February 18, 2003 Volume 2 Issue 34
Learning is in an oxymoron state.
Many say they want to know more. Others say "just give me the facts". Both respond best when whatever it is comes in short doses. Quick and fast.
Readers Digest has been around for decades doing just that. More recently USA Today has grown to the largest readership of any newspaper in the USA, with short articles.Not all the facts. Certainly not the complete message. Still, enough to carry the thought.
And yet, story telling is very much in. I may wish the short vs. the long version. No matter I will enjoy it more and absorb your point better with a story.
Thus, The Springboard ... How Storytelling Ignites Action in Knowledge-Era Organization is book for this time. I strongly recommend it for all leaders - at every level. In every organization; small. .. large. .. mid-size. .. non-profit. .. all!
Why my strong endorsement? Well, it isn't because I know the author. Never heard of Stephen Denning.
And it isn't because I have a love of The World Bank - where much of the 'story' of the book is based. In fact, when I begin reading and learned The World Bank was the platform around which the message was based, I was immediately turned off. Never did I expect to learn from experiences inside a bureaucracy as enormous as that organization. And never have I been so wrong. I learned a lot! And. .. it was fun, too!
The sub-title includes the phrase 'Knowledge-Era'. A term I first used in 1989 to describe the time in which we lived. Then. And still today. Many minds have come to this conclusion. .. Peter Drucker and Tom Peters among them. Much has been written about what we know, vs information. Knowledge is what is important. Information is meaningless unless you know what to do with it. And that is knowledge.
My super client Eric Herzog, Founder & CEO of Quest Consulting, talks about 'Knowledge Transfer'. Meaning leaders sharing their knowledge with the up and coming leaders within their organization. His trade marked name for his program is 'Leader-Led Leadership Development'. Eric has 30+ years in the training business. .. he knows of what he speaks. Knowledge rules.
So, I've been aware of how what we know plays in what we think, what we do, how we act.The Springboard is all about knowing things, and sharing then them with others.
Dennning begins his book with a quote from Albert Einstein;
"If at first the idea is not absurd, then there is no hope for it."
The Springboard is all about sharing knowledge within The World Bank organization. Which, in the beginning was about as absurd an idea as anything could be. Because it was about changing how things are shared. How the Bank shared what they learned in one part of the world with those in another. .. those with a similar need. It meant doing it in a none World Bank way - without structure, with documentation. No paper-pushing. Instead, The Springboard is a story of how Denning made change happen by telling stories.
Denning admits up front in Chapter One he stumbled upon the Springboard story. It wasn't planned - it happened. Denning is in the Washington, D.C. headquarters of the Bank. He learns how, in a remote section of Zambia, a beautiful, yet poor country in south central Africa, a health worker logs onto the Center for Disease Control web site in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. And finds an answer to a malaria treatment question.
The fact this could happen in the mid-1990's is a story in itself. What it means is much deeper. The process is a discovery. Not an invention - a discovery.
It's not long before the story becomes the means of delivering the message that knowledge sharing, knowledge transfer is vital to the organization. The Zambia story shows all - including skeptics - how knowledge sharing works. In real life, how lives are changed. For the better.
With forms and facts and figures and only "how to. .." lists, the same message gets tangled in unnecessary details. When the Zambia story is woven into the conversation, the presentation of both how and why knowledge sharing is important, becomes understandable.
For your story - for any story - to be effective in making a point, it first must make sense. A first issue is "is it true?" Even if it appears "unbelievable", yet, is true, it will have meaning.
Next, "is it accurate?" Did it happen in the way the story says it happened? We're not talking science or legal here. .. we're talking ethics. If the story was embellished. .. as so many are. .. it loses credibility.
Good story telling conveys the feeling the event in the story is more than just a story. More than an example. A story offers a deeper expression - it helps your audience get to the base idea. The primary thought.
When your story rings true and is factually accurate, it will help you transfer your knowledge and idea to others. It will teach people. It will help people understand.
Stories are teaching tools. Many stories do more than illustrate the message. .. they are the message. Stories allow people to imagine the specifics.
Story telling is not a new idea. .. before written language, stories were a way of educating. And sharing knowledge. The Jewish/Christian Bible has countless "stories" from 2000-4000 years ago. .. each to make point.
