Updated: Jan 28
Okay, imagine you’re sitting in your favorite chair, the one you love sitting in as you watch movies on your favorite screen. You can smell the butter-flavor absorbing into the popcorn as the screen begins to darken. As it lightens, you notice a dozen rows of small green numbers rapidly flashing across the screen...,
The screen begins to scroll, and through the surround sound, you hear the voice of what sounds like two switchboard operators - a man and a woman. They're discussing a third person, but until now, the only thing you've seen are the numbers of the matrix rapidly scrolling across the screen.
Behind the numbers, the female says to the somewhat skeptical sounding male, did you hear that...? Are you sure this line is clean?
The male replies, yeah, of course, I’m sure.
They hang up the phones in a frenzy, and the plot thickens.
If you're a fan of The Matrix, you can probably remember Morpheus saying,
“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.” – Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999
You see my friend, that's the beginning of a great story. The only things missing are the rest of the characters. And if you're going to be a great orator, storyteller, or public speaker, you want to make sure your stories include the five characters below. I've used The Matrix Trilogy to add value and entertainment to the subject. I hope you enjoy it.
Now, If you want to make sure your characters are as real as possible, use the character traits discussed in our Myers-Briggs and Numerology research. It's derived from the best personality research in the world.
Great characters make average stories superb and bring great stories to life. Like the characters above: Neo, Morpheus, Trinity, Cypher, and Agent Smith, from The Matrix Trilogy, they give your stories life and make them memorable. But who are they really?
Let's make it simple and keep it easy to understand and apply. Here you go..., And when you're done reading, make sure you give it a huge thumbs up and use these guys in your next presentation.
Character #1. The Protagonist.
Your Main Character | The Silent Hero | This Could Possibly Be You
Our Example: The Character Neo from the Matrix Trilogy
Myers Briggs Personality Type: INTJ - The Architect
Numerology Personality Type: 5 - The Freedom Seeker
The protagonist is the person your story revolves around. In The Matrix Trilogy, this is the character Neo played by Keanu Reeves in 1999.
Often in public speaking, you are the protagonist of your own story. However, the goal is to be the star - without looking or sounding like an egotistical jerk. If you say that you’re the star, your listeners will seek out your imperfections and use those to discredit you because no one likes a braggart. If you appear to be an egotistical jerk, or a braggart, it will put an invisible barrier between you and them. That makes it unnecessarily difficult to connect with your 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 the imperfect storyteller. One they can relate to.
Your job is to allow the other characters in your story, especially your mentor, guide, teacher, coach, or parental figure, to appear as the wise sage who comes in and saves the day with their advice and guidance. This is how you secretly get the audience to follow your example to improve their life. It also makes you appear as someone smart enough to heed great advice and wisdom. You'll be seen as the type of person they're willing to follow.
Often, as a public speaker, you’ll share short stories about other people, and those people will be the protagonist of their stories. However, if you tell the stories correctly and remember, never share a story without a good point or purpose, you’ll always shine as the star.
Character #2. The Mentor
The Coach | Teacher | Wise Sage | Your Parental Figure
Our Example: The Character Morpheus from the Matrix Trilogy
Myers Briggs Personality Type: ENFJ - The Protagonist
Numerology Personality Type: 11 - The Master Influencer
The mentor is the person that guides your protagonist through their journey and helps them 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. Morpheus, who is somewhat of a protagonist himself, caused Neo to become the hero, and eventually, the hero gets the girl and saves the day.
Our most valuable life lessons are typically the ones we’ve discovered under the tutelage of a wise mentor, coach, or teacher.
Identify and prop up the mentors in your story, so they appear to be the protagonist behind the star, like a Morpheus to Neo. This will help the audience see you as a regular person who has done something they may be interested in and capable of doing. It gives them a reason to seek advice from you.
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, the protagonist becomes the hero of the story.
If you tell the story effectively, your listeners will begin to believe that if you could do whatever you were trying to do following your wise mentor’s advice and succeed – then they will think that they can also do it and succeed. And if they need help, and your mentor is no longer there, they'll ask you for help, and you become the mentor or wise sage.
