David Bowie is…

September 3, 2014

I’m a huge David Bowie fan and was excited to learn that an international touring exhibition on David Bowie is coming to Melbourne.  The exhibition is simply titled David Bowie is…

img-bowie-is-heroThe title is alluring as it is an open loop.  You immediately start to add to it.  David Bowie is… a legend, a performer, a superstar.  In a world where most communication is bolted down in a closed loop, why bother with open loop communication?

Open loop grabs attention in an attention-deficient world.  In terms of communication, open loop invites your audience in instead of conventional communication, which tends to be push mode.  Intrigue, wonder, curiosity – not emotions we normally associate with communication – can all be created by open loop.

Open loop can work really well in presentations.  You could use an open loop statement like “There is one way above all others that helps us deliver outstanding customer service. And before I share that-” and talk about something else. Come back and close the loop later.

Stories also lend themselves to open loop.  Conventionally a story has a beginning, middle and an end and we usually do this one after another. With open loop you would start the story, talk about something else, come back to the middle and again leave your audience at a cliff-hanger before coming back and ending your story.

Open loop is massively underutilised with email headings.  Most people scan their email subject headings, so if you want more clicks, try an interesting open loop like Have you ever wondered if…

Open loop is best used sparingly.  If you ever open a loop you must come back and close the loop, otherwise your audience will be left in suspense.  Open loop must also deliver on its promise.  So what follows your open loop must close off and answer the subject or question you raised.

Where have you seen open loop used well?  Please share – I love hearing from you.

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