Secret 3: Focus On The Apple, Not The Orchard
The 3rd secret of creating killer content is to focus on the apple, not the Orchard. And I know that sounds weird but stick with me here. So in this video we're going to talk about how to influence people by telling the right kind of stories, especially when a ton of data is involved. But before we do, I have a simple question for you. So can you remember the last pie chart that you looked at? What about the last line graph? No. Okay. What about the last Excel spreadsheet? You saw nothing. I'm not surprised now if I asked you a different set of questions. Like do you remember your last birthday? What about your first day at work or how about a story from your childhood chances are that you're far more likely to remember these individual stories than aggregate statistics that you once saw. It reminds me of this quote from one of the greatest writers of all time. Maya Angelou who said I learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never ...
forget how you made them feel. And there's so much truth in that statement, especially in the business world where people think that data trumps all. Where executives encourage employees to think and lead with their heads, not their hearts. But when it comes to writing the opposite is actually true emotion overpowers logic. And the best way to convey emotion is to tell a story about a singular data point that represents a greater trend. So let me explain in other words if you want to convey the lusciousness of an orchard, don't tell me about how many trees there are, don't tell me about how fertile this soil is, and don't tell me how many meters of rainfall there were in the last year. Instead focus my attention on one apple, describe how it tastes, emphasize it's red, ruby color and tell me about its shape. If you speak to my senses and I'll come to my senses about how amazing the rest of the orchard must be. If this apple is just one mere example of that, of course, that doesn't mean to neglect including any data at all. I mean the data supports your broader point, but it's not your entire point, it's not what you should lead with. You know, research shows that most of our decision making processes happen within the right side of our brain, which facilitates emotion, creativity, and imagination versus the left side of our brain, which facilitates logic and data and organization. And if you want to write to influence your audience and get them to change their mind about something or buy something, then you must must must speak to the right side of the brain. Put another way. Our brain is an elephant with a writer on top of it, The left side of the brain is the writer. While the right side of the brain is the elephant. Now let me explain here. The writer on top is calm, rational and deliberate, Every single decision, But the elephant is rash, emotional and much more powerful at the end of the day if you put an apple in front of the elephants face, the elephant will rush towards it like there's no tomorrow. And the rider is almost powerless to control the elephant. That's how the brain works. Don't start off by listing data points about the orchard when you could be showing that damn apple to the elephant. Speak to his census. I mean, you can see the power of stories over statistics all around us. In 2015 there's a heartbreaking photo of a young Syrian refugee who was washed up at sea and it went viral on social media. But here's the thing before that photo appeared, there had actually already been 40 years of rising death tolls in Syria. You know, hundreds of thousands of refugees had perished just like that boy. And yet donations to relief organizations like the Red Cross Head Plateau. Right? So rising death tolls plateau donations. But get this the day after that photo appeared, that photo of the boy washed up at sea, donations to the Red Cross skyrocketed from 8000 to $430,000 in a single day. It was staggering. And it all happened because we got a glimpse into what happened with this one soul and we were better able to grapple with the statistics and the tragedy that was taking place and it moved us to take action. We removed by the apple here, the boy, not just the orchard, the statistics of those death toll rates. And I know I know that's a pretty somber example but I hope it shows you the power of speaking to people's hearts, not just their heads with that. You finished the third of the Seven Secrets. You now know how to use a story to influence people in a way that's much more powerful than data alone. In the next video, we're gonna talk about how the key to writing actually has nothing to do with writing at all. So I'll see you there.