How to use "upwords" to increase response
I once took a media communications course in which I discovered
an interesting example of the way the mind works. As part of a given lesson,
a videotape was shown of a televised newscast during which a journalist
was about to give a live report on a forest fire that was devastating
the mid-west. The news anchor in the television newsroom said: "We
now take you to Sally Smith -- she's in the station's helicopter flying
above the scene of the fire."
He then turned around to face the background screen, which gave a live
bird's-eye view of the raging fire, and asked: "Sally, tell us, how
big is the fire?" In a voice partially drowned by the whizzing sound
of helicopter blades, Sally reports: "John, it's so big, it's covering
well over 140 acres of land -- that's about 200 football fields back-to-back
for you and me."
You Ought to Be in Pictures
As you can sense from the above example, people don't think in numbers
-- they think in pictures. The mind does not think in words either --
unless it is told to do exactly that. The mind is a simple organ and it
hates confusion. It will naturally translate words or phrases into their
visual equivalent. For instance, if I told you to think of a garbage can,
you're not going to think of the word "G-A-R-B-A-G-E." Your
mind will automatically visualize a garbage can.
Why do you think Windows and MacIntosh dominate in operating systems?
It is because, rather than having to type an elaborate command for your
computer to execute, you can simply use your mouse, point to an icon,
and click. These icons basically represent programs. They contain a string
of numerous commands that are in fact translated into a language the computer
understands. Our mind works in almost the same way. It instantly translates
what it's being told into something it can easily understand.
What I call UPWORDS are effective in any conversation, sales call, or
written message in that they simply help the message to be better understood
and appreciated. Mark Twain once said that "numbers don't stick in
the mind, pictures do." In fact, the word "upwords" is
an acronym that stands for universal picture words or relatively descriptive
sentences. Upwords are examples, analogies, metaphors, symbols, picture
words, colloquialisms, etc.
Use "Upwords" to Move Upwards
For example, a challenge among cosmetic surgeons is the fact that people
will call for a quote over the phone when obviously the doctor needs to
see the patient beforehand. Since cosmetic surgery is an uncommon process,
doctors will often use the more common dental work as an analogy -- unlike
surgery, most people have had their teeth done at some point in their
lives. So, they'll say: "Like a dentist, I can not give an estimate
over the phone without any x-rays of your teeth or the knowledge of how
many cavities you actually have."
Beauticians usually face the same problem. Since many customers tend
to shop around for these types of services, and since beauty is a subjective
thing, then making a decision based on price alone can be detrimental
to both the consumer and the business. So, using art as an analogy, beauticians
will say: "A makeover is a makeover just like a painting is a painting,
but there's quite a difference between a Rembrandt and a preschooler's
If you're a computer programmer trying to sell your services to the plant
manager of a farm equipment manufacturer, and in your presentation you
provide complex technical data in abstract computer technolese, you will
obviously do very poorly. You must therefore mold your message in a way
that it can be easily understood by farmers or plant workers.
We all come from different backgrounds. Our education, experiences, and
environment help to condition our thinking. Therefore, use analogies,
metaphors, and picture words in your presentation that will make your
message easier to understand by the other's personal set of circumstances.
Trout once said, "A word is worth a thousand pictures."
|About the author
Michel Fortin is a direct response copywriter and consultant dedicated
to turning sales messages into powerful magnets. Get a free copy of
his book, "The 10 Commandments of Power Positioning," when
you subscribe to his free monthly ezine, "The Profit Pill."
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