Make sandwiches very visual and create curiosity

September 16, 2009

niet-zonder-vorkThis is a picture I got from Richard.  Richard is at least a half day a week on the streets making pictures.  You can find every day a picture by him on his site.

You can’t eat our sandwiches without a fork.

What mental images do you get by reading this?  A huge plate with vegetables and other things?  It’s very hard not to imagine something when you read this sign.   At the same time it makes you as a reader curious.  It creates an open hole in your knowledge.   The good thing is that you can close that hole on the spot.  Our brain is wired to fill these holes.   Walk in and find out….

It combines concreteness, credibility and a bit of surprise.


Example from Life’s a Pitch

September 14, 2009

A couple of weeks ago I moved the the book Life’s a Pitch (Stephen Bayley & Roger Mavity) from my candidate booklist to my active booklist.Life's a Pitch

The book has great insights and great stories.

The next is story is from this book. It’s about Sir Gerry Robinson. He has been Chairman of the Arts Council and delivered a great pitch to Tony Blair.

His pitch is great because it simple, very concrete, emotional and credible.

The next is from the book p112

Gerry was choosen to run the Arts Council because the Blair Government thought the Council was badly and extravagantly managed, so they wanted a hard-headed businessman to get hold of it and cut the waste. But when Gerry studie dit, he quickly decided the arts needed more money not less. I asked him how he pitched this difficult case to the very people who had put him in place to recommend the opposite.

Gerry answered :

I had to point out that the problems weren’t just the inefficiencies, although there was some of that, but the arts were just ludicrously underfunded. Any civilized nation should fund the arts properly. I felt that it was a credible proposition for me to be saying that rather than someone from the arts world.
I just knew that the way to get the money was to point out that was needed, £200 million, was in real terms absolutely bugger all. I reminded them it was just about the cost of one F-11 jet.

Gerry used concreteness, surprise, emotion and credibility to be understood, remembered and to change behaviour.

The credibility didn’ t came from the message itself. It was Gerry who gave the credibility. If it had been somebody from the Arts Council and not a tough businessman the message would not have had credibility.
Gerry surprised Tony Blair. Blair expected to hear ideas for cuts inbudgets.
“Any civilized nation” is a great phrase for building identity. It creates emotion because who wants to be prime minister of a nation that is not that civil anymore.
Gerry used the concreteness for his audience. In order for Tony Blair to be able grasp the amount Gerry used an image from his world.


Busting the Mehrabian Myth

September 6, 2009

This urban legend is told by a lot of trainers and consultants. Mehrabian is a professor who is best known for his research on verbal and non-verbal communication. One of his findings is that tone of voice and body language are also important next to his words. In certain situations (communication about feelings and attitude), the influence of the communication is based on 7% words; 38% tone of voice and 55% body language.

This “7%-38%-55% Rule” has been overly interpreted in such a way, that some people claim that in any communication situation, the meaning of a message was being transported mostly by non-verbal cues, not by the meaning of words. And that’s not true. This is a nice example of an urban legend that is still being spread because some principles are very strong: simple (voice and body language are very important); unexpected (words count only for 7%) and credible (because the source is a professor).

Some people have already started a campaign to stop the Mehrabian myth. This movie explains it very well.