Character #3. The Love Interest
The Goal | The Target | Your Must-Have Object or Love Desire
Our Example: The Character Trinity from the Matrix Trilogy
Myers Briggs Personality Type: ISTJ - The Logical Analyzer
Numerology Personality Type: 7 - The Thinker
Character #3 is the person your first character, the protagonist, is destined to fall in love with; It could also be 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. It should be something or someone your audience will also find attractive.
In The Matrix Trilogy, Carrie-Anne Moss played the role of Trinity, the attractive - female voice in the opening scene. She’s a computer programmer and a hacker who has escaped the clutches of The Matrix. Her affinity for the protagonist was alluded to in the opening scene. It builds throughout the movie and comes to prominence when she kisses Neo and brings him back to life.
Your protagonist can have one or multiple love interests or goals; however, make sure they eventually get to enjoy, touch, hold or kiss the object of their desire at some point in the story. If the protagonist never gets the goal, your audience will become frustrated, upset, and disappointed in you.
Often as a public speaker, one of your most admirable love interests or desires will be attaining your goals; typically, a goal or desire you have in common with the audience.
As the storyteller, 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 attained the goal, make sure you build the audience up to believe you will have it. Let the audience know that its attainment is inevitable if you follow the process laid out by your mentor. And let them know, the story will be continued once the goal is achieved.
Doing this will inspire the audience to follow your mentor's advice.
Character #4. The Supportive Best Friend or Skeptic
Your Sidekick | A Close Supporter |The Weaker None Believer
Myers Briggs Personality Type: ESFP - The Entertainer
Numerology Personality Type: 9 - The Humanitarian
These are 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, to prove they were correct in their skepticism. It’s almost as if they want to be the person who said, I told you so.
The Skeptic appeals to the negative beliefs and emotions of the audience. If you can successfully prove The Skeptic wrong without killing him - you can help the audience overcome the negative emotions that prevent them from taking action.
Always prove your skeptic wrong, destroy the bad guy, and overcome the obstacle.
Your Sidekick, on the other hand, is a loyal companion to the protagonist. While the mentor shows the protagonist the way, it’s the Sidekick who accompanies the protagonist down the path. The Sidekick typically views the hero positively and is willing to sacrifice personal goals to help the protagonist achieve victory.
Joe Pantoliano played the role of Cypher, the skeptic switchboard operator in the Matrix Trilogy. Dismayed by the never-ending battles to destroy the Matrix, Cypher decides to sell out his team for the promise of being allowed to reenter the Matrix and enjoy an altered reality with 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 Neo. Just seconds before he can take Neo’s life, one of the characters he had presumably killed regains his consciousness and kills the Skeptic.
This leaves our protagonist Neo to deal with the Bad Guys who have captured and bought an end to our Mentor Morpheus. Every story needs a Skeptic, a Sidekick, a Hero, an object of desire, a wise teacher, and a villain or a bad guy.
Character #5. The Bad Guy
The Antagonist | Your Villain | The Obstacle to Success
Myers Briggs Personality Type: ISTJ - The Logical Analyzer
Numerology Personality Type: 11 - The Master Inspirer
Finally, we have the antagonist – the bad guy, who is also representative of the huge-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 is holding them back.
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 viewed as something wicked, evil, heinous, or oppressive. You want it to be seen as the source of the listener's 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 ax 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 is a link: The Matrix - https://amzn.to/2A2ViuJ
If you can master the art of incorporating good characters, stories, and life lessons 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’re ready, We’d love to help you add appealing characters and life lessons to your story, the type that will make your presentation or speech both valuable and memorable to the audience.
Would you like to improve your public speaking abilities from the comforts of your home? If you are not ready for one-on-one coaching, our best selling book Improve 11 Steps to Powerful Presentations and Public Speaking is now available and selling on Amazon.
If you’re ready to jump in with both feet, click here to schedule a FREE 30 minute strategy session and coaching interview.