…today’s secret…What comic strips taught me.

Comic strip artists are a rare breed.

They can tell a story with words or pictures or words and pictures.

In addition to being a storyteller, they must be schooled in human anatomy, perspective, lighting, and especially human emotions.

One of the secrets I learned from comic strip sequential storytelling was to determine what to put in and what to leave out.

Inside each comic panel the artist identifies what he wants to put in. The spaces between the panels are what he has decided to leave out for your imagination to fill in.

Here is a simple eight panel comic strip. What story does it tell you?

Yes, simple story here.

“A man is walking. He finds a key on the ground. He takes it with him, then he comes to a locked door. He unlocks the door. Then a hungry lion jumps out.”

If your story was that the man slowly reached down, you would need some extra panels to show movement. Remove the second panel and the key wasn’t found but retrieved, or he saw an unidentifed object. It’s all about the story you want to tell.

You are working with people who want your help. Information is what you include in your story when talking with them. Exformation is what you exclude from your story when talking with them.

One of the secrets to successfully working with and persuading people is that shorter hits harder. Don’t use two words when one will do.

If you tell them what they already know, you’ll bore them. Or worse, you’ll insult them because you think they are ignorant. And, if you assume they know things they don’t know, you’ll fail to connect with them. You waste their time. You become irrelevant.

Granted. It is not easy to know what to include and exclude.

But, here’s a story you DON’T want to tell the people you are helping…

“A marginalized person is walking. With your help he finds the key to his future. When he unlocks the door to his future out jumps his past.”

Persuade them their world can be better because of you.

Don’t make the mistake of telling them about the forces that made them who they are. Let em’ know that they are the one that creates the future that lies behind that door.