. So, how do you take these examples and use them to improve the livelihood of farmers?
  • Step 1) Development community - Increase funding for demand in addition to supply.
  • Step 2) Governments - Use budget to ensure a constant pool of demand (like Kenya did).
  • Step 3) Farmers - Work together with jointly funded marketing projects.

(I paraphrased some of the above for brevity).

Here’s the structure of this section:

First you give an overview of someone you helped. Then you tell us the three steps it took to deliver that result.

That's how you build The Process

Give us an example (Kenyan milk program) of someone like your hero (African farmers) who you helped to achieve a desired outcome (high consumption - high demand).

Then, in three steps, tell us your process for delivering the outcome. You’ll bring this thing to life and help your audience imagine themselves taking the steps to achieve this outcome.

At this stage, your prospect's pulse is rising. You’ve pulled them in. They feel like they believe your diagnosis and trust your solution. Now it’s a case of tying this all together, enticing them to take action.

That's what I cover in the nest article: Act 5 - Connecting the Dots

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