*Bottom line or flowery?

June 25, 2014

The world is divided into bottom-line people who are always asking ‘What’s the point?’ and  flowery people who want you to paint a picture for them.  Point versus paint. Group-of-People

As communicators we have our biases. If you are a bottom-line person, you love communicating your point.  This feels both right and satisfying to you, but the problem is you risk losing half your audience: the flowery people.  If you are a flowery person, you paint pictures every time you speak and while you appeal to the other flowery people in the room, you probably drive bottom-line people insane!

To be master communicators, we have to make sure our communication appeals to both types of people: it needs a clear point and it must paint a picture. Not easy to do! This might sound counterintuitive, but the quickest and easiest way to win over your entire audience is through a short story.

Imagine you’re a leader. You’re talking to your team (made up of both bottom-line and flowery people) about seeing opportunities where others might see none. You could share this story.

Many years ago two salesmen were sent by a British shoe manufacturer to Africa to investigate and report back on market opportunities. The first salesman reported back, “There is no opportunity here – nobody wears shoes.”  The second salesman reported back, “There is massive opportunity here – nobody wears shoes!”  If we see opportunities where our competitors don’t, imagine the difference we could make.

A short, purposeful story paints a picture and, if done well, it also makes a point. It’s a slam-dunk for both flowery and bottom-line people.

What are your thoughts? Please comment, I love hearing from you.

* Thanks to my mentor Robi Mack for her use of these terms.

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