We’ve all been there. You’re at a party or other social event, and you find yourself in a small group of people listening to someone talk about something that’s not really that interesting. This can usually go one of two ways. One, you politely nod along with the story, throwing in the occasional nod of agreement if the storyteller suddenly makes eye contact with you. Or two, you highjack the conversation and turn it into a battle of wits, using all your abilities to salvage a boring topic with some clever repertoire and humor.
The ability to take the boring — or at least the perception of being boring — and spin it into a clever and engaging story, social media post or column, is a daunting task many communications professionals face. Knowing how to generate interest from the un-interesting is a challenge, one that calls upon the author to use every resource possible to find a way to liven up the message.
- Remember “Cosmos”, the terrific television program hosted by the late Carl Sagan, or the more recent version done with Neil DeGrasse Tyson? While cosmology and the study of black holes are certainly interesting to physicists, the ability of most of us to understand physics is limited, and this program certainly changed that perception. It made complex mathematics problems interesting. Wish my high school math teacher could have done that.
- On the social media side, fans of the bratwurst, a Wisconsin sausage icon, would tell you that it is certainly delicious, but beyond that, what’s interesting about it? Well check out the twitter account of Johnsonville Sausage (@Johnsonville) and tell me you’re not thoroughly entertained.
Want to make your writing and presentations more engaging? Don’t be afraid to take some chances. Ramp up the enthusiasm, and act — or write — like the topic is one worthy of taking up a few moments of someone’s time. In this day and age, that’s a challenge. Don’t be that guy everyone is trying to avoid eye contact with. Instead, move those arms, raise that voice (so to speak) and do what it takes to grab the reader’s attention. Once you have it, delivering a message or a point, is much easier.
What tool(s) do you use to generate audience interest in a project you’re working on?