Low budget horror movies are hit or miss. Yet you don’t actually need Avatar-levels of affluence to make a successful scary movie. Witness: The Blair Witch project, which required five actors and some twigs to whip past a camera. The trouble is, low budgets are often frustratingly synonymous with dreadful acting and unbearably bad dialogue.

The worst offending cliché is the emotionally simplistic character. A clearly traumatised teen desperately tries to tell Mom that she’s just seen the threat, right there, right there! Mom dismisses it all as ‘teenage silliness,’ even in the wake of a trail missing kids and dismembered bodies. Under the circumstances, Mom must either have an extraordinarily low IQ, or be the unthinking cardboard creation of a bad script-writer who is slavishly following conventions.

It’s annoying because it’s not a budget issue. It’s a maturity issue.

This week, though, my wife and I unearthed a gem; a little Spanish-language movie that successfully bucked that trend.

It’s called ‘Aterrados,’ and it is brilliant. Not Shakespeare brilliant, but horror-movie brilliant. Cheaply shot, with very little in the way of effects, what separated this one out was just the believability of the characters

For instance: The corpse of a young boy returns from the grave and sits, immobile, at his mother’s kitchen table. It’s a deeply creepy scene, and the Mom is understandably catatonic. Two policemen try to decide what to do about all this - the rotting body is perched, unmoving, waiting for a resolution - and the way they debate their next step is vividly realistic. Neither character quite knows what to do, and neither is deeply or simplistically invested in their own position. They’re scared, off-balance and unsure of how to proceed. The whole thing worked.The movie is an unsung mini masterpiece.

Now let’s switch track and talk about experts.

Many business coaches today focus on how to become ‘future fit.’ It’s a good genre, and speakers on this topic have never been more relevant. Yet here’s the trap many fall into: ‘I shall mount the stage and terrify them all with shouted threats about how fast everything is moving!’ The formula is obvious and simplistic: ‘Wow, you should be so scared! Look how terrifying it all is! Fast, fast, fast!’ And so, almost everyone does it.

I think it’s the opposite of what such an audience actually wants and needs.

A more considered and ultimately more useful approach might follow the formula: ‘As a calm and reasonable guide, I offer you this invitation: Don’t panic. Let’s talk sensibly about what’s actually going on here, and how you can usefully cope with it.’

At a speakers convention I attended in New Zealand, the worst presentation on a three-day agenda followed the formula: ‘Turn to the person on your left and shout ‘Yes!’’, a technique that is really more appropriate for nursery-school children than a global assemblage of professionals. The best presentation was by a National Geographic photographer, on the topic of graffiti in caves in the South of France drawn by Australian troops during World War I. The essential difference? One presentation followed an obvious and fairly idiotic convention. It did the obvious thing to do. The other was a thoughtful exploration by a grown-up expert speaking as to a room full of thinking adults.

Every genre, every field, every practice has its predictable clichés and go-to stereotypes. The icons that stand out from the rest, though, don’t just ‘do the convention.’ They resist becoming ‘another one who…’ They actually do something much simpler, but far superior: They speak to the audience with the assumption that they are addressing adults, and they set the scene for a reasonable conversation.

What are the worst offending amateur bombshells in your industry? How could you utterly buck them, and present yourself as the high-level expert, the mature version of? That one guiding distinction alone could help you to own your industry.

Douglas Kruger is a multiple award-winning speaker, focusing on innovation and expert positioning. Books like his, ‘They’re Your Rules, Break Them!’ are bestsellers informing his conferences speeches for leadership audiences. Book him as the motivational speaker for your next event at www.douglaskruger.com.