When it comes to communicating, most people are simply too predictable with their message. If my jury believes that my “pitch” to them is all about asking for money, they’ll do whatever they can to tune me out and at the end of the case, award my client as little as possible.
In sales, when you know or can feel a sales pitch coming, what do you do? You tune out the message and run the other direction.
Why are Super Bowl commercials so enticing? It’s because even though you know Budweiser is selling beer, Go Daddy is selling websites and Doritos is selling chips, you believe there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to be surprised by the ad or message.
So, what’s the takeaway from this?
If you want to make your audience sit up and pay attention, you need to surprise them. If you want your audience to feel good about your message and remember what you said and did, give them something they just didn’t expect.
At the very beginning of a wrongful death jury trial, most jurors think the case is all about money. Instead, I spend a great deal of time talking about and presenting evidence (witnesses, pictures, photo albums, family videos…) about my clients’ extremely personal loss. I focus on and communicate to my jury about each family member’s unique human story. The relationships, the missed gatherings and lost memories. I share family stories that have never before been told. I bring my jury into my client’s world so each juror can understand and appreciate how devastated my clients are and why they feel that way. Only after I’ve done this do I then share with my jurors the law and jury instructions that give them the power to right the wrong with money damages.
Many jurors have told me after awarding a large verdict at the end of a long trial that they were surprised to learn they had the power and legal obligation to award money damages. They talk to me about how unique our case was and how they were happy to help. Once they learn the why, the how becomes easy.
The next time you need to communicate something important, ask yourself what your audience would normally expect to hear or see. Then, surprise them with something fresh, different and just the opposite.
Communicate using the element of surprise and your message will be heard and acted upon. You’ll also make a lasting impact and impression!