Contagious by Jonah Berger
How to shape a message that grows organically is what Berger looks at. Not all of it is relevant for speakers, but make sure to put some thinking into at least the following critical components of your message.
As always, I highly recommend reading the whole book. Also, I don’t know Berger, and I get no affiliate money if you buy it, listen to it, or seek him out and pay him to spill the beans.
Here are the ingredients in a story that lives.
1: Social currency (make the audience look good)
People are social beings, and if your product can help them elevate their social status, then you’ve met this criterion.
If you, as a speaker, talk about how to avoid stress, sprinkle your talk with interesting transmission-prone facts, that can make the audience seem knowledgeable on the topic.
Or be sure to keep up with the newest research, so audience members will feel that they can spread some new light on an issue when talking to a friend.
To use this: always make it clear what you want audience members to tell their closest after hearing you talk.
People need to know when to pass on your wisdom. Make sure your descent from the realm of the abstract into the more gritty reality of people. If you talk about handling leadership issues, like employees with destructive behavior, don’t talk about them like employees with destructive behavior.
Talk about ‘Suzy’ who always bad-mouthes people who are not present. Or 'Carl’ who never lets anyone finish what they’re saying in a meeting.
Or something else. It just needs to be specific and relatable. Then it will trigger.
To use this: make a list of the situations your customer mention as difficult and work them into your talk.
Don’t be a robot. Passion sells, anger sells, enthusiasm sells. Boredom doesn’t. You need to work with arousing emotions - not just positive ones.
Also, remember that emotions are a powerful way of relating to your audience members. They are burdened with emotion too, and knowing that you tango on the same emotional palette, creates togetherness.
To use this: Emotions are like colors in a painting. Use contrasting emotion strategically to send your audience on a rollercoaster-ride. Make them happy, then sad, then awe them.