One of the most undeniable feelings in the world is the anticipation created by a proper cliffhanger.
What. Happens. Next?! Ohmygodohmygodohmygod…
Our job probably isn’t to create the same emotional stir as the end of a Breaking Bad episode (unless of course, you’re Vince Gilligan and co. – I’m making assumptions about my readers here). But, it is to set up a next step, a call to action, or some sort of nod in the direction of progress.
Whatever you do, you must do this. It may not be a full-on action sequence cliff hanger, but the point is it has to be an anticipation creator.
A true sign of a pro, as opposed to an amateur, is how the pro never puts herself into a dead end. She never paints herself into a corner. She’s always got the next move (or three) planned out so that even the surprise alley fence she’s just been chased towards is still ambitiously scalable.
The amateur doesn’t know how to do this (yet). Some of their meetings end with a thud. Some of their landings, after an awkward stumble, are met with a panicked look as the prospects turn away or lose interest.
Pros know how to resolve the cliffhanger. Amateurs are stuck on the cliff (or somewhere worse).
When we leave people, after a call, or meeting, or pitch, or whatever, we want to make sure we leave them with a sense of when we’re coming back and why they want us to.
Remember – we’re on the cliff, and the next step is not going to be anyone forgetting we’re there OR a Wile E. Coyote drop.
End on tension. Hint at the next step. Have some industry appropriate stakes. Every profession has its own cliffhangers, it’s up to us to know how to use them for ours.
Decrease the dead ends. Embrace the tension -live for building it up and resolving it. Proceed with the progress.
Want help figuring yours out? Send me an email and let’s talk: [email protected]