Mind Virus E-Zine


Archive for August, 2012


Monday, August 13th, 2012


In the strategy business, ONE key to success is illustrating differences. For some folks, explaining the difference between you and “them” via a verbal exchange is all that is needed: Images are not required – just a decent explanation.

As for me, I like to stack the deck in my favor when making ANY point. I am less concerned about someone seeing the point (figuratively speaking), and more concerned about them GETTING the point.

The focus of one of my recent presentations was about DIFFERENCE. It was a great event with a large, very enthusiastic crowd (thank you Lauren!). We had a lot of fun. At that event, I demonstrated how sequencing of verbal and non-verbal components can and does make a huge impact in terms influence and the absorption of the intended message. Like I said…it was LOTS of fun.

To make things a little more interesting, I hit the crowd with the following image: 

I purposely blacked out the name of the grocer, the cost per pound, and the final price. I was curious to hear what the members of the audience had to say. Because the audience was fairly decent (about 900-1100), we had microphones on stands scattered throughout the ballroom so that those who chose to participate could be heard. I was also using a Smartboard that was being projected so that everyone could see the list of comments.

If you know anything about eating healthy, then you KNOW that the fish on top is Wild Salmon, and you KNOW that the fish on the bottom is Farm Raised Atlantic Salmon.

But let’s say that you didn’t know. Are there certain “signs” that tell you something about the two fish, how much they cost, etc? Are their characteristics of the two pieces of fish that can be utilized to make a point? Of course there are.

Is the act of simply pointing those characteristics out enough to be influential? Sometimes. More often than not, to really have impact, it’s important to understand HOW you present the data and HOW you connect the dots.

When you express differences, you must do so in a way that creates a response that subsequently stimulates action. On the most basic level, I could use this single image to quickly educate an audience at a health food store to understand the difference between North American wild salmon and North American farm raised salmon. If I revealed the price, the message would gain even GREATER strength, and as a result of my short presentation, the sales of wild salmon would skyrocket.

At the same time, I could easily use this very same image to make some very serious points OUTSIDE the realm of healthy eating (using the image as a metaphor). Not to get too deep here, but the two pieces of fish contain within them, many different “hidden” messages – ALL of which are important in bolting down a point. What would drive home the point is LESS about each piece of fish, and more about the difference between the two pieces of fish and how that comparison illustrates the dissimilarities.


When differences are presented in the proper manner, using the proper sequence, what happens is pure magic. Okay, so it’s not magic – but it is pretty cool to watch. In fact, it’s great to watch others attempt to make a point and fail (yes, I do enjoy watching the failure of those vying for the same business) – knowing that their points may be valid, but their imagery is weak, their “signs” are weak, and the differences are weak.

THE POINT: Unfortunately, when it comes to communication, everyone is an expert. And as is the case with most experts, when they feel they’ve reached the apex of the mountain, all learning stops. Before you decide to compare yourself with a competitor or set yourself a part from the pack, you must understand that differentiating points – all on their own, may not cut it. You’ll get a lot of nods up and down, but inside people’s heads will be lots of question marks. When people don’t get it, they don’t act. When people do get it, they can’t help but act.

Have A GREAT Day!

…Dr. Marc & The Mind Virus Team