It doesn’t matter who you are as a seller or a buyer. We are all beholden to basic human listening behaviors. No innovation or AI breakthrough will allow you to leap over this truth. Your best strategy for 2020 is to recognize these behaviors and leverage them to your advantage. My ten plus years of speech coaching have shown me there are three key action steps to getting your message across the right way.
#1 – Learn to speak in Bumper Stickers.
#2 – Bow to the Rule of Three.
#3 – Master the Vertical Unfolding.
Your customers won’t be able to tell you why something does or doesn’t resonate with them because they don’t even realize that they have an intuitive listening bias. When you feed into this preference, you will increase listener satisfaction. You will also project that you are speaking in an authentic way, which leads to trust and, ultimately, persuasion.
Your customers won’t be able to tell you why something does or doesn’t resonate with them because they don’t even realize that they have an intuitive listening bias. @PaulGeigerPSA
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Learn to Speak in Bumper Stickers
Bumper stickers refer to personal characterizations that serve as your overarching theme and as your listener’s takeaway. It’s not necessarily the official title of your topic but it does include your perspective. Bumper stickers are short, bold statements. They are less informational and more visceral. For example, an informational opening for an imaginary real estate company might sound like this, “We’re Trending Homes, the largest residential home sellers in the state.” That’s a fact to be proud of, but a better bumper sticker opening would sound like this, “We’re Trending Homes. We find homes that embrace you.” Notice how this approach piques your listener’s curiosity by begging the unspoken question, how, what, or why. This building of anticipation in your narrative is what will keep your customers’ attention.
This building of anticipation in your narrative is what will keep your customers’ attention. @PaulGeigerPSA
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Bow to the Rule of Three
After boldly stating your bumper sticker, it’s important to pause, allowing for the unspoken how, what, or why. Listeners pay attention to what comes right after that silence. This is when you leverage yet another listening preference. It’s called the Rule of Three. Give your listeners three reasons that support your bumper sticker. This is not an option. Two reasons is never enough and four is way too many. Don’t overwhelm by overstuffing. Like your bumper sticker, you need to keep your three reasons very short and concise. There will be space for more details later.
Master the Vertical Unfolding
Think of presenting any idea as a pyramid. Your bumper sticker sits at the top. As the pyramid widens out, your three reasons exist at the next level. Below that are the details, the facts, or the weeds. This strong framework represents a Vertical Unfolding. However, just because this progression is vertical does not mean it only moves in a downward direction. When you reach into the lowest level and start unpacking the details, you still have to rise back up for air at the reasons level and the bumper sticker level consistently to allow your listeners to connect the dots. Make sure you close the loop at the end of your presentation by returning to your bumper sticker. This will signal that the idea is complete. The sense of completion will be palpable and it will serve as the resonating message you want each listener to take away.
Make sure you close the loop at the end of your presentation by returning to your bumper sticker. @PaulGeigerPSA
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The essential steps to leveraging human listening behaviors are very closely woven together. Leaving any one of them out of your presentation will cause you to miss the sweet spot. None of this should be misconstrued as a shortcut around your due diligence. We expect you to be the expert but we need clarity and room for connection. We need our listening satisfaction. So, give it to us! Simply insert the bumper sticker and three reasons for your next presentation into this proven template and watch the magic happen.