What are the things that magnetize you to the television set? Is it the horrific sight of bloodshed or the volcano that’s set to erupt at any moment, and you are mesmerized by the bubbling lava whose slightest change in hue is broadcast constantly? Or…perhaps it’s the overnight sensation on YouTube, like UConn football player John McEntee dunking the football in the basketball hoop from mid-court, or knocking the bottle off the top of his friend’s head that catches and holds your attention.
The question is “What attracted you?” What originally pulled your attention to the television or the video? Well, it was probably megawatt words. A word or words that evoked an emotion. Maybe a friend told you about the YouTube video…and said “You should watch this, Dude” with such admiration that you were immediately sucked in. Or a word you heard that triggered a memory of something that happened to you, or someone you knew, in the past.
Words trigger emotions. Emotions trigger a response. But…not all words. Words that are ordinary, mundane, or speak to our moment-to-moment existence, do little to feed an emotional response. For example, “The sky is blue” is unlikely to evoke the same response as “Wow, I’ve never seen the sky with so many different shades of blue…look…the blue near that dark storm cloud in the western sky is almost purple, while the sky further to the east near that snow-covered mountain top with the sunshine hitting it, is the most brilliant blue I’ve ever seen.”
Words that are extraordinary, and tell a story that capture the imagination, or the subconscious mind, feed the primal layers of emotional response, whether that response be fear or joy, with the full range of how visceral that response is.
So…how can you create megawatt words? Where do they come from? I have a few suggestions for you to consider.
I like megawatt words that are wrapped around, or into a story with a heart connection. I like clients who have exciting stories; bold tales to tell that inspire others. If they’re touting a product, I want their prospects to see the reason why the product is important to the client…not just because it’s available for sale…but because they’ve used it or in some way it truly inspired them. Let’s say you’re selling crampons,rope, carabiners, pitons and other mountaineering tools. Sure, you can make a website with photos that show all the equipment. But if you really want to make a connection, tell a story about a mountain you or a friend, or relative, or a group scaled, and everything that happened, and how you used that equipment.
I can actually share a story like that, so will use it as an example. Some years ago, a friend of mine and I decided to climb the Grand Teton in the Teton Mountains of Wyoming, First, we trained, and were “approved” for the climb based on our scrambling and basic movement skills. And, we chose to climb in August, which is generally the best of the climbing season in order to minimize the potential for bad weather. Being fairly new to technical climbing and having not climbed the Grand Teton before, we had a guide with us. Our first day of climbing to the base camp was exhilarating and glorious. We crossed ice fields and roped ledges. We hiked, we chimney-climbed (rock crevices); we tied off and used pitons, ropes and carabiners through some sections as well as free-climbing. By the end of the day, reaching base camp, we were more than tired, we were exhausted. We ate quickly and fell asleep fast, already realizing how much thinner the air was at this higher altitude. We were also by now more critically aware of the importance of really good equipment.
The second day started at 3 AM, as getting to the top and back down the mountain before a mountain storm could hit was imperative. As we began to climb that second day, the thin air, exhaustion, and a more difficult technical climb began to take its toll. Our guide was patient, but persistent in keeping us moving. As we approached the top on the route we had chosen, we began to hear a strange buzzing, and the guide immediately told us to move under a rock ledge and to stay put. The buzzing became very loud, and we began to see actual arcs of electricity spark all around us. You could feel the static electricity, and smell the ozone produced. It only lasted for about 10 minutes, but it was a phenomenal; albeit very dangerous encounter. Once the electrical storm had passed, it began to snow, and our guide suggested we begin to descend as rapidly as possible. Rappelling down the sides of some very steep cliffs, I thought was the most fun (almost relaxing) part of the trip, although my friend had a short tour down one section upside down. (and yes, I admit it, I laughed then…and we both laughed together later). And at some point on the return journey, I twisted my knee and hobbled a good section of the last mile or so. But I was pumped from the experience.
That summer there were several unfortunate climbers, who did not return from their mountain quest. This knowledge was sobering, and a great reminder of how important it is to have the right equipment, and, especially for less experienced climbers, to take a guide. My friend and I will always remember it as our “sparkling” adventure. It was a bonding experience we will never forget, as it is imperative you trust the person you climb with to keep you safe. We will always consider ourselves fortunate to have returned safely; thankful for each other, a good guide, and good equipment.
If I were marketing mountaineering equipment, this is the type of story I would want to be able to tell. It lets your audience know you. It means you’re talking the same language. It inspires confidence that you understand how critical good equipment is, and have the ability to match them with what they need…that you are “of one mind” when it comes to meeting their needs.
We all have stories. We all have megawatt words that come from experiences. We often think, however, that they would be too boring, or others wouldn’t be interested. And…if you don’t have your own experiences to share in your field, think about the experiences shared by friends or co-workers, read books or watch movies. Find those heart-pumping moments that excited you, and the megawatt words that evoked a response in you. Have some descriptive “movie clips” in your head from those experiences to share, and you’ll find you’ve attracted the audience you want within minutes.