Show, Don’t Tell

Sales NegotiationThere’s an old joke in the speaking business that goes something like this:

Q. “Do you have to be funny when you deliver a talk?”
A. “Only if you want to get invited back.”

There’s a similarly sardonic truth that applies to communications, whether for ad copy, speaking with clients or training a new vendor or emplyee.  It goes something like this:

Q. “Can you get a point across without demonstrating what you mean?”
A. “Only if you want it to impact your audience.”

Jim Rohn, acknowledged by thousands of top business leaders as a “guiding light”, wove all his teachings into easily remembered stories and maxims like:

“If you don’t like how something is, change it.  You’re not a tree.”

He’s not just telling you that you can change your life.  By inviting you to picture yourself compared to a tree, well, you have to feel at least a little surge of confidence, don’t you?

Dr. Nido Qubein, veteran speaker, direct marketer and more recently President of High Point University, has transformed that school from a rather stodgy local college to twice rated #1 among regional colleges in the South and “Up and Coming Schools”.

In a talk I’ve seen him give, he pulls out a bag of chocolates from Wal-Mart and asks “How much would you guess these cost?”

Next, he pulls out a luxury box of chocolate truffles from Harrod’s, obviously priced much higher.

“Basically, chocolate is a commodity, so what’s the difference?”, he asks.

And goes on with the rest of his talk, about the power of “packaging”.

In all three cases, what drives the point home?  The logic is there, but it’s a lot more than that.

It paints a meaningful picture for the listener, reader, viewer, participant.  Nido, Jim don’t just tell you… They show you.

Apply that technique in all your communications – with employees, vendors, prospects, customers, and whether in person, on the phone in emails, or on web pages, brochures, postcards, videos, etc. and see if you don’t get better results.

To your wildest success!