Kevin Hart’s 3 Secrets To Hilarious Storytelling


Kevin Hart is an absolutely captivating storyteller
and he’s made a career out of the ability to instantly hook people and then make them
crack up. The good news is that he wasn’t simply born with the ability to tell a great
story. Anyone can learn to do it, and if you’ll stick around till the end of this video, you
will have the three most important tools to do so, because while there are tons of techniques,
the most important thing you can learn are the mindsets that lead to great stories; the
kind that get people cracking up and begging to know what happen next. That’s what we’re
talking about today. But, first, let’s talk about how you can get a group of people to
even listen in the first place. Look how Kevin Hart turns all of these guys, who are talking
to each other, into a quiet audience. What you see right here is the most overlooked
aspect of storytelling, and that is capturing attention before you’ve even started. When
I listen to most people tell stories in real life, I see people start and stop because
no one is listening, or people who struggle through because half the group is carrying
on a side conversation. If you’d take just a few seconds to make sure you have the attention,
you can save those failed stories. Kevin’s stories are one on the fact that he
grabs your attention at the beginning and he does that in a number of ways. Check out
two of them here. Yeah? And then you got asked to meet the President
of the United States. Huge. Huge. I mean… Let me tell you why it was huge, Jim. It occurs really quickly, but the two pieces
are: First, giving the story a preamble. Let me tell you why this was huge. Kevin does this
all the time, and it’s because that creates intrigue that will grab attention. Here’s
another quick example from the same interview. and then, he greet people and shake hands,
and I said, we’ll put you in the front of the podium. True story, very formal. True story. I’m in
the front, the President comes down. So you just heard Kevin say “true story” twice.
That is a preamble. When someone says that, the implication is that whatever is coming
next is unbelievable, so that you definitely want to listen in. Those two words are a great
way to hook attention, provided that you don’t abuse them. Now, going back to the first clip and watching
it all. Yeah, yeah. And then, you got, you got asked to meet the
President of the United States. Huge, huge. I mean… Let me tell you why this was huge, Jim. The second thing to notice here is that Kevin
says his name, Jim, and even if that’s a different version of his normal name, Jimmy, which makes
him chuckle. But the underlying point is that nothing makes people sit up and pay attention
like the sound of their own name. Now, I’m sure you’ve been in a conversation
and heard your name from across the room, but, immediately, you had your attention sucked
in that direction. Saying people’s names, basically, puts them in “listen mode,” because
what’s coming next is relevant to them. That makes it a great way to get people’s attention
at the beginning of a story, or even while you’re already telling it, if you see that
they start to drift out. Another great way is to let people know that
you’re on your way out, like in this clip. I see why people buy them exotic animals. If you
go to Dubai, you come back, you think it’s okay, ’cause that’s all they got. I went over a
sheikh’s house in Dubai… I’d say I’m gonna tell you all these and then I got to go. So Kevin just said “I’m gonna tell you all
these and then I got to go.” And by making this his last story, he creates the sense
that they had better listen up and you can’t use this one unless you’re truly on your way
out, but it does work well. In any event, calling their names, saying
true story, telling them that you’re on your way out, these are all just examples. The
key that underlies all of it is this. Do not ever get into a story without first
having attention from your intended audience. Now watch how Kevin will, literally, repeat
himself three or more times to make sure that he isn’t starting without attention. When have you been the awkward guy and when
have you been the sort of cool and controlled guy? Well, Louis… Right now Let’s uh… I think it’s happening. I’m the cool guy.
Kevin is incredibly awkward, in a way Well I think we need to be honest here. I
don’t think I have ever been the awkward guy. Same principle applies to when you’re already
in the middle of a story. Sometimes, when you’re already in the middle of the story,
sometimes distractions come up. People walk in, there’s a side conversation. Kevin literally
tells people to listen before he continues. Check it out. An orangutan comes out on a four-wheeler.
Listen to me. Listen to me. That don’t look like Dubai, that looked like… No, that’s just… that’s the… that’s the
orangutan’s quarters, okay? So, so… They had quarters? The orangutans, they got like the quarters. Listen to me. Understand how he came out,
like… So you see it there. Kevin doesn’t plow forward
until he answered those side questions and he has the attention to continue with the
story. And you could see it even more clearly in this next clip. Some of us came dressed as 1980s video games. So, here, Kevin and Josh got to telling a
story about how they went to a strip club and Josh was dressed completely ridiculously.
Josh interrupts to make a joke at Kevin. They’re going back and forth, but notice, how, coming
up, Kevin will not, actually, continue with the story until the attention is fully on
him, and he repeats himself several times to get the attention there. So, you see there, they’re telling this kind
of shared story where they ping pong back and forth cracking jokes. But when Kevin is
ready to continue with the story, he repeats what he was going to say three times before
the attention comes to him, and then, he starts. The key to this, which so many people miss
is not to get attention with your story. You get attention before your story and you don’t
proceed until you have it, otherwise it’s going to fall flat, or you’ll just wind up
trailing off. That is the first critical piece–getting attention. The second key is committing to your story.
And I see so many people start really well. They get attention, but then, they squander
it because they’re not committed to telling their story. They summarize it rather than
actually telling it, or their voice will trail off, giving people the impression that the
story kind of just doesn’t matter. I want you to contrast that with this next clip showing
what real commitment looks like in storytelling. Look how expressive his gestures are, how
locked in he is on George Lopez. Everything that he is sub-communicating is that his story
is good. And you also hear him putting on that Puff Daddy _ voice, which is another
part of committing to the story–playing the characters. And here’s what that looks like
at its best extreme. Now, that’s just one of Kevin’s different
characters, and he’s got tons of different gestures and voices for lots of different
characters. In fact, that’s where a whole lot of the comedy from his stand-up comes
in. That’s what keeps people hooked during his stories, and you can see how quickly he
switches between characters and how that creates moments of hilarity in this next clip. The nice thing about playing characters like that
is that they let you spice up the middle of your story, and you can make moments that
may not have been funny seemed totally hilarious just by playing up a character. That’s how
you learn to tell stories that are longer and longer, but, still, get people sucked
in, which brings me to my next point. In order to figure out what gets people sucked in, you have
to experiment. Now look at this interview from 2011. Now, check out this stand-up special just
a few years later. Kevin was working on a joke and developing it. He actually used it years later in a stand-up set. Now it’s not any secret that stand-up comedians workshop their material. They go to small clubs and test jokes just to see how they go over. The
reason that they are so hilarious is that when you actually go to see them, their entire
hour has been split test against crappy jokes. The only things that make it into that final hour are the funniest jokes and the best material possible. So, you can and sure do the same thing with
your stories. Now, obviously, you’re not going to clubs, but for instance, when something
gets a laugh, use it in multiple situations, right? And you can see Kevin Hart does the
same thing. Now this focusing on what actually works isn’t
something that you need to do at the end of a story. This is something that you can do
live. When you hit a beat that gets people in hysterics, keep going on it. Take a look at this clip. These are all from the same joke in that interview. More important, though, than simply getting
laughs is to actually be a scientist of that first thing that we talked about–attention.
Notice the parts when people gets sucked into the stories you tell. Notice how and why you
tend to lose people when you tell stories. And the next time you feel like you tell a
dud of a story, spend a minute, go back, and figure out exactly where you lost people.
If you do that, you will naturally start to cut the pieces that lose people and focus
on the good bits. So, I hope that that has been helpful. A big
thing that we talked about in this was commitment, so we’ve set up another video that has an
exercise to help you immediately get into that more expressive, enthusiastic state,
and it’s something that you can do in under a minute and it’s great for getting you into
the right mental frame, not just for a story, but for a presentation, an interview, a date,
basically, anything where you need to be on. So, if you want to see that video, go ahead
and click the link that will pop up now. It will take you to another page where you will
just drop your email and you’ll get immediate access to that video. It takes about five
minutes to watch. If you like this video and you want more of
it, subscribe to the channel. We got tons more breakdowns on first impressions, storytelling,
confidence, all kinds of different celebrities, and all different kinds of stuff on being more charismatic. So if you subscribe, you’ll see those on YouTube home page as soon as they come out.
Go ahead and do that. Of course, leave a comment below. If you have
any suggestions of breakdowns, and, especially, any questions involving how to deal with conflict,
I’m going to be creating more videos on that topic. So if you have a situation in your
life that is bothering you–with a boss, a coworker, a friend, whatever–write your question
related to how to deal with conflict in the Comments and we might actually be able to
make a video to help you handle that situation. Anyways, I hope to see you in the Comments,
hope that you enjoyed this. I am Charlie and I will see you in the next video.

One Reply to “Kevin Hart’s 3 Secrets To Hilarious Storytelling”

  1. I hate when people say my name before they're about to Tell me something. It's like they're using a tactic to get my attention and I immediately find them insincere.

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