Make Your Stories & Presentations Pop with These 5 Character Types
Shared by The Powerhouse Motivations Team | September 28, 2018
Written By: Ernie Davis aka The People's Coach
Imagine you’re sitting in your favorite chair; the one you love sitting in as you watch movies on the big screen – in your favorite room of course. You can smell the butter flavored popcorn as the screen begins to darken. As it lightens back up in a hue of green numbers giving the mystical appearance of a mathematical matrix or crossword puzzle you’re amazed. You can see hundreds of tiny green numbers arranged in mathematical rows and columns spread across the screen. The numbers begin to scroll down and though your surround sound you can hear the voice of what sounds like two switch board operators, discussing a third person – none of whom you’ve seen as the numbers begin to scroll faster. All of a sudden the attractive female voice says to a somewhat skeptical sounding Caucasian male “did you hear that? Are you sure this line is clean?” at which the male replies “yeah of course I’m sure.”
They hang up the phone and the plot begins to thicken.
We’ll my friends that’s the opening scene to one of my favorite stories from the Matrix movie released in 1999 by Warner Bros. Entertainment. The movie stared Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss and a host of other supporting characters. Now I only share that with you to highlight the importance that great characters make in adding value to your stories and presentations. From the Matrix movie very, few people can remember the actual names of the actors. But ask anyone who’s ever seen the movie and they’ll quickly recall the names of characters like Morpheus, Neo, Trinity, and Agent Smith. These characters where created and used by the story tellers to sell their story and bring it to life. That story earned over $460 million dollars at the box office and it continues to have a hug influence on popular culture.
It’s even had an influence on my character as the People’s Coach. In fact, you might say that I’m a little bit of a Morpheus when it comes to helping my clients reach their maximum potential, sell with their stories, and create or enjoy the lives of their choosing. That’s happiness, but it’s a different story. Today I want to share with you 5 Characters you’ll want to think about adding to your story or presentation to help your story or presentation sell and be more memorable to the audience.
Do this right and you’ll be a superstar. If you need help, I’m here for you.
Just remember …
… the choice is yours.
“You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill – you stay in wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.”
Character #1. The Protagonist
Your Main Character | The Silent Hero | This Could Possibly Be You
This is the person your story revolves around. In the Matrix Trilogy, this was the character Neo played by Keanu Reeves. Often in public speaking you are the protagonist of your own story. However, the goal is to be the star of your own story without looking or sounding
like the star or hero of your story. If you say that you’re the star your listeners will look for your imperfections and use those to discredit you. They will begin to put an invisible barrier between you and them and that makes it a lot more difficult to connect with certain audience members, at least until you’ve gained some notoriety. For this reason, it’s your job, in the beginning, to become what I like to call the silent protagonist or imperfect story teller that they can relate to.
Your job is to allow the other characters in your story, especially your mentor, guide, teacher, coach, or parental figure appear to be the star who saves the day with their guidance, mentoring, or coaching. (That is if you’re goal is to have the audience follow your advice or example to improve their life or fortune.)
Often, as a public speaker, you’ll share short stories about other people and those people will clearly be the protagonist of those stories. However, if you tell the stories correctly and remember to never share a story without a good point or purpose, you’ll always shine as the star. As you’ve probably heard, people either love or hate the messenger. Share a good story and you’ll be loved and rewarded as the messenger.
Character #2. The Mentor
The Coach | Teacher | Wise Sage | Your Parental Figure
The mentor is the person that guides your protagonist through their journey and helps them to discover truths that ultimately change their life. In the Matrix Trilogy, this was the character of Morpheus played by Laurence Fishburne. In the Movie, Morpheus was the first
person to have faith in the protagonist Neo. It was his belief in Neo that ultimately led to Neo stepping out of his comfort zone, believing in himself, getting the girl, and saving the world. Our most memorable life lessons are normally the ones we’ve discovered under the tutelage of a wise master, mentor, or coach. Make sure you identify and prop up the mentors in your story or presentation. This helps the audience to remain close and move closer to you as a speaker who’s not perfect, arrogant, or conceited.
Just remember, like Morpheus from the Matrix, Obi-Wan Kenobi from the Star Wars series, or even Mufasa from The Lion King, most great mentors disappear at some point in the story. And it’s usually when the protagonist thinks they need him or her the most. When the mentor fades into the darkness you as the story teller and silent hero of your story will become the the loved messenger and idol of the people. If you tell the story effectively your listeners will begin to believe that if you could do it following the wise mentor’s advice – then so can they.
Character #3. The Love Interest
The Goal | The Target | Your Must Have Object or Love Desire
This can be the person your protagonist is destined to fall in love with or the object of their desire. It can be a personal goal, an attractive mate, or something else that the audience would like to see the protagonist obtain and enjoy, even if only for a moment.
In the Matrix Trilogy, Carrie-Anne Moss played the role of Trinity the attractive female voice in the opening scene. She’s an attractive computer programmer and a hacker who has escaped the clutches of The Matrix. Her affinity for the protagonist hinted to in the opening scene. It builds throughout the movie and comes to prominence when she kisses the protagonist and brings him back to life.
Your protagonist can have one or multiple love interests or goals, just make sure they eventually get to enjoy, touch, hold or kiss the object of their desire at some point in your story or presentation. If the protagonist never gets the goal your audience will become frustrated, upset, or disappointed. Often as a public speaker, one of your most important love interests or desires will be the attainment of a difficult goal; typically, a common goal or desire that you have in common with the audience.
As the story teller when it comes to your lover, love interest or goal, it’s your job to build it up, make it look good – bigger than life, and describe the hard work and obstacles you had to overcame to finally enjoy it. If you haven’t yet enjoyed, then make sure you tell a different story or share a story of a protagonist who has and possibly one who will inspire the audience to follow suit.
Character #4. The Supportive Best Friend or Skeptic
Your Sidekick | A Close Supporter |The Weaker None Believer
This is actually two different Characters. The sidekick is the loyal and typically positive and supportive companion of the protagonist, while the Skeptic is typically a non-believer who’s also non-supportive of the Hero’s journey. The skeptic doesn’t believe that
the protagonist can or should reach their intended goal and may go out of the way to sabotage and betray the mission, simply to prove they were correct in their skepticism. It’s almost as if they want to be seen as the person who said, I told you so.
The skeptic appeals to the negative beliefs and emotions of the audience and if you can successfully prove the skeptic wrong, without killing him, you can help the audience to overcome the negative emotions that prevent them from positive action. Always prove your skeptic wrong, destroy the bad guy, and overcome the obstacle.
Your sidekick, on the other hand, is the loyal companion of the protagonist. While the mentor shows the protagonist the path, it’s the sidekick who accompanies the protagonist down the path. The sidekick typically views the protagonist in a positive light and is willing to sacrifice their personal goals to help the protagonist achieve victory.
Joe Pantoliano played the role of Cypher, the Skeptic switch board operator in the Matrix Trilogy. Dismayed by the never-ending battles to destroy the Matrix, Cypher decides to sellout his team for the promise of being allowed to reenter the Matrix and enjoy a normal life of tasty foods and entertainment. In a later scene, as he turns his weapons on the team to aid the “Bad Guys” in victory, he kills off two lesser known characters and moves to destroy the protagonist Neo. Just seconds before he can take Neo’s life one of the characters whom he had presumably killed regains consciousness and kills the Skeptic.
This leaves our protagonist Neo to deal with the Bad Guys who have captured and apparently bought an end to our Mentor Morpheus.
Character #5. The Bad Guy
The Antagonist | Your Villain | The Obstacle to Success
Last but not least we have the antagonist – the bad guy, who is also representative of the hug obstacles your protagonist must overcome or defeat to claim victory. The “Bad Guy” doesn’t have to be a person. It can be a thought, idea, action, or behavior that’s
preventing people from the realization or attainment of some higher goal or objective. It can be fear, poverty, racism, or any other such thing you might be able to conceive and have the audience believe.
Your job as a public speaker or presenter is to paint the “Bad Guy” in such a way that everyone wants to see it contained, defeated, or destroyed. You want the “Bad Guy” to be seen as someone or something that is wicked, bad, heinous, or oppressive. You want it to be viewed as the source of the listeners problems, pains, and struggles. It should be something your audience would like to see defeated, destroyed, or overcome.
In the Matrix Trilogy, Hugo Weaving plays Agent Smith; A pistol toting crony or civil servant with an axe to grind. His character is cold, unperson-able, and willing to kill anyone who wants to help good people escape the clutches of The Matrix.
He will stop at nothing to capture and kill our protagonist, but as you can probably tell, goods stories become great in the build up and anticipation of the outcome. If you haven’t seen the movie in a while I recommend you enjoy it today. I recently watched it for $3.99 on Amazon Prime. Here’s a link: The Matrix - https://amzn.to/2A2ViuJ
If you can master the art of incorporating good characters, stories, and life lessons or points into your public speaking and sales presentations you will Lead the Field.
Just remember: Not every story will include every type of character and you’re never limited to only five characters. But it should be stated that the story becomes more complex and difficult to follow with every character above three. For this reason, I suggest you work with a pro to help you identify and incorporate the best characters to make your story sell. If you’d like to work one-on-one with one of the top presentation coaches in the world contact us today. We’d love to help you add the type of characters and life lessons to your story or presentation that will make your presentation or speech both valuable memorable to the audience.
Would you like to improve your public speaking abilities from the comforts of your home? Our book Improve Your Public Speaking in 30days or Less: The Entrepreneurs Guide to Public Speaking was written with you in mind. You may also be interested in our Speaker Empowerment Program: 11 Steps to Powerful Public Speaking.
If you’re ready to jump in with both feet, contact your Powerhouse Presentations and Public Speaking Coach today at
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