Famous astrophysicist Carl Sagan would be expected to frame any proposal around facts, figures, data and information. He had formed a core idea for his next book, Contact, and rather than just telling Peter Guber the facts and data that a scientist might normally utilize, he simply asked a question, “If you received an interstellar greeting card to build a ship to take you to ‘them’ would you do it and would you go?” By doing this as the inciting event for their conversation, he made Guber a participant in the story, not just a passenger because he aroused Guber’s curiosity. Guber’s response revealed to him why this project was so personally irresistible. Sagan knew what he was doing!
As they sat in Guber’s backyard, Carl weaved the basis for his passion for the SETI – search for extra terrestrial intelligence – program. His continuous questions triggered Guber’s questions in return and they passed the story back and forth as a conversation. Inside of a business proposition, he’d left Guber with the ultimate cliffhanger and Guber would have to buy the rights to the film for the book he was going to write to see what happened next. Guber could hardly wait – even if meant putting his money where his mouth was. Guber bought the rights to the yet-to- be-written book, and began with Lynda Obst, then an executive in Guber’s company, the development of the screenplay for Contact. Although, sadly, Carl would not live to see the end result, the story he told that day eventually led to the Bob Zemeckis movie with Jodie foster released by Warner brothers in 1997.
MORE ABOUT TELL TO WIN
To validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.