Inside, a massive snake was coiled around a tree branch. His head was tracking something in the opposite corner of the terrarium.
Michael pointed with his finger at the object of Muscles’ obsession. A little white mouse was trying to hide behind a pile of wood shavings.
Peter Guber said hopefully, “Are they friends?”
“Do they look it?”
“No. The mouse is trembling.”
Michael said, “We have to feed Muscles live mice, otherwise he won’t eat. Dead ones don’t get his attention.”
“So why doesn’t he just go ahead and eat it?”
He said, “Because he enjoys the game. First he uses fear to get the mouse’s attention, then he waits, building tension. Finally, when the mouse is so terrified it can’t move, Muscles will close in.”
That snake had the attention of that mouse, and that mouse had the attention of that snake — and Michael Jackson had Guber’s attention.
“That’s drama,” Jackson said.
“It sure is!” Guber said. “This story has everything — stakes, suspense, power, death, good and evil, innocence and danger. I can’t stand it. And I can’t stop watching.”
“Exactly,” he said. “What’s going to happen next? Even if you know what it is, you don’t know how or when.
“Maybe the mouse will escape.”
Michael let out one of his high, strange laughs. “Maybe.”
If Guber had the slightest doubt about Jackson’s command as a teller of stories, it evaporated that day. The art of his tell profoundly and clearly taught Guber that nothing grabs our attention faster than the need to know what happens next?
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.