SHARPen Your Edge

For those of you who know anything about Decker, you know we always push people outside their comfort zones—that’s where change happens!

Last week, the marketing team here at Decker pitched a new idea to me. They were seeking buy-in on something that’s outside the scope of what we’ve done before as a company. They started our meeting by pointing to the poster that hangs inside our office with the Decker mantra, “Safe is a dangerous place to be. Get outside your comfort zone.”

They were reminding me to stay open-minded as I considered this new initiative—calling me out on my own commitment to taking risks. It wasn’t long or drawn-out, but it was effective.

Our goal is to get our audience to ‘feel’ something so that they’ll act on it. That’s influence. That’s good communicating.

This is why we emphasize the importance of using SHARPs
Stories. Humor. Analogies. References and quotes. Pictures and visuals.

A SHARP is that one bit of emotion that pushes our listeners over the edge – it makes them willing to act or be influenced. And it works because it makes them ‘feel’ something.

Most of us are pretty good at adding color in low-risk situations, and we typically choose not to do it for high-stakes presentations because we think of it as fluff. But the high stakes presentation is exactly when we need to use that analogy – that humor – that SHARP.

It goes back to something we have stated for years:

Logic makes you think, emotion makes you act.

If you want to drive action – close the deal, secure your budget, fire-up your team – you need to appeal to their emotions, which is exactly what SHARPs do. They can be quick, easy and powerful.

Today is Wednesday, and chances are that you’ve already been presented to at least once this week. What do you remember?

What’s the Point of Your Story?

The weather at the Boston Marathon this year was brutal. Forty degrees, 20mph winds and rain showers. Everyone was freezing and drenched from head to toe. By mile 4, Olympian Des Linden was ready to call it quits. Convinced it wasn’t her day, she offered to help pace and shield … Continue reading

Great Messaging is Edgy

Great messaging is edgy. It’s easier to be safe—like when you’re sailing. For any of you who have ever been on a catamaran, it’s safer to have both hulls of the sailboat in the water. But to win, you have to go up on one hull—and the professional sailors even … Continue reading

The Vampire Effect: Do Your Messages Suck or Stick?

Have you ever seen a cool ad, but can’t recall what it’s actually for? You’re experiencing the Vampire Effect, a term coined after a study conducted by MediaAnalyzer Software & Research, which results concluded that attention-grabbing content—from sexy images to celebrity endorsements—was sucking attention away from what the ad was actually trying … Continue reading

The Big Short

A lot of times people ask, “What are the essential components of a speech?” They’re looking for the silver-bullet, the ideal length of time spent, the appropriate level of seriousness, how much humor, how many data points to include, etc. Often, we look to TED talks, popular speeches and commencement … Continue reading

Emotion Earns the Extra Mile

For Father’s Day this year, my three boys joined forces and created a special homemade book filled with memories about what I meant to them. It was bound together with a little help from Mom, I presume. And they presented it to me while we were away on a family … Continue reading

Shark Bait

We love the ideas, stories and behaviors we see on Shark Tank. Unless you’ve listened to this interview with Barbara Corcoran, however, you might underestimate how important the behavior category is. What they don’t show you on TV is how long contestants wait before beginning their pitch. As Barbara tells … Continue reading

Hook your audience

“I’m here today to talk to you about standardization.” That’s the way a Silicon Valley engineer in our training program COULD have started his presentation about the need to standardize. Instead, he took a different route. “As I was doing some research for this presentation, I read that the city … Continue reading

The Significance of Storytelling

After writing about Compartmentalized Communicating, I’ve been thinking about how significant storytelling is to the successful communications experience. Nothing makes that human, emotional connection better than authentic, compelling storytelling. It was Hans Rosling‘s brilliant presentation of statistics at TED India that has kept this topic on my mind. As Hans … Continue reading

Compartmentalized Communicating

“I’m good at sharing facts. I don’t have to use emotion very often, but when I do, I need to speak at the emotion more.” This came from a client in a recent Platinum Session, referring to the commonly-held belief that engaging emotions is an effort we make only for … Continue reading