Leave it Out!

Leave it Out

What is the Leave it Out! story tactic?

Tell us you've left something out and we will work hard to fill in the gap. And then we feel like it's our story too.

How big is the dragon on the front of this box? Waaay big! How do you know, you can't see him? Sometimes what we don't see is the best part of the story. Horror movies give us a hint of danger, and we imagine the rest. Ernest Hemmingway told the saddest story in just six words: "For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn."

Tip: try Data Detectives to find story-worthy gaps in your research.

How to use the Leave it Out! story tactic

When you've got a first draft of your story or presentation (or you're trying to freshen up an old one) try this:

  • What could I leave out that my audience is expecting to hear?
  • How could I hint at what's been left out?
  • What gaps would people try to fill for themselves?
  • How can I make them ask "What happens next?" or "How did we get here?"
  • How could I leave them wanting more?

And for a test worthy of Hemmingway--how could you write your presentation in just six words?

Mind the Gap

We don't like gaps in our knowledge, but we tend to fill them with assumptions and prejudices. So it's worth doing a sense-check with your audience:

  • Have they filled in the gaps in the way you expected?
  • If not, what does this tell you about your assumptions and theirs?

You might like these Storyteller Tactics

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Leave it Out! is one of 54 storytelling recipe cards inside the Storyteller Tactics card deck.

Ditch dull presentations and tell great stories that influence and inspire your team, stakeholders and customers.

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