What makes one presentation far superior than the next?
What makes you want to binge-listen to some podcasts and just reject the others? What makes one book so readable while the other one is boring?
It's the concept of info-tainment. Where information is used to get attention, but entertainment is used to keep that attention. Find out more in this episode.
Every morning when I go for my walk I listen to podcasts and I listen to audiobooks
As you know, I also learn a language, but whenever I'm headed out towards the café, it's always podcasts or audiobooks. I started to analyse. I started to think about what is it that I really like to listen to.
Now obviously you get a lot of speakers and a lot of different topics, so you can't just boil it down to one thing, but you can. The one thing that I like to listen to, and I find that a lot of people like to listen to, is something called infotainment. That's information and entertainment.
People like to learn stuff, become more intelligent, but they don't want to be bored along the way
It's not just a matter of presenting the information in a good way. You literally have to provide entertainment, so how you provide entertainment. As part of my analysis I started reading a lot of articles and books. I started listening to more audiobooks, and then listened to some presentations as well, and I figured out the difference. The difference is a story well told.
I like to split up stories well told into three categories
- The first is the good analogies and bad analogies
- The second is good case studies and bad case studies
- Third are history lessons.
How do we use these concepts to make our information more interesting?
To make our articles more interesting, and especially to make our presentations more interesting? More importantly, why would analogies, case studies, and history lesson be so important. The reason is very simple. Information is tiring. That's it. Whenever you give someone information, if they already know the information, they are just revising the information.
If you give them new information, some new concept, so new methods, it starts to seem very nice and very interesting, but as you go past five, ten, 15 minutes, the brain is trying to work out not only what you're saying but also how to apply it, so it gets extremely tiring. That's when the brain needs a break. The brain not only needs a break but it could also do with an example. That's where analogies, case studies, and history lessons come into play.
Let's start off with the first one, which is the analogy
In this episode we'll do something slightly different. I'll talk about good analogies and bad analogies, and good case studies and bad case studies, and so on.
Let's start off with the good analogy
What is a good analogy? Well, let's start off with what is a bad analogy. I'm sitting there with this photographer and I've been trying to get in touch with him for quite a while, and he's been fobbing me off. Then eventually we sit at this café. It's about an hour and he's going on into this bad analogy after bad analogy after bad analogy. What is this bad analogy?
He's explaining to me how photography should have strong foundations. He talks about a house that's built on sand vs. on rock. The point is, has he given me any new information? Is the analogy any different from something I know before. When he's using that analogy it's very boring.
I've already heard the story of the house built on sand vs. rock. Then he goes on to even more analogies. I can't tell you what those analogies are because I was completely bored out of my skull. The whole one hour that I was there, he went into analogy after analogy, and then talked about photography in the middle.
But I was fast asleep. This is what happens
Your customers are going to be fast asleep because your analogies are not interesting
What makes interesting analogies? You can get interesting analogies from day to day life. I just told you an interesting analogy. I told you about boring, but I didn't tell you about boredom in a way that you probably heard before. I told you a story about the photographer and how he was boring me to death.
In The Brain Audit we talk about the seven red bags
You probably heard the story but you might as well hear it again. It's about how seven red bags are put on the flight and then the person gets off at the other end and they're waiting at the conveyor belt or the carousel to pick up their seven red bags. Then one bag comes out, and second red bag comes out, and third red bag comes out. It builds up to the fifth red bag and the sixth red bag, and then the seventh red bag doesn't show up.
The difference between this analogy and that boring house on the sand analogy is the fact that you know 90% of the analogy but you don't know how 10% is going to roll out. You stood there waiting for your bags at the airport. You've done that; I've done that; everyone has done that, mostly.
We can relate to that concept, but the story slightly changes. That's the beauty of the analogy. The analogy that is powerful is not an analogy that you know 100% in advance, because that is boring. The analogy is taken from a situation that we're aware of, that we are probably 90% aware of, but that has that little 10% twist.
In this case, the red bags have the twist, and the fact that the seventh red bag didn't show up
When you're building your analogies, you want to build it in this kind of concept that we already know but there is a little shift in the concept, like the time I was trying to explain how I got stuck.
Instead of just saying I got stuck at this conference and I couldn't get out, you shift it just a little bit. I had gone to a yoga class, and after the yoga class it was raining, pelting down. I came out and I was trying to get into my car. Actually, it was my wife's car because, well … it's a long story.
Anyway, I was trying to get into the car and trying to shove that key in, try and get it open because I didn't have an umbrella and it's raining. The door wouldn't open. I'm looking at the car.
I parked it right there and it wouldn't open, and I'm going crazy. Some of the people came up from the yoga class, said, “Why don't you try to get in from the boot?” I tried that and almost twisted the key. I couldn't get in. Just as I was trying to get in, from the corner of my eye I saw another car that looked identical to the one I was trying to get in. The car, the identical one, that was my car, or rather, my wife's car.
I was stuck because I was trying to get into the wrong car
That makes an interesting analogy. Personal stories make for better analogies because they have this natural flow of something happening, then something else happening, and then something else happening.