Malcolm Gladwell is great at research and data insights. But most of all, he is great at storytelling, which is a vital skill when reporting digital metrics to stakeholders.
I recently ran across this article by Jonah Berger titled, “How To Sell Ideas Like Gladwell.” In case you didn’t know, Malcolm Gladwell is the heir to the “nerdom” thrown, which is currently held by Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. As mentioned in the article, “Gladwell has a knack for turning complicated (and often arcane) scientific ideas into digestible, tasty nuggets of knowledge.” He is the bestselling author of The Tipping Point, Blink, Outliers and more recently David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, but in all essence he is a great storyteller. His approach can definitely be used to explain social media and data reports:
1) KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid
Save the pretentious terminology for your next cocktail party. Make everything “Dora The Explorer” simple. Rule of thumb: If your mom doesn’t understand, neither will your audience.
2) Stories Beat Information Every Time
Make it personable. Of course, your stakeholders don’t want to hear just about cats and puppy dogs (unless you work for PetSmart). But it’s important to take that data and make it into a relatable story. Every story has a beginning, middle and end.
3) A Good Tease Holds Attention
Have your audience’s guessing until the very end. Recently I attended a session at Digital Atlanta by Dorothea Volpe. She played three songs at the beginning of her session asking her audience to pick out the common theme. Using riddles and stories will not only keep your audience engaged, but it will also reinforce your message and theme.
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