Making the boring stuff fun

Advice from the Masters

The leaked manuscript from the Spielberg/Lucas/Kasdan brainstorming sessions that gave us "Raiders of the Lost Ark" is a terrific read. Try:

"So Indy’s in Cairo with his friend. We're at a scene that we know will be full of exposition, that is, the Staff of Ra was too long for the Germans and they’re digging in the wrong place. So the question was, "what are we going to do to make the scene interesting so the audience doesn’t fall asleep?" And the idea was presented that this exposition could be done over dinner that’s been poisoned. As they pick up tainted food and gesture with it, we fear for their lives. They loved it.
And I've been saying this for years - great exposition is always given in the context of something else.

Exposition is the part of a tale where the audience needs to learn certain information, fast. There are various ways of presenting exposition, but however you swing it, the content remains facts, facts, facts. Yawn.

Now, in almost any service offering, there are things that the customer needs to know, but which are basically pretty boring. Closing times, prices, extras, "small print" - facts, facts, facts.

So, if we take the advice offered by Steve, George and Lawrence, we would be asking ourself what context we could place this "exposition" in, to stop the customer falling asleep.

Rather than writing your closing times on the door as "We close at 6pm", why not have a giant red 24-style countdown clock showing "minutes of shopping time remaining"?

Why not print your refund policy - with your next sales announcement and a discount coupon - on the inside bottom of your carrier bags?

Why not make your receipt something that the customer will want to keep?

What's the story that your customer experience tells? How could you fit your facts-facts-facts into the story, rather than tacking them onto the beginning or end?

(Keep reading - here's more on presentation structure, closing your presentation, and which tools to use. Or, for about 20 more ideas, check out "presentation technique" on the list of themes to the right.)

Indy pic by The MofoJT at flickr

1 comment:

Drew Tarvin, Office Humorist said...

Adam--this is a cool idea, and great example using Indiana Jones. The added benefit is that not only will people enjoy the experience more, but they'll probably remember the exposition even better because it was done creatively.