What's the point for marketing? That a story may be the best way for you to carry your message to your audience. Even in this time of fast-fast-fast. .. slowing down to share a story will capture an audience. And, very possibly, a customer.
Try story telling the next time you have a message to share - a point to make.
This list began long ago in another world.
Well, an oxymoron IS from another world.
What I'm trying to say is I don't know the base for this laundry list of oxymorons. My bride shared it with me. .. so I'm sharing it with you.
I've always been fascinated by words, how they're used, what they mean. Oxymoron is a "funny" word to begin with. And when hear such things 'Civil War'. .. well, how can that be? 'Religious War' or 'Holy War' I find even more bizarre.
Well, here is a list of the Top 50 Oxymorons. None with the word 'war'.
50. Act naturally
49. Found missing
48. Resident alien
47. Advanced BASIC
46. Genuine imitation
45. Airline Food
44. Good grief
43. Same difference
42. Almost exactly
41. Government organization
40. Sanitary landfill
39. Alone together
38. Legally drunk
37. Silent scream
36. British fashion
35. Living dead
34. Small crowd
33. Business ethics
32. Soft rock
31. Butt Head
30. Military Intelligence
29. Software documentation
28. New York culture
27. New classic
26. Sweet sorrow
24. "Now, then. .."
23. Synthetic natural gas
22. Christian Scientists
21. Passive aggression
20. Taped live
19. Clearly misunderstood
18. Peace force
17. Extinct Life
16. Temporary tax increase
15. Computer jock
14. Plastic glasses
13. Terribly pleased
12. Computer security
11. Political science
10. Tight slacks
9. Definite maybe
8. Pretty ugly
7. Twelve ounce pound cake
6. Diet ice cream
5. Rap music
4. Working vacation
3. Exact estimate
2. Religious tolerance
And the Number one top OXYMORON:1. Microsoft Works
A Big Bonus Offer
Full time I'm consulting. Writing. And speaking!
So, now is a good time to tell you about my special BONUS:
For details and to place your product order, OR to book Ray to speak and thus get your BONUS!, visit Marketing Products. Or fax 1+810+815-2520. For questions on quantity orders phone Ray at 1+928+785-9400.
In the between time you may find a visit to my speaking web pages worthy of a few minutes of your time. Surf to Power Direct Marketing.com and take a look around. A visit to ItISwhatsNext.com might also be interesting to you. And ... then let me hear from you. Let's work a deal!
A moment ago I spoke of speaking. Here is a pair of thoughts along the same line. .. from Anonymous;
"You never saw a fish on the wall with it's mouth shut."
And then. . .
"A smile is contagious; be a carrier."
For more quotations, anonymous and others, visit my archives. .. "Quotes with Direction". .. (www.rayjutkins.com/quotes/index.htm). A new batch goes online every 4 weeks.
"It IS What's Next!"
Already I've shared this story with health care organizations, a database marketing business, a direct marketing firm, a DM association - and several others. And I'm ready to bring it to your group. (Visit It IS What's Next!)
When you have a need for a 40-90 minute program, I'll give you this different, interesting, meaningful, warm and true action presentation. To your club. Your company. Your organization. Your association. Any group you have. At any place. At any time. For any reason.
ItISWhat's Next!is available to you as a Keynote Address. As a special program. As an opening or closing presentation. As a different / unique session.
Magic Marketing Minutes
Make your copy easy to read
Unless you're writing to language teachers, don't be concerned about grammar when you're writing your Direct Mail.
Is this too bold a statement for you? Your Direct Mail should be a communications document. It is a dialogue. It is a message from you to your audience. .. and hopefully from them back to you. It is written to be read. It is to communicate.
I'm not suggesting that grammar is a bad thing. I'm not suggesting you write like an illiterate. I am suggesting you be conversational. That your copy be in the tone and rhythm of a personal one-on-one conversation you might have face-to-face with any member of your audience. And, I'm suggesting that grammatical technicalities should not get in the way of that communication.
Some of the things that can help you make your writing more readable are these:
As a rule, people are not going to read your Direct Mail to be entertained.
They are going to read it to gain some information. To learn something. Make it easy to read.
by ROCKINGHAM*JUTKINS*marketing, all rights reserved.