Chapter 33: ADD SIZZLE
A few years ago one of our clients was running a meeting and he talked about how to plan effectively. He said that when you plan, if you don't factor what has happened in the past, it's like planting cut flowers and expecting them to grow.
Bob Elliott of Boca Grande
We've already talked about using an attention getter to hook your listeners. Along the same lines, we find that the best communicators are the ones who add attention getters to keep their listeners engaged. Here are three different devices you should try.
Analogies: The communicators ace in the hole. Analogies can help clarify complex ideas, bring boring ideas to life and make concepts stick.
A fifth-grader by the name of Collin had to give a presentation to classmates on the pancreas. He had discovered the pancreas has two primary functions: secrete enzymes to help digest foods and secrete insulin to regulate blood sugar. Collin told his classmates that the pancreas was like a football coach; it knows when to send in the offense 9enzymes0 and when to send in the defense (insulin).
Editors' note: Bob Elliott, creator of the Boca Grande Camera club and board member of the Boca Grande Art Alliance, spent a career improving communications at large corporations such as Pfizer, Cigna and Westinghouse, where he witnessed many of the faux paus detailed in the book "Make Your Point," which he co-wrote with Kevin Carroll. As a communications consultant he developed relationships with top American companies such as General Electric, MasterCard and Wal-Mart and also worked with personalities such as model-actress Cindy Crawford and tennis star Jimmy Connors. The preceding was an excerpt from "Make Your Point,"which is available at amazon.com.
Surprising statistics: Don't just recite boring numbers. Find numbers that get your listeners to say: You're kidding me! I didn't know that."
The New Yorker reported this surprising stat in its Aug. 17, 1998, edition: the typical mutual fund investor expects returns from the stock market of 34 percent over the next 10 years, which implies that the Dow will be at 136,500 in 2008.
That's a grabber.
Humor: we're not suggesting you start your next conversation with the CEO by saying: "so a nun and a rabbi walk into a bar."
But we are saying you should find ways to add a little levity when speaking with others.
People who have a good sense of humor and can laugh at themselves are more interesting to listen to and are more persuasive.
It doesn't have to be professional standup. One client kicked off a conference by saying: "Here are the Top 10 reasons we decided to hold this meeting in New Mexico during the summer." He got his laughs and the attention of the group.