Dramatize Your Ideas

August 8, 2011
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Have you ever been to a conference where a speaker almost put you to sleep? We’ve all been there at one time or another. Because no matter how interesting and relevant the information being imparted may be, if it’s presented in a dry, monotonous tone then it’s not going to engage us.

Even in Dale Carnegie’s day, he realized the importance of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, and dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it…radio does it…and modern day TV would be lost without it. And you have to do it, too, if you want to command attention.

Dale Carnegie once cited an example where experts in window display knew the trenchant power of dramatization. In the example, the manufacturers of a new rat poison gave dealers a window display that included two live rats. The week the rats were shown, sales of their product zoomed to five times their normal rate.

In another example he told the story of James B. Boynton of The American Weekly, who had to present a lengthy market report. His firm had just finished an exhaustive trade investigation study for a leading brand of cold cream that had to be presented to one of the biggest—and most formidable—men in the advertising business. Boynton got himself sidetracked into a futile discussion of the methods used in the investigation and used up his interview time without producing any results.

The second time he met with the advertising man, however, he opened a suitcase and dumped thirty-two jars of cold cream on top of the man’s desk—all products he knew, and all competitors of the cream he represented. On each jar was a tag itemizing the results of the trade investigation. Each tag told its story briefly and dramatically.

The advertising man picked up one jar after another, asking questions and showing genuine interest. A presentation originally scheduled for 10 minutes lasted over an hour with the man still asking questions.

The lesson to be learned it: Dramatize your ideas in a unique and novel way and you’ll win people to your way of thinking. Here’s an example from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training:

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Philadelphia and Allentown, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Philadelphia and Allentown. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Photo credit: Danilo Rizzuti